SHAMOKIN - The Brush Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce again this year is coordinating the School Counts! program at Line Mountain, Mount Carmel Area, Northumberland County Career and Technology Center, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional and Shamokin Area schools.

The chamber's business and education committee works in partnership with Central Susquehanna Opportunities Inc. on School Counts!, an initiative that encourages employers to use high school performance records as one of the criteria in evaluating high school job applicants.

Presentations have been made at some schools already, but students, parents, teachers and local businesses should be aware that it's not too late for students to register. They can do so in their homerooms and at guidance offices throughout the school year.

What to do

The program requires no extra time commitment, asking only that students keep up their grades, come to school every day and be on time.

The School Counts! credential certifies that a student has:

- Obtained a grade of "C" or better in every course.

- Achieved a 95 percent attendance and punctuality record.

- Completed high school in eight consecutive semesters.

- Taken more than the minimum graduation requirements.

- Demonstrated positive behavior, including no out of school suspensions.

Employers are encouraged to ask for School Counts! credentials during an interview.

Four-year recipients

At the close of last year, 22 students from the Brush Valley chamber's participating schools received a "master certificate" for having earned School Counts! certification in all four years of high school. They are:

Mount Carmel Area High School: Heather Bolick, William Dutter, Maura Frasch, Taylor Getty, Ryan Gidaro, Mikael Hause, Justin Hine, Tyler Hodge, Tommy Hynoski, Amanda Kuzo, Haleyrae Mazur, Bryan McFadden, Amanda McIntyre, Kevin Mekosh, Marcus Pitcavage, Jazon Rusk, Jeremy Schmoyer and Tiffany Yuskoski.

Our Lady of Lourdes Regional: Lauryn Leach and Grier Melick.

Shamokin Area High School: Megan Ciborowski and Keena Zalar.

Employers care

Students may ask "who cares?" if they're late for school, their grades are low or they miss a lot of days. They may also wonder that, if they're not going to college, why does high school performance matters?

The chamber says any future employer may care, because performance in school is one factor that could predict how well someone does in a job. Surveys show that employers care more about attendance and punctuality than one may think, the chamber reports. The School Counts! program can help prove to employers that a student is hard-working, too.

"The School Counts credential includes two important messages - one to you congratulating you on your attitude and work ethic, and one to employers," the chamber reports. "The credential tells employers that you are the person with the attitude and work ethic they want."

Students are encouraged to take their School Counts! credentials with them for job interviews, whether a part-time job during school or a full-time job after graduation.

For more information, call 648-4675 or 644-6570 or visit www.brushvalleychamber.com to sign up.