New GUSD student lounge adds incentive to succeed

From left, Austin Lauber, Christian Marquez, Juan Hernandez,

Students at Gilroy High School have a snazzy new incentive for
performing well on their California Standard Tests, commonly dubbed
the STARS. The shiny new star lounge at GHS opened Thursday, a
recent addition to the strategic rewards program Principal Marco
Sanchez brought over from his previous post at Elk Grove High
School.
Students at Gilroy High School have a snazzy new incentive for performing well on their California Standard Tests, commonly dubbed the STARS.

The shiny new star lounge at GHS opened Thursday, a recent addition to the strategic rewards program Principal Marco Sanchez brought over from his previous post at Elk Grove High School.

The lounge includes a 32-inch plasma screen TV, an Xbox Kinect, a PlayStation 2, an assortment of games, a reclining couch, complimentary pizza and a refrigerator.

“Being with my friends and playing video games was a blast. I think this was a great idea for Mega Stars,” said freshman Christian Marquez.

Sanchez said everything was funded by donations outside the school budget.

“It’s basically made possible because of the generosity of the community,” he said.

The star cards, which list the student’s name, status and accompanying privileges, come in three tiers – Mega Star, Super Star and Star – depending on the success of the student on last year’s exams.

Mega Star privileges include a free yearbook, a free associated student body card, off campus passes every Friday and front of the line lunch privileges with two guests every day for the whole year. Superstars and stars receive similar privileges, but in smaller quantities.

“It is really fun. Anyone would love to come and play in here with friends,” said Juan Hernandez, a freshman.

A lottery held once a week dictates which student out of the pool of Mega Stars, Superstars and Stars get lounge access. The winner of the drawing can bring three guests to the lounge.

“The guests can be nonstar card holders,” explained Sanchez. “The whole idea is to get nonstar card holders to get cards next year. They’ll see the privileges, and it will create positive peer pressure to perform.”

Another lottery for card holders includes a drawing for the star cruise. Chaperoned by the assistant principal, the winning student gets to drive a golf cart, pick up their friends at lunchtime and cruise around.

Sanchez said this year there are 17 Mega Stars – as compared to six last year – along with 111 superstars and 299 stars.

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