FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – I asked an Arlington Heights High School government class full of seniors near graduation if they follow city politics at all.
“No,” the class responded unanimously.
“We don’t watch news,” one student said. “We’re more on phones and computers so we’re not really about the political life.”
And that’s one of the hurdles Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price is trying to overcome as she reaches out to younger people to become more involved in their city.
She asked the business community to become more involved with schools during her State of the City address earlier this year to encourage participation.
So Frank Kent Honda in Fort Worth, whose co-owner is a graduate of Fort Worth’s school district, is offering a challenge to the city’s seniors: Write an essay about how you will be an asset to Fort Worth in the community. The winner gets a 2012 Honda Civic in the color of their choice. The contest is called Words for Wheels.
“So now the person who wins this car — the ability to grow is solely on them,” said Frank Kent Honda co-owner Will Churchill. “They don’t have any extraneous expenses. They have a car that can get them to work. They have a car that can take them to college.”
“One of the things that’s really unique about this is it is for all students,” said FWISD Superintendent Walter Dansby. “It’s not just for the above average student, its for the average student as well especially when you’re talking about what to contribute to the city of Fort Worth.”
Its the type of public/private partnership the mayor was looking for.
“The best cities have great corporate partners,” said Mayor Betsy Price. “And partnering up with the schools is even better because now we’re not only hitting our grown citizens but our kids too. Puts the emphasis on education.”
“Does a free car affect you think about how writing the essay?” I asked the government class.
“Yeah!” class laughed in unison.
“I’ll help out the community by doing different projects with them and helping out little kids around schools,” said senior Ashley Mendoza, who said she plans on living in Fort Worth after graduation.
The district made this video to explain the contest to the students.