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December 8, 2023

High schoolers mentor Ladd Lane students on attendance

Districts collaborate to address increase in absenteeism

As part of a series of assemblies in the Hollister School District, Hollister High School students visited Ladd Lane Elementary School on Oct. 13 for an interactive presentation to tout the importance of positive attendance. 

It is part of the “You Miss School, You Miss Out” campaign, a partnership between the Hollister School District and San Benito High School District to address a decline in attendance rates since the end of remote learning during the pandemic. This was the third “You Miss School, You Miss Out” assembly, with prior events at Sunnyslope and Cerra Vista schools. 

Students from the high school’s AVID 10 program prepared and presented the interactive 30-minute presentation that included a lively introduction that resembled a pep rally of sorts, skits acted out by the high school students to emphasize the downside of missing school, fun games to reinforce the message, short speeches to provide mentorship, a question/answer session and recognition for Ladd Lane students with the highest attendance rates. 

“I thought it was great,” Ladd Lane Principal Jeannine Ostoja said after the assembly. “I think it’s cool for our kids to see the high school students. We picked our middle school to come to this assembly because this is the age when attendance really becomes more of their responsibility and less on their parents.” 

The interaction at the Ladd Lane assembly centered around some of the most common reasons why students miss school such as not wanting to take a test or being pressured by other students to skip classes. 

Adrian Ramirez, director of intervention Hollister High, said the school recruited students from the AVID 10 program to prepare this 30-minute assembly. Advanced drama students organized the previous two assemblies for younger grade levels. He said the idea to collaborate made sense because the vast majority of Hollister School District students move on to Hollister High School. 

“We haven’t been able to fully recover from where our attendance rates were before remote learning,” Ramirez said. 

The AVID program was involved because it is composed of students with some of the highest attendance rates. 

The assembly included two skits. One of the skits involved high school students talking over whether they wanted to skip school to go to 7-Eleven, and how it led to a failed grade on a test for those who did so. The second skit involved a student showing up late to class who didn’t do his homework and faced repercussions. 

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