Ironton High School unveils new incentives program

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 12, 2003

There is an old saying that "money talks."

These days, students at Ironton High School are talking a lot about money. And prizes. And excellence.

Ironton High School officials this year have unveiled a new program aimed at motivating students to shoot for excellence - and rewarding them when they succeed. At the end of the year two kids will walk away with $1,000 each.

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The "Tiger Incentive" program rewards students each the first three nine-week grading periods. The idea is the brainchild of chemistry and physics teacher Jeff Hairston.

Students who earn at least a 3.5 grade point average, have had no discipline problems, and have had no more than one absence or tardy receives a Gold Tiger award. Each Gold Tiger recipient will get five tickets toward two grand prizes of $1,000.

Students who earn a G.P.A. of 3.0-3.49, have had no discipline referrals and no more than one absence or tardy will earn a Silver Tiger award and three tickets toward the grand prizes at the end of the year.

Students who earn a G.P.A. of 2.75-2.99, have no discipline referrals, and one or no absences or tardies will earn a Bronze Tiger award and two tickets toward the $1,000 prizes.

Each student of the month nominee who demonstrates outstanding effort, outstanding classroom participation and behavior, outstanding attendance and has shown academic improvement will earn a Copper Tiger award and one ticket toward the grand prizes.

In addition, Gold Tiger recipients will get coupons for a free McDonalds Big Mac, Wendy's single, free pass to an Ironton Tigers home ball game and will get excused two minutes early for lunch that grading period. Silver Tiger award winners

will get three of those five goodies. Bronze Tigers winners will get two of those goodies; Copper Tiger winners will get one of them.

All of the students who earn an award will have their names called during an assembly and will have their names posted in the front hallway.

Gear Up is helping promote the new program and is helping with funding as well. McDonalds and Wendy's are donating gift certificates used. Private donors are helping with other prizes.

"The neat part of the program is that the kids are really getting excited about it," Principal Joe Rowe said. "I think we'll see an increase in (winners) the second nine weeks."

Biology teacher Linda Gagai agreed. "I think it's a wonderful idea because it motivates the students. These are things they want (prizes and money) and this program is motivating them to make the grade. I think it has cut down on tardies, and I think it has improved behavior."

Gagai said the program motivates all of the students to work to the best of their ability.

High school senior Meghan O'Brien won a Gold Tiger award.

"I think it's really neat," she said of the "Tiger Incentive" program. "I think it's an opportunity to reward students for their achievement. I hear people talking about it, that they want to win a Gold Tiger award."

World history teacher Brian Bowling said not only are the kids striving for personal success, but are also often encouraging their friends to make more of an effort and try to win an award. He hopes that in the end, though, that kids will decide that, although the prizes are nice, there is no prize sweeter than a good education.

"I love the program," Bowling said. "I would like to see parents instill in their children an internal desire to learn. You don't always have to get a prize. Sometimes, learning is its own prize."