Knox County District Attorney Charme Allen visited Mooreland Heights Elementary School Thursday to reward 34 students who achieved perfect attendance this year.
Their prize? A new bicycle for each one.
Every year since she was elected district attorney in 2014, Allen has partnered with an elementary school to reward students for perfect attendance.
“This program is important because studies show us that the longer that you stay in school, and the better that you do in school, the less likely you are to ever come in contact with the criminal-justice system,” Allen told students, family members and teachers gathered in the school’s gym. “And it’s a whole lot more fun to be in school than it is to be in the criminal-justice system, let me tell you.
“So you guys, keep up the good work. The 34 of you that had perfect attendance – excellent job! I am so proud of you. And those of you that came really close and tried so hard all year that didn’t quite make it, thank you for being part of the program and trying.”
Allen noted that Mooreland Heights had witnessed a 70 percent increase in attendance.
“You’re making this program look really good,” she said.
She thanked Knox County Schools Superintendent Bob Thomas and principal Brandi Self for letting her bring the program to the school. She also thanked the parents and grandparents for getting the kids to school, and she thanked the Epilepsy Foundation of East Tennessee for providing helmets for the bike winners.
“Thank you to every single person here for working so hard.”
The 34 students then came up front one by one to shake hands with Allen and Thomas and take possession of their new bikes. Talking to KnoxTNToday afterward, the students unanimously agreed that it wasn’t hard to achieve perfect attendance, and they were never tempted to take a day off.