(ST.JOSEPH, Mo) Students packed the gymnasium at Pershing Elementary School Thursday afternoon having no idea they were in for a big surprise.
"I am extremely excited," Principal Tara Wells said.
Wells delivered the news that the school was recognized for its high attendance.
"We recently learned that Pershing Elementary has been leading the district with its attendance numbers," Wells said.
The elementary school has an attendance rate of 94 percent. Wells credits the accomplishment in part to the St. Joseph School District's "Strive For Five" program. The program encourages students to stay in school, missing no more than 5 days.
"It's a real illustration of the partnership that schools across the district have with families, we know that our community is really with us with our strive for five attendance initiative," Wells said.
The program has many sponsors including Missouri Western State University with the college offering one of their football games to recognize the school with the highest attendance district wide.
"Missouri Western State University is welcoming us out to the college on September 29th for a tailgate party, game attendance and our Pershing Panthers will be creating a sea of green and white out on the football field before the game starts," Wells said.
Wells admitted that she was just as excited as the kids were about the invitation, but she also wanted show gratitude for her students, and the Pershing community.
"[This] was all about letting our students know that we are so proud of them for getting themselves to school everyday," Wells said.
This is the second year of the Strive for Five program.