McLarty Daniel encourages student attendance with car giveaway

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 1,123 views 

The winner of the 2016 Ford Fiesta was Laith Kewan, a ninth grader at Bentonville West High School. McLarty Daniel recently gave away four new vehicles to students with perfect attendance at schools in Benton County.

McLarty Daniel recently gave away four new vehicles to students with perfect attendance at schools in Benton County. The fourth vehicle was given away Wednesday (May 24) at Rogers Heritage High School.

Owner Russ Daniel said this was the first year to give away the vehicles, but he expects it won’t be the last.

“We’re still reeling from the results,” Daniel said, but next year, the giveaway might be modified, for example, to encourage competitive behavior between schools. Expanding the program to Washington County schools was also being considered.

“I try to engage everybody,” he said. “It’s a big deal. There’s some happy kids.”

Daniel explained this giveaway was a way for the company to give back to the community. Before the start of the school year, he said he met with area school superintendents, and “we came up with a car giveaway.” Since the start of the school year, students at high schools in Bentonville and Rogers have been encouraged to have perfect attendance. Students who had at least at least one nine-week period of perfect attendance had an opportunity to win a car.

“The schools all had better attendance,” Daniel said.

Winner Laith Kewan, a ninth grader at Bentonville West High School, was surprised and grateful to McLarty Daniel for the new car, a 2016 Ford Fiesta.

“It was unreal honestly,” Kewan said.

While this is his first car, he has a hardship license and has been driving his father’s vehicle. He said his first trip in the new car will likely be to school in the upcoming school year. When asked if the giveaway helped him get perfect attendance, he said it motivated him to come to school even when he didn’t feel like going.

Principal Jonathon Guthrie said Kewan was one of 15 students who had perfect attendance for the year. A total of 350 students had perfect attendance for at least one quarter, and they each had a shot at winning. This was the first school year for Bentonville West High School, which had an enrollment of 1,260 students.

While the giveaway not only had an impact on attendance, Guthrie said “I’d like to think it had an impact on school spirit.” Students were excited to come to school, and when students attend class, they make better grades.

He also expressed his appreciation for McLarty Daniel, saying when a business outside the school system encourages attendance, it means “so much more.” In each of the four giveaways, 10 students with perfect attendance were selected and given a key. Only one key starts each vehicle, and the person with that key is the winner. Guthrie said Kewan was the 10th person to try a key, before finding out he was the winner.

The vehicles given away were a 2016 Nissan Versa from McLarty Daniel Nissan; a Jeep Renegade and Dodge Dart, from McLarty Daniel Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram; and the Fiesta from McLarty Daniel Ford. Schools included in the giveaway this year were Bentonville High School, Bentonville West High School, Rogers High School, Rogers Heritage High School and Rogers New Technology High School.