Smile Politely

O’Brien Auto Park donates car to Urbana High School student

In high school, there’s a thing that’s both wanted by students for necessity, fun, and status. A good spot in the lunch room is not that thing. It’s the automobile.

Students with cars and a driver’s license have the ability to do a lot of things that those without can’t. Obviously, the ability to get a job with a set schedule is prime, but also the ability to go to and from school, practice, and social gatherings is huge.

Many years ago when I was a high school student, my parents got me a used 1999 Ford Taurus. It was silver and resembled a deformed bubble. The cost of the car itself was probably not very high as it had around 80k miles on it. The sacrifices my folks made to get me that car can’t be understated, but it was almost necessary. It allowed me to drive myself to work and to hockey practices and games. In hindsight, that car probably cost my parents a vacation or two, a dozen hockey sticks (yep, they were ~$150 even then), or other things that they may have wanted.

I was lucky. There are many people who simply don’t have that ability to buy their kids a car, used or not, and most students can’t afford a car of their own either. That still does not negate the impact a car can have on a young high schooler’s life.

O’Brien Auto Park recognizes that a car could be a significant incentive for students to be accountable and this year is the first year that they’ll be donating a car to Urbana High School to reward a student in “good standing.” The partnership with UHS is a great way to motivate students to be upstanding citizens inside and outside of the classroom and it’s certainly a generous way to do that.

“We are excited to be a part of a program that supports Urbana High School students and works to reward positive behavior,” said Jim Turner, President of O’Brien Auto Park.  “We believe that encouraging and rewarding this kind of upstanding behavior will lead to those students making better choices in the years to come. Encouraging productive and positive citizens is a win for both the students and the community in which they reside.”

The criteria for having a chance to win the car are pretty rigorous:

On a weekly basis, if a student is passing at least 5 classes, have no unexcused absences, have no delinquent detentions, and no referrals for the previous week, they are “In Good Standing.”

As the year ends, it will be really awesome to see the positive influence O’Brien and UHS will have on the students. Incentivizing outstanding behavior is never a bad thing, and hopefully this catches on with other businesses to reward more students in the future.

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