Medina Journal-Register — Add Avanti Pizza to the list of local businesses involved with the Medina Central School District.
Parents of Oak Orchard Elementary School students started seeing perfect attendance certificates brought home last week. The certificates showed each student’s name in colorful bold letters, but in the fine print the words “free pizza” appeared.
In fact, the award to the 204 students who achieved perfect attendance during the first quarter was a coupon for a complimentary pizza at Avanti. The program is new this year.
“By brother and I both have young kids,” said Dan Passalacqua, who co-owns Avanti with his brother, Maurizio. “This is a way to encourage kids to go to school and learn.”
Passalacqua said he wanted to have the restaurant get involved with the schools as a way of “showing appreciation” because “Medina has been really good to us over the years.”
One of Avanti’s part-time employees is Dave Sevenski, who is also a Medina School Board member. He brought up the idea of Avanti doing something with the district at a board meeting several months ago. Since Mark’s Pizzeria has the Book Mark’s program, encouraging reading was covered. Eventually, he said a discussion at the administrative level led to the decision to base the program on attendance.
“As a board member, one concern I have is making sure kids are in school, because if they’re not in school they can’t learn,” Sevenski said. He said the amount of students awarded in the first quarter is encouraging. “We didn’t know what to expect,” he said, adding that there was some surprise accompanying the total.
Passalacqua said the surprise was pleasant, though.
“Last year we were told the first marking period had about 50 kids with perfect attendance,” he said. “We’re happy with the initial success, and we view this as a win-win for the town. We don’t see any negatives.”