Christine Lee, Irving Reporter
Irving ISD students heard from motivational speakers and can enter an essay contest to win prizes from Ford.
The Ford "Driving Dreams Tour" came to MacArthur High School in Irving ISD on Tuesday with officials announcing $21,000 worth of prizes.
"They are the future of our country, the future of our state, the future leaders of our business. So we need them to be successful," said Jim Vella, President of the Fort Motor Company Fund.
Vella said every 26 seconds a student drops out of school in the United States.
In North Texas, the numbers are also staggering. In the class of 20120, an estimated 33,400 dropped out of school in the DFW area.
In an effort to decrease the dropout rate, Ford decided to try something different. The company is asking students to write essays about what drives their dreams. Their reward could be a new MacBook, an iPad, even a $5000 college scholarship.
"The goal was to say, 'Hey, you can do this. You can make it. Don't let your past define you,'" said Irving ISD Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden.
Empowerment speaker Raul Magdaleno roused the crowd by sharing his testimony of overcoming life's hardships and reaching for his dreams.
"I can really relate to what he said and how he, instead of going to other people, made sure that he did what he had to do. That inspires me to do what I have to do," said Senior Rosie Knight.
Students said the speech and the prizes motivate them to keep their eyes on their dreams.
"[Magdaleno's] basic motto of just not quitting. He went through harder things than I did. I see that I have it more easier than him. So I see, why can't I do it? If he did it," said Senior Ajay Patel.
Ford will hold an assembly again on Wednesday at Irving and Nimitz High Schools to discuss the program.