Northside schools push for perfect attendance with Chick-fil-A meals as reward

dfwnewsa | February 23, 2024 | 0 | Fort Worth , Fort Worth News

Northside schools push for perfect attendance with Chick-fil-A meals as reward

Chick-fil-A owner Sanel Thomas, left, and Executive Director Matt Galloway, right, visited every school in Northside to give free meal certificates to each staff member. (Courtesy photo | Fort Worth ISD)
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An idea clicked with Sanel Thomas during a Fort Worth ISD meeting about how to get students back in the classroom.

As the owner of the restaurant’s Stockyards location, he could give Chick-fil-A gift cards to students who have perfect attendance. For the 2023-24 school year, students with six weeks of perfect attendance at some Northside schools can receive a free meal card. 


“If we can do the small things, like getting a student to go up to their parents and say, ‘Hey, I got to make it to school because I really want this Chick-fil-A,’ then that’s great,” Thomas said.

Community partnerships are important for Manuel De La Cruz, Northside High School assistant principal. They strengthen the school and the community, he said.

“I really feel like that paints a bigger picture of who we are as a school,” Cruz said. “That we’re not just isolated in what we do here.”

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About a year ago, Cruz was in his office when an office assistant brought Thomas in. Thomas introduced himself and told Cruz that he wanted to reach out to the community. Thomas figured the high school would be a great place to start.

Cruz and Thomas hit it off. 

“We just started talking and thinking about student success and reaching out to the community,” Cruz said.


Cruz recently told students about the incentive.

“They’re going to hear me on the announcements today really discussing, ‘Hey, if you have perfect attendance, keep it up because you’re getting this free meal from Chick-fil-A,’” Cruz said.

Northside High School has about 8% of students absent every day, Cruz said.

Ultimately, Cruz just wants students to know that there are people at Northside who love them and want them to be successful, he said.

“We’re going to make a way for them as long as they do their part,” Cruz said.

Keyla Holmes is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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