Dedication Pays Off: graduate wins new car for perfect attendance for 13 years

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Hillsborough County Schools student with perfect attendance from kindergarten through 12th grade won a free car on Tuesday for her hard work and dedication. 

Megan Graves, a recent Bloomingdale High School graduate, drove away with a new car from Toyota of Tampa Bay. 

Twenty-one students, including Graves, took turns trying their keys at school district headquarters.

Graves said she has always been motivated to show up to school.

“I knew I didn’t want to miss school, because like, in [pre]-kindergarten, I got sick and I got taken to the nurse and I cried at the fact they called my mom to pick me up,” she said.

“It means a lot, like, I actually did something and I accomplished a lot.”

Her mother, Tammy Fallin, was visibly emotional. She’s extremely proud of her daughter.

“Well we didn’t even realize it until she was in third grade when she won a bike from Roosevelt Elementary School. And so that’s like, ‘oh wow, you haven’t missed a day.’ And from then on, it’s just been, she’s just driven. She missed one day of pre-K and she cried over that. It’s just been who she is this whole time,” said Fallin.

Graves will attend Hillsborough Community College in August. She said she wants to be a nurse or work with lions and animals at zoos. 

“People talk about the millennials and some of their work ethic and so forth, and this is just a great way of showing people that hard work really does pay off,” said Mark Schols, General Manager of Toyota of Tampa Bay.

”It will show them that hard work will pay off and serve them for the rest of their life, that the harder you work, the luckier you get. So something like this, it’s amazing.” 

Ten graduating seniors from Hillsborough Public Schools who had perfect attendance throughout their school careers were automatically invited to participate in Tuesday’s event. Eleven seniors with at least one year of perfect attendance while in high school were randomly selected to try their luck at getting the free car as well.

According to Hillsborough County Public Schools, more than 1,987 high school seniors were eligible.

This is the ninth year Toyota of Tampa Bay has hosted the event.

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