BRISTOL, Tenn. – This spring, King University head cross country and track & field coach Desmond Pierce and head men's and women's volleyball coach Ryan Booher had the opportunity to serve as the Prize Patrol for Be Present! Attendance Challenge for Bristol Tennessee City Schools (BTCS).
The Be Present! Attendance Challenge was created by BTCS to improve student attendance, and Rebecca Craddock, BTCS Communications Coordinator, knew they had to gain the attention of the students and parents to reach their goals of educating and motivating the students.
"The program was designed to meet the goal in two ways: to educate and to motivate," Craddock said. "We wanted to first educate students and parents about the importance of attendance in order to succeed academically and throughout their lives. We also wanted to motivate them to set and reach their personal attendance goals. That's where we knew our Prize Patrol personalities would be essential, and they did not disappoint!"
Nancye Rahn, King Assistant Athletic Director, suggested to Craddock that Booher and Pierce would be a great fit for the Prize Patrol. That's when The Dude and Dr. Roy G Biv were created.
"From the time we first met with them, we knew they were the perfect faces of the Be Present! Prize Patrol. Their initial ideas and enthusiasm for the campaign were evident from the beginning, and our initial instincts were correct! Our Prize Patrol personalities definitely MADE the campaign!"
Throughout the spring, the duo traveled to local schools, starting with Tennessee High School, the first challenge winner. The students had only seen videos of Dr. Roy G Biv and The Dude, so no one knew what the reaction was going to be like.
"Probably the moment we all knew we had something special was when Desmond and Ryan made their entrance into Viking Hall on the very first Be Present! Attendance Challenge visit," said Craddock. "As students slowly caught sight of Roy and Dude entering Viking Hall, the volume of the screams quickly rose. Roy ran up and down the steps and throughout the stands fist bumping students and posing for selfies. The arena, filled with 1200 teenagers, came alive, and the Be Present! Prize Patrol did as well!"
From there, the program took off as the Prize Patrol rolled to Avoca Elementary School, Holston View Elementary School, and Fairmount Elementary Schools. BTCS had attendance challenge days throughout the spring, and the schools that had the highest attendance that day received a visit from the Prize Patrol.
"I think the Be Present! program was very successful and meaningful," Booher said. "It was great showing students how important it is to show up and do the work. The challenge will translate to the students later on in life (athletics, work, and life in general). Plus Dr. Roy G. Biv and The Dude had a great time doing it."
"I loved being Dr. Roy G Biv for the Be Present! Attendance Challenge," Pierce said. "I believe that it was successful as attendance numbers were up and the kids got to have fun during the process. I loved visiting the schools and feeding off of everyone's energy and excitement. The entire process of shooting videos, visiting schools, and wearing my infamous rainbow suit was all fun. I would like to thank Rebecca Craddock and Kay Ward for allowing Ryan and I to be part of this."
"We are immensely grateful for Ryan and Desmond and the time, energy, and creativity they brought to this effort," finished Craddock. "It was often difficult to tell who was having more fun--the students or Ryan and Desmond. We also want to sincerely thank the King University Athletic Department for your support! It has been a pleasure working with everyone."
Be on the lookout for the Be Present! Prize Patrol next year.