The Chicago Public School system has given a car to a 12-year-old in recognition of her perfect attendance over a three month period. “By attending school every day within any one of three time periods, a total of 189,115 students were eligible for the Dodge Caliber, which was donated to CPS by Clear Channel and South Chicago Dodge.” We suppose giving cars to 12-year-olds is one way to advertise your car dealership. [Chicago Tribune]


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  1. SpookyChris says:

    I didn’t miss a day of school for 6 years from grade 7 to grade 12 and I didn’t get squat. I. AM. FURIOUS.

  2. phelander says:

    I’ve seen younger kids win lottery prizes. So. What’s your point…that she can’t legally drive yet? So. A prize is a prize.

  3. rpm773 says:


    I won a prize (such as a car). How is it taxed?

    Prizes and awards are taxed at fair market value, i.e. taxed at the amount of money for which you could sell the prize. If you win a car, for instance, and you could sell it for $35,000, then you add $35,000 to your income. However, certain prizes and awards are not taxed. To be excepted for normal income tax, then the prize or award must meet all four of the following tests: 1) It is in recognition of religious, charitable, scientific, educational, artistic, literary, or scientific achievement; 2) you were selected without any action on your part; 3) you assign the award to a government unit or tax-exempt organization; and 4) you do not have to perform a service to receive the prize or award.

    Sorry, kid. Looks like you’ll be paying up next April.

  4. howie_in_az says:

    @phelander: It’s a Dodge. A Dodge is never a prize.

  5. donkeyjote says:

    The car is for her parents to drive, for the childs fun.

  6. Ftp1423 says:

    They are probably just trying to off load those things. I’m sure they’ll be giving off hummers and excursions next week for just showing up.

  7. Meathamper says:

    That’s not fair. I’ve been going to school without fail for years! I guess kids in Chicago skip school to go to crack houses.

  8. humphrmi says:

    There is such a concept as a prize cash-out.

  9. mythago says:

    Great. So the kid came in and infected her classmates every time she had a bad cold or flu rather than stay home.

  10. “You’re sick? You’re still going to school, I want to win that Caliber honey!”

  11. Jesse in Japan says:

    @Ftp1423: I agree. They can’t get rid of those gas guzzlers anymore, and giving one away is a tax write-off.

  12. Coolmatt49 says:

    What the hell?! Why give a CAR to a twelve year-old?? That makes no sense. You know the parents are going to keep the car and by the time the kid is old enough to drive it, he’ll want to get a new one.

    As to whether he wants to get a car from Dodge, that’s another story.

  13. Dustbunny says:

    Won’t her parents have to pay taxes on the car? And what’s so impressive about not missing school for 3 months — I usually only missed a couple of days the entire school year. That was after walking uphill in the snow to get there!

  14. says:

    for 3 WHOLE MONTHS STRAIGHT?! wow, thats like, hundreds of hours! how did she do it?

  15. FeedFaceCoffee says:

    Now if they’d only do this at my work… Sure it’s a Dodge, but who can complain about a free car?

  16. It is obvious the elgible students where entered into a drawing (pool) from which the winner’s name was drawn.

    I gotta know…. what farking idiot wrote the contest rules?

    Those contests (for lack of a better word) usually stipulate “high school students above the age of 15” yak yak yak, just so an underage student does not win the prize and if the person is underage there is usually a cash alternative prize.

    Somebody screwed the pooch on this one.

  17. scootinger says:

    @Jesse in Japan:

    actually, this is a Dodge Caliber that they gave away, which is a pretty fuel-efficient compact car.

  18. timmus says:

    Why not give the car to someone with good grades but poor attendance because of problems getting to school? Good attendance should be rewarded with a scholarship. WTF?

  19. Sndtrkman says:

    Ah, it’s stories like these that make me glad I live in Chicago.

  20. Kyattsuai says:

    Still not as bad of an idea as Budweiser’s “Get a perfect SAT score and win a year’s supply of beer” promotion.

  21. kepler11 says:

    Although the prize was certainly voluntarily donated by a private company, and they can do as they like — at least on the school’s part I don’t think that this is a good reflection of American culture — where one person at the top wins it all and the rest were like playing a lottery.

    Why not spend those resources to reward everyone who qualified?

  22. Xerloq says:

    @kepler11: Companies only care about culture when it positively affects their bottom line.

  23. misokitty says:

    Wouldn’t it be a better investment for that child to start a college fund for the amount of money equal to the car?

  24. kurmbox says:

    I may be in the minority here, but I think this is a good idea. The Chicago Public School System is very active in trying new techniques to improve performance (see Freakonomics). From what I understand, they have a serious attendence issue there. With this promotion, you make it very attractive to young kids to be in school every day. And for a city like Chicago, simply being in school can make a huge difference in the life of a young, impressionable child.

    And to me, the car is a much more tangible and enticing reward than plain old money. To a 12-year old (or to whatever age children who were eligble for this prize), saying you have a car (or the idea that you could have your “own” car) would be much cooler (I’d wager at least). Would a 12-year old appreciate the full monetary value of a car, or would it simply be another “thousand” number to them?

  25. pixiegirl1 says:

    All those years I went to lake county schools with out missing a day and what did I get?! Nothing!

    I think this is the dumbest stunt ever, imo. She can’t even drive for another 4 years so basically her parents can wear it out for 4 years for her and by the time she can actually drive it will need thousands of dollars in repairs. My brother had a dodge after the 4-5 year mark he owed way more than what the car was worth and it needed tons of work to boot. Nice!

    While I understand CHicago has serious attendance issues I think they need to come up with alternative ways to get children to school. If you have to bribe your kids to go to school they will have a hard transition to the real world. In the real world you don’t get rewarded with “prizes” for just showing up for work.

  26. Thassodar says:

    I had perfect attendance from 2nd grade to 11th grade, and got JACK SHIT. The only reason I was absent in 12th grade was because I got mono the week before school let out.

  27. TorrentFreak says:

    This mkes no sense, you shouldn’t be rewarded for doing what you are supposed to be doing. No wonder people grow up with a sense of entitlement. It starts at an early age.

  28. Angryrider says:

    I guess this is the next step since I’ve noticed people actually celebrating something as trivial as elementary or junior high school graduations.

  29. petitcerise says:

    A local dealership just gave away a brand new car (a small Chevy) to a graduating senior who had never missed school. Obviously he was old enough to drive and he didn’t miss class for 12 years, not 80 days.

  30. anawolken says:

    Isn’t consumerist just propagating their feeble attempt to advertise their dealership by writing about it? Just sayin!

  31. henwy says:


    You’re missing the point. It makes perfect sense because it’s really for the parents. Parents determine whether their kid has good attendance or not in most cases. This gives the parents an incentive to make sure their rugrat goes to school.

  32. Odds are the parents are gonna drive it anyway. Did you see the father’s reaction after he turned the key for his daughter?

  33. I had kids in my class who didn’t miss a day of school for all four years of highschool. These kids got it for not missing three months?… Could the dealership not figure out a better way to advertise?

  34. TeraGram says:

    Prizes for not missing a day of school are short-sighted incentives.

    By sending your snot-nosed miscreant to school with a cold or flu you inevitably get my kid (and a dozen others) sick.

    It has gotten to the point that when I see a kid in my daughter’s class coughing & sneezing, I tell the teacher to send the kid to the nurse for evaluation. I don’t need my kid getting pneumonia because some other parent refused to take care of their sick kid.

    And yeah, I get that some parents are working very hard, can’t afford this or that, no insurance, blah blah. I’m sorry to be so callous, but others’ sick kids effect MY kid, and I’m fed up with it.

  35. overbysara says:


  36. nick_r says:

    All she can do for the next few years is have sex in it.

  37. stands2reason says:

    If someone “awarded” me with a Dodge, I would punch the shit out of them. Then, I would “accidentally” get in a wreck after insuring it, and buy–well, probably a Prius with the way gas prices are.

  38. coren says:

    @rpm773: Erm…you must meet four conditions, and then you bolded one she definitely meets. I don’t follow..