Dallas Student Wins Car for Attendance

Johanna Castillo wins a new vehicle for attendance. | Image by Faith Family Academy of Oak Cliff, Facebook

A long-standing partnership between a used-car dealership and a Dallas-based charter school network resulted in the gifting of a car to a high school student who clocked a perfect attendance record this school year.

Johanna Castillo, one of five randomly-selected candidates with perfect attendance records, was announced as the winner of a 2016 Jeep Patriot donated by Drive Casa last week.

The collaboration between the school and the dealership has been running for several years and has reportedly led to a dramatic improvement in student attendance rates, according to Fox 4.

In a Facebook post announcing the winner, Faith Family Academy wrote:

“CONGRATULATIONS TO JOHANNA C.!!! She is our 2023 Drive Casa Car Give Away winner … We are so proud of all of our students for their academic dedication and how they prioritize their attendance. We hope this car makes a difference in the lives of Johanna and her family!”

Believing that attendance is the key to students graduating, the school was happy to see the story go viral, garnering the attention of a national news outlet and hopefully inspiring other schools to follow suit.

“We were pleased to see that our long-term partnership with Drive Casa to drive our school attendance rate to an average of 95.5% was featured by Yahoo News! While Johanna was our lucky 2023 car winner, she was one of many students who achieved perfect attendance within any six-week period this school year to be entered in the drawing for a chance to win the car,” claimed the school in a subsequent post.

“We know that attendance can be a better predictor of high school graduation than test scores, and we’re happy to have a partner that helps our students succeed in their futures,” the post concluded.

For his part, Drive Casa’s CEO, Mark Gallas, gave credit to the charter school’s staff for working toward improving attendance rates.

“The passion that I see here the last seven years coming from this school, and the support they give to these students, I don’t think the students realize it … I told them I want them to go shake their hands and give a hug to every person that works at this school,” Gallas told Fox 4.

Castillo does not yet have her driver’s license, but she nonetheless appeared excited by the win.

“When I heard the beep, I was like [gasp], and then I saw the thing in the lights turn on in the car and I was like [gasp] again,” Castillo reportedly told Fox 4.

With attendance reportedly improving at the charter network, Faith Family Academy logged a strong on-time graduation rate last school year (96.5%), more than five percentage points above the state average of 90% and significantly higher than nearby Dallas ISD, which only managed to graduate 81.1% of its Class of 2022 on time.

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