See how strong attendance landed local student keys to a new car

Published 12:38 am Thursday, May 11, 2023

NEDERLAND — Madison Vail doesn’t have a driver’s license but on Wednesday she was given a new car thanks to her attendance at Nederland High School.

The freshman had three or fewer excused absences during the school year, making her eligible for a new car courtesy of Philpott Ford, Toyota & Hyundai.

Vail said she felt excited but didn’t think she was a contender for the Hyundai Elantra because she had missed some school due to sports  — tennis and soccer.

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Bob Thewman, business development and community liaison for Philpott, said former Nederland Independent School District Superintendent Gail Krohn came to him 19 years ago and told him of the importance of attendance and how the district gets paid for every student who attends school.

“We thought it would be a great partnership with the school that started 19 years ago and we plan to continue it,” Thewman said. “Every year when a kid wins a car it makes us very happy.”

Thewman doesn’t just announce the name of the winner; he makes a game out of it. This year he looked at the piece of paper with the winner’s name, thought for a second then asked for anyone with the name of a president in their name — first, middle or last — to come to the stage. Little by little he asked questions and eliminated students. Soon he had eliminated all of them, which he called a “big fake out.”

Then he asked for any student who shares a name with the late Queen of England to come to the stage. He was looking for the name Elizabeth, which is part of Vail’s name.

After another student was eliminated, Vail was revealed to be the winner.

But Vail wasn’t the only one winning a prize. Thirteen other students earned a check or a prize for perfect attendance.

Four-year perfect attendance students Yaretzi Contreras Bernabe, Aiyhana Rollins, Wilson Bell, Erin Hollier and Gage Whitman won a $50 check.

Five-year perfect attendance students Halle Tong and Christian Tran earned a $75 check.

Six-year perfect attendance students Anthony Bobb, Isabella Perez and Karim Shaaban earned $100 checks.

Seven-year perfect attendance student Oudom Peou earned ear buds and eight-year perfect attendance students Adithleady Lopez Magallon and Alex Tran earned Beats wireless headphones.