By Brian Wudkwych
The Daily Reflector
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Christmas came early for H.B. Sugg Elementary on Wednesday as Brian Pecheles, president of Pecheles Automotive, played the role of Santa Claus and gifted the school an oversized $1,000 check, recognizing it as the latest winner in a monthly social media contest.
H.B. Sugg now joins Belvoir, Bethel and Ridgewood Elementaries as winners of the event, which aims to get community interaction via Facebook.
Users can find their school’s logo on the Joe Pecheles Facebook account and like, comment and share, earning their school one point for each action. One winner is chosen each month based on what group is eligible. Schools are grouped based on school size to keep the voting fair.
“The thing that I love most about the Farmville community is that if you ask, they deliver,” said Principal Allison Setser. “This is something we were determined to win so we asked the community, family and friends and they came out to support us.”
The money goes directly to helping fund the Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) programs in the schools.
PBIS is a statewide initiative that utilizes “a framework or approach comprised of intervention practices and organizational systems for establishing the social culture, learning and teaching environment and individual behavior supports needed to achieve academic and social success for all students,” according to the North Carolina Department of Instruction.
Winners of the monthly contest are encouraged to use the money for incentives for students who do not have many office referrals, such as pizza or ice cream parties, dances or more, according to Travis Lewis, public information officer for Pitt County Schools.
“We try to come up with incentives whenever they are exhibiting really great behavior,” Lewis said. “Instead of always just having consequences for negative behavior, we want to have rewards for positive behavior.”
For H.B. Sugg, the check will go towards enhancing the school’s PAW Party, which is an event that takes place every nine weeks to reward students who show positive attitudes, follow directions and work cooperatively. Select students were even invited to pose with the check, which was taller than most of them.
In the past, the school has welcomed Kona Ice, thrown a movie night, performed a step show and participated in a student-staff basketball game, along with the high school.
Setser clearly had some ideas in mind as she proudly told the students who gathered in the front office that their PAW Parties might be getting a little better.
“We’re very limited on our funding so we’ve had to be creative,” Setser said. “Now we can provide a big incentive for our students to behave and it goes straight to them, so we’re excited about that.”
Previously, PBIS incentives were partially funded by “Jean Fridays” at certain schools, where students could pay $1 and wear jeans, Lewis said. However, when the district shifted from uniforms to a dress code last year, PCS had to look elsewhere.
“PBIS is a mandate that schools have to do,” Pecheles said. “We just wanted to step in and fund it since there is no state funding to do it. Education is the key to everything.”
The partnership also gives Pecheles Automotive, which also provides a car for the PCS Teacher of the Year, coveted advertising exposure, as community members around each of the schools interact with the company’s Facebook page to earn the points.
“This is great advertisement for them but it also shows the heart involved in backing up the schools and supporting us,” Setser said.