Community partners ‘fire’ up students to attend school

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CITGO Petroleum Corp. and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) gave away 30 Kindle Fire tablets to students at six Houston-area schools in the second year of “Kindling Young Minds,” a project designed to boost attendance. Two HISD schools – Inspired for Excellence Academy and Harper Alternative School – are part of the program. The HISD schools were selected to participate in the project because of their at-risk population and low attendance rate.

Five students at each of the schools received tablets for their perfect or near-perfect attendance, as well as improved grades and behavior. The presentations were made in front of the entire schools’ populations in order to inspire other students to qualify to win tablets later this year. CITGO will be giving out 10 more tablets at each school in May, with winners determined by spring semester attendance. The idea is not only to motivate students to attend class, but to give them a tool to help them complete homework when they are away from school.

“The winning students were selected not only for their near-perfect attendance, but because they also made the honor roll and had excellent behavior,” said Harper School Principal Raymond Glass.

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia was at Inspired for Excellence on Jan. 23 to congratulate students on their achievements. “We are very happy to see that the ‘Kindling Young Minds’ program has matured into its second year, reminding students that each day counts,” he said. “We are excited to revisit the schools to see how the program continues to have a positive impact on students and schools.”

Representatives from CITGO were at the schools awarding Kindles and raffling off prizes as well. “We are thankful for this partnership with HCSO, which seeks to motivate students to attend school, as well as provide the tools to help them succeed academically,” said CITGO President and CEO Nelson P. Martínez.