By TRAVIS MORSE email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON — It was a lucky day for two Primary Center third graders Friday, who received new bicycles as part of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test Reward Party held at the school.
The bike winners were Isreal Oppong and Ximena Raya. Their names were drawn randomly out of a group of roughly 140 Primary Center students who had perfect attendance during the three days of ISAT testing last week.
All of these students had received special white tickets that were placed in a revolving gold Bingo tumbler at Friday’s party. The tumbler was then turned and the winners’ names were drawn.
Oppong and Raya then accepted the bikes as their fellow students cheered them on.
“The bikes are for the students who are here every single day and took the test,” said Shelly Brose, a third grade teacher at Primary.
Twelve additional prizes were awarded to students at Friday’s ISAT party. These students were also selected randomly out of a group that showed good effort during the ISAT tests.
The other prizes included items like a football, basketballs, Star Wars headphones, Legos and more.
Primary Center third grade teacher Katie Baumhoegger, who helped oversee the drawing of names Friday, said the prizes serve as an incentive for students to work hard on their ISATs.
Overall, student attendance during the ISATs has increased at Primary because of the prizes and the annual party, Baumhoegger said.
For this year’s state testing, only about five students missed days and had to take make-up exams, school officials said.
“I had perfect attendance in my class and I think it was because they wanted that bicycle,” Baumhoegger said. “It just gives them something to kind of work for. … They’re working hard because they want that ticket.”
ISAT testing begins at the third grade level. Each year before the test, a pep rally is held at the school to get students excited about the challenge.
The reward party after the test gives students something else to look forward to, Brose said.
“Our attendance has never been better, I think, since we started doing these prizes,” Brose said.
The two bicycles awarded Friday were donated by the Mt. Vernon Elks Lodge. The rest of the prizes were provided by school administration at Primary.
Brose credited Primary Center Principal Shannon Marler with creating an encouraging environment for students to take the ISATs.
During the testing, students also receive drinks, snacks and other treats.
“She really supports us a lot,” Brose said of Marler.