Hawkins County Board of Education celebrated National School Attendance Awareness Month by having contest for students and drawings for all staff members with perfect attendance in September. All cash prizes were donated by Cooper Standard, Luttrell Staffing Group, Rural Health, and the Hawkins County Industrial Development Board. Prizes for the staff drawings were secured by Amy Lipe, and were donated by the attractions.

The first contest was a video contest. Schools were asked to create a public service announcement stressing the importance of attendance. Surgoinsville Elementary School won $100 for the winning video was from Surgoinsville Elementary School. The money will be used for attendance incentives.

Students were also encouraged to enter the school district’s essay contest.

In 500 words or less, students were asked to write about why they belong in school, and how being at school more often helps them feel more a part of the school community.

The winning essay was written by Laura Anne Jennings, a junior at Clinch School. In her essay, she wrote, “Students with high attendance rates do well in school not just because they are present to learn, but because they are part of the school community…. A student needs to feel connected in the classroom.”

Jennings won $100 for her efforts.

Students were also encouraged to design a poster emphasizing the importance of school attendance. The winning poster was designed by Marcus Mitchell, a sixth-grade student at Church Hill Intermediate School. He won $50 and the school also won $50 to use for attendance incentives. A copy of the poster will be displayed each school in the district.

Staff members who had perfect attendance during the month of September were entered into a drawing for some tickets to local attractions.

Sarah Clonce, from Volunteer High, won two tickets to Dollywood. Nicole Risner, from Joseph Rogers Primary, received two tickets to WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge. Finally, Kristi Price, of Saint Clair Elementary, won two tickets to Bright’s Zoo in Jonesborough.

More attendance contests will be held in Hawkins County after students return from Christmas Break. The district encourages students to continue to #Strive4LessThan5 absences this school year.