Payson High School students who are participating in the Arizona Academic Scholars (AAS) program will soon be heading to Rim Country Lanes courtesy of a Wells Fargo Bank grant.
The AAS program encourages students to commit to a more rigorous curriculum in preparation for college.
"I think it is important for businesses to get involved to add more value to the program," said Johns Ikner, membership banking program manager for Wells Fargo Bank.
The rewards to AAS students are intangible now, but taking difficult advance placement and college prep courses equates with better college applications and increased future earning power according to AAS project manager Mary Wolfe.
Incentive programs fill the gap in the meantime with fun rewards.
Last year, when Ikner was a bank manager in Snowflake, he took the funds Wells Fargo donated and put through Rotary in Snowflake.
The club threw pizza parties for all four Arizona Scholars classes.
A business in another school district gave silver dollars to scholars last year, Wolfe said.
Ikner is presenting the bank's check for $1,000 Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce next week.
Checks are passed through a community entity to raise community awareness among business leaders and get more donations, Ikner said.
The chamber has supported AAS since the program piloted latest year said chamber president Tina Bruess.
Bruess has done many in-classroom presentations.
"The Chamber has and will continue to help promote the project," she said.
Money donated to AAS is used locally and is a tax write-off.
Rim Country Lanes provided the $25 bowling passes for the Future Business Leaders of America club to sell as a fund-raiser for $10 each. FBLA will sell these passes for $5 to the AAS program so it is a win-win situation according to Richard Meyer, PHS business teacher and AAS coordinator.
"We are trying to get Sawmill involved and it would be great if a business could provide a pizza party," Meyer said.
But with 170 students in the growing program, Meyer said cash contributions are also welcome. By pooling donations, the cost of an incentive like a movie or pizza would then be borne by many companies.
"The more donation money we have the more we will be able to provide as incentives to the kids," Ikner said.
Businesses or individuals who wish to contribute to the Arizona Academic Scholars program may contact Meyer at (928) 472-5749 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.