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Letter jackets for scoring big…in the classroom

Motiva Enterprises sponsors an innovative academic program that rewards students at Davis High School not for their athletic – but rather their academic – prowess.

This year, 97 high-achieving students earned academic letter jackets for maintaining a straight-A average and 4.0 GPA
Letter jackets have long been the garment of choice for athletes, a symbol of pride reflecting a student’s ability on the field, camaraderie with a sports team, and an emblem of individual accomplishment.

Building upon the popularity and status of these iconic jackets, Motiva Enterprises has been sponsoring an innovative academic program that rewards students at Davis High School not for their athletic – but rather their academic – prowess.

As the only one of its kind in Texas, the Motiva Academic Letterman Jacket Program recognizes outstanding students who have maintained a straight-A average for the year and a 4.0 GPA with the high-coveted letter jacket. Launched over fifteen years ago by Motiva’s Distribution Complex in Houston, the program has been regarded by school leaders as a highly effective strategy to build incentive and a drive to success among their students.

The jackets -- designed in the school colors of purple and gray and stitched with the gold “lamp of knowledge” emblem -- have gained a level of prestige traditionally afforded to the members of a state-ranked football team.

As one school member put it, “Academic recognition does not take a back seat to athletic ability at Davis High School.”

A powerful motivator

Jonathan Seveney, Texas Terminal Complex Manager, who manages this educational outreach program, comments, “This program really motivates students to achieve. Students are constantly asking about their grades and what they can do to raise them. Motiva’s long-term involvement has also built the awareness and cachet of this program on campus.”

Seveney and other Motiva leaders recently attended the letter jacket awards ceremony and issued jackets to 97 beaming students who walked the stage in front of cheering parents, faculty and administrators in the audience. Since the inception of this program, Motiva has donated a total of 700 coveted jackets….and has encouraged almost as many students to excel in their studies, push themselves to realize a hard-earned goal, and encourage their peers to join in the challenge. In the past, many of the students participating in this program have pursued higher education, including two who received scholarships to Cornell University.

The academic letter jacket program has been credited as one of the factors for elevating the ranking of Davis High School, which is located in economically challenged pocket of north Houston with historically high dropout rates. In 2009, it was listed as a top 10 “Most Improved High School” in the greater Houston area. Davis High School was also cited by the U.S. Department of Education’s Doing What Works program, which recognizes best practices for dropout prevention across the nation.

When asked what lies beneath the soaring popularity of the academic letter jacket program, Seveney shares “time has proven the worth of this program. The first year of the program only seventeen students earned their jackets. This year 97 students have earned a straight A average and minimum 4.0 GPA…that’s progress towards excellence.”