Grades are important for all kinds of reasons, students are told year after year.
But at Nicolet High School in Glendale, Wis., they have a special incentive to do well in class. That's because the school uses grades as the top determining factor to decide who can get a parking space.
The 1,350-student school, located in an affluent suburb of Milwaukee, has a limited number of student parking spaces available.
Juniors must have a 3.67 grade point average and seniors a 2.5 GPA to be considered for a space. After meeting that requirement, first priority is given to seniors who are active in the school's community and business internship programs. Seniors who carpool or are involved in extracurricular activities are next in line. Juniors are evaluated in the same manner.
The policy has motivated some students to improve their grades, according to Leigh Wallace, the assistant principal. "It's quite a coup to have a parking spot," she said.
In fact, at the school's junior and senior prom this month, parking permits were given to students as door prizes, Ms. Wallace said. The permits cost $100 per semester.
Brandon Parnell wasn't worried about parking his car last month. He needed a spot for his helicopter.
The 19-year-old decided to rent a helicopter to fly himself and his date to the Gospel Light Christian School's end-of-the-year senior banquet. The Winston-Salem, N.C., school holds the event as an alternative to a prom.
Mr. Parnell began making plans last year to do something special for the big event, held April 23. "This is my last year," he said. "I wanted to go out in style."
After shopping around for a couple of months, he found a helicopter company that charged $400 an hour. Mr. Parnell and his date flew around the city for a half-hour, then landed behind the hotel where the banquet was held.
To add to the special night, he rented a limousine for transportation to the helicopter pad and for use after the banquet. Mr. Parnell paid for the helicopter and limousine with earnings from his part-time job at Office Depot.
Now that all of the excitement of the banquet is over, Mr. Parnell jokingly told his mother that he might sky-dive into his May 28 graduation with his cap and gown on.
--Karen L. Abercrombie
Vol. 18, Issue 36, Page 3