Perfect Attendance Rewarded For 5 Anchorage High School Students

May 6, 2015

East 11th grader Abigail Gamboa takes home a new Jeep Compass, 4 students receive 50,000 Alaska Airlines Miles each

Today five high school students attended the Drive for Perfect Attendance program year-end finale event. 

In the Lithia Chrysler Jeep Dodge of South Anchorage dealership parking lot stood five Jeep Compass vehicles in a semi-circle. The finalists chose a key from a basket, and then chose a Jeep. With their keys in the ignition, then a countdown, the five students tried their keys to see if their Jeep started. Abigail Gamboa, a 17-year-old junior at East High School, couldn’t believe her eyes when her Jeep started. Her family rushed to her, tears of joy streaming down their faces.

Abigail has worked hard this year and her goal is to get a college scholarship.  She looks up to her sister who worked her way through college in the Philippines and is now a pharmacist.  Abigail hopes to be a nurse and work in the medical field.  When asked about what it took to achieve perfect attendance she says, “I actually enjoyed going to school.  I feel proud of myself for being able to do it.” 

The four remaining students each received 50,000 Alaska Airlines Miles courtesy of GCI. Each student has demonstrated exceptional work ethic and persevered through various challenges to achieve perfect attendance this year.

For example, Harlan Bronson is a 16-year-old junior at Eagle River High School. When asked how this program has made a difference, his foster parent Judy said, “I believe this recognition has had an immediate and positive effect on Harlan.” When asked why having perfect attendance was important to him, he said, “There was just no need to miss class.” He would like to apply these miles toward a trip to Italy.

Hayden Hanson is a 17-year-old junior at Dimond High School. Hayden is a student athlete and is on the Dimond hockey team.  His goal is to be in the top 10 percent of his class. His parents said, “Managing his time effectively between school, homework and sports to make sure that he got enough sleep to stay healthy and still have some time to himself was a challenge.” He plans to use the miles to visit colleges.

Katelyn Bushnell is a 17-year-old junior at East High School. Her parents said, “Ever since she was in elementary school her quest for knowledge and her self-discipline has kept her on course.” The hardest part of the year for Katelyn was when her great-grandmother passed away. Her mother left for two weeks and Katelyn stayed in Alaska and did not miss any school. She will use the miles to bring her aunt and uncle to Alaska so that they can be here for her graduation. 

Piyares Thongkerd is a 19-year-old senior at Bartlett High School. Her family moved to Anchorage from Thailand just over a year ago. Her father shared that they wondered, at first, if Piyares would be able to graduate as she spoke very little English at first. She now volunteers helping other English as a Second Language student at Bartlett. Piyares plans to use the miles to visit her family in Thailand.

The Drive for Perfect Attendance program is an Anchorage School District School Business Partnership program now in its second year. Local dealership Lithia Chrysler Jeep Dodge of South Anchorage has donated a brand new Jeep to the program as the grand prize each year. GCI supports the program with Alaska Airlines Miles for one winner each quarter as well as miles for each of the four finalists at the year-end event.  

The Anchorage School District has a goal of every student achieving 90 percent or better attendance by the year 2020. In the 2014-2015 school year, there were 977 high school students who achieved perfect attendance in the district. Junior and senior students were 376 of those. Another benchmark of success is the number of Anchorage high school students who have achieved 95 percent or better attendance throughout the year. This year 4,493 students met that goal, an increase of 3 percent over last year. 

“It’s great to know that we can make a difference in important matters like education,” said Lithia Chrysler Jeep Dodge of South Anchorage General Manager Troy Jarvis. “We’re proud to be a part of this program and thrilled to see what a positive impact it has made on attendance over the past two years.”

“Attendance is a key ingredient to success not only in school, but in life. GCI is proud to be part of the Drive for Perfect Attendance program. As an employer we look for employees with excellent work ethic, and attendance is part of that. This is a fun program that has real rewards for students who work hard and make the commitment to show up to school every day,” said GCI Senior Vice President and General Manager of Consumer Services Paul Landes.

To learn more about the Drive for Perfect Attendance initiative, visit 

About Lithia Automotive Group

Originally founded in Medford, Oregon 1946, Lithia Automotive Group is a publicly traded company with more than 100 automotive dealerships in 13 states, including nine in Alaska. Lithia currently employs more than 450 employees in its Alaska dealerships. From the very beginning, it has been a Lithia priority to actively contribute in the communities in which Lithia does business. For more information on Lithia community commitments, please visit More information About Lithia Chrysler Jeep Dodge of South Anchorage is available at

About GCI

GCI is the top provider of voice, data and video services in Alaska, through which consumers can experience entertainment everywhere. GCI is also the leading provider of communications services to enterprise customers, particularly large enterprise customers with complex data networking needs. The Alaska-based company is dedicated to providing the best in communication services, including the state’s largest wireless network, high-speed broadband, digital cable television and local telephone services. The company offers more than 1,300 TurboZone locations statewide to provide customers with more high-speed wireless capabilities. The Alaska-based company continuously supports community efforts, contributing to nonprofit organizations across the state. More information about GCI can be found at

Media Contact:

Stephanie Plieness, Thompson & Co. Public Relations

907-561-4488 (o), 561-329-5934 (m)