CLEARFIELD -- It was an honor like no other for ninth-grade honor-roll students at North Davis Junior High School on Wednesday evening. The kids didn't know about the surprise -- that is, if their parents hadn't spilled the beans beforehand.
Ninth-grader Taylee Ciccone had been told by her parents that she would be picked up at home by someone special. When the limousine pulled up and Principal Ryan Hansen stepped out to escort her into the limo, she could hardly contain her excitement.
"A freaking limo? Are you serious?" were the comments she texted to her parents, who were waiting at the school.
North Davis Junior High has been hosting an honors night for ninth-grade honor-roll students for several years. However, the school received grant money this year to use for academic excellence, and administrators chose to reward students who had exceptional grades.
Nearly 20 students who had maintained a 4.0 grade point average climbed out of the two limousines that delivered them to the school.
"This is new for me, because I've never been in a limo before," Taylee said. "The seats are a lot more comfy than I thought."
Taylee's mom, Patricia Ciccone, appreciated the efforts made by the school.
"She has worked hard for her grades, so we appreciate that they recognize and honor them for their hard work," said Ciccone.
For Taylee, maintaining a 4.0 GPA along with all her other activities meant a lot of late nights and weekends. And a cash incentive from her parents didn't hurt either, she said.
"We gave her monetary incentives. But for her, that wasn't as important as just knowing it was something she could achieve," said her dad, Don Ciccone.
Jodi Hutchinson, an English and health instructor who helped organize the event, said the teachers wanted to compliment and reward students who have done extremely well,
"It's essential for these students to have the opportunity to see immediate rewards for their academic efforts, because it reinforces the importance of what we're doing (as teachers)," Hutchinson said. "Rather than wait for graduation from high school three years from now, we want to celebrate their accomplishments along the way, so their chances of graduating go up."
For Mike Prinster, whose son Conner received a ride in the limo, keeping the plan a secret wasn't easy. Conner was waiting impatiently in the car, frustrated that he was going to be late.
"We kept assuring him that he wouldn't be late," his dad said.
Seeing the limo pull up was a moment the Prinsters won't forget.
"It's not something he gets to do every day."