By Mike Steely
A recent story about a caring auto repair shop and a destitute customer drew a lot of attention from readers of The Knoxville Focus. As the holiday season unfolds there are, no doubt, many more incidents of concerned and compassionate people doing acts of kindness.
Take the actions of a concerned teacher at Halls High School for instance.
When Kathryn Griffin, Family and Consumer Sciences teacher at Halls High School, heard about a program used at the University of Tennessee that rewarded students NOT to use their cell phones during school hours, she thought such a program might work at Halls.
“I thought we need it more,” she said.
Griffin made arrangements and Halls High School joined the program as one of only three high schools in the nation to take part. She said that Karns High School has shown interest in the Pocket Points mobile app as well.
When students open the app on their phones there’s a message that says “Lock Your Phone Now.” The use of cell phones for texting in class and during the school day is a continual problem for teachers. “Pocket Points keeps track of how long the phone is not used during the school day. Students earn points that can be used for treats from the school store or several local merchants,” Griffin explained.
“Some 200 colleges are now using the app and Halls has become a pilot high school. The results are reported to me at the end of each day and I sometimes announce a winner,” she said. Among the prizes are things like tickets to the Smokies ball games or the Ice Bears.
Stores taking part in the program by offering discounts or coupons include Subway, Jerry’s Barbershop, Simply Blessed Boutique, Sonic, Domino’s, Max Air Trampoline Park, BurgerFi, Oscar’s Taco Shop, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Red Onion, Blush Boutique, Brenz Pizza and Snake Eyes Comics.
“It’s a big deal for Halls High School,” Griffin said.
Griffin’s efforts were recognized by County Commissioner Charles Busler Friday, December 11, when he presented a check for $200 to help the program. He presented the contribution to Board of Education member Patti Bounds with Halls Principal Mark Duff and Griffin present.
Bounds called the Halls program “a huge incentive” to learn.