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Students Dive In To Reward Party
It was most definitely 'fun in the sun' for an estimated 150 Escalon High School students, reaping the rewards of doing well on testing and treated to an afternoon of food, swimming, music and more.

The event was staged on Friday at Escalon High, an afternoon party that ran from the start of fourth period - about 11:15 a.m. - to the end of the school day and was open to qualifying freshmen through seniors.

Hamburgers, cheeseburgers and hot dogs were grilled up, served with chips, drinks and candy, to the students participating.

Earning high marks, and making significant improvements, on the CSTs California Standards Tests, was the prerequisite for getting in.

"We've given away other things, we've had a Great America trip, given out movie tickets in the past," explained Associated Student Body/Student Council advisor Rusty Fachner.

But in talking with students and officials from other schools, Fachner said the barbecue-swim party idea seemed to be a good fit.

"It's really three-fold," Fachner said of why it worked.

First, he said, it was inexpensive to put on and students attending the party had the pleasure of "missing school" legally for their accomplishment.

"Last but not least, it becomes an incentive to other students," Fachner said of having the celebration right on campus, with students not qualifying wondering what they can do to get to the party next time.

The lunch spread was paid for by the student government group and after eating their fill, students had the chance to enjoy swimming in the pool. Though the water wasn't quite as warm as some had hoped, the bright sun and 80-plus degree day prompted many to take a quick dip.

"There was a formula we used," Fachner added of determining how the students qualified for the May 6 event. "There were three different tests they had, three standards they had to meet, they had to achieve a level of proficiency through all the tests."

Teacher-coaches Mark Loureiro and Derek Scott were manning the barbecue grill and student council members helped make sure everyone had enough food and drink.

"Lunch and the afternoon off," Fachner pointed out, "turned out to be a pretty good reward."