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Christmas comes early for Humboldt students

ESSAY WINNERS – These three third grade students, (beside the bicycles, from left) Christian Williams, Tamsin Ridgeway and Jeremiah Hunt were selected to have the best essays and received bicycles as their prize last Tuesday at East Elementary School. Principal Debbie Sheehan (left), Dr. Gina Dieudonné (center behind students) and Superintendent Dr. Janice Epperson (right), along with the Viking basketball team congratulate the three students for their essays.

by DANNY WADE | Senior Editor

dwade@hchronicle.net

Christmas came a little early for students at East Elementary School with a very special present for every third grader. With the assistance of a local doctor and a non-profit foundation, every third grade student at East received a new bicycle.

Days earlier, students had been asked to write essays. These essays were about the goals each student had set for themselves and what they want to be when they grow up.

Last Tuesday morning, the third grade class went to the school gym for an assembly where students were told that the top three essay winners would receive a bike. Dr. Gina Dieudonné and the Bikes for Kids Foundation provided the bikes and helmets to be given to the third graders.

Dr. Gina, as she is affectionately known in the community, spoke to the students. She said students need ways to get exercise to fight obesity. She said obesity in children is a growing health issue and riding a bicycle is a good way to get exercise, while having fun.

Humboldt City Schools’ superintendent, Dr. Janice Epperson, got the kids up on their feet with music blaring from the speakers. The children were excited. She told the students that the three best essays were selected and those students would receive a free bike. This got the students pumped up even more.

Christian Williams, Tamsin Ridgeway and Jeremiah Hunt were selected to have the top three essays. Ridgeway was the first student announced. Her essay was read out loud, then announced her name as the author. Hunt was the next student to have his essay read as one of the top three. Each came to the front to receive a bicycle and have their pictures taken. But before the third winner was announced, Dr. Epperson and the third grade teachers huddled up to discuss the potential of adding a fourth essay winner.

That’s when the Humboldt High School cheerleaders began to cheer, “two more bikes, two more bikes” over and over. In between each chant, Dr. Epperson came out of the huddle to say, “one more bike”, but the chants continued.

Dr. Epperson returned to the podium to announce Hunt as the third essay winner. After Hunt’s essay was read, she then announced that not only will there be a fourth winner, every third grader would receive a free bike. The kids went crazy with excitement, jumping up and down, hugging their fellow students and cheering.

Members of the Humboldt Vikings basketball team then rolled out several bikes for the students to see. There was a rush to get to the bicycles.

Humboldt City Schools Athlete Director George Yarbro spoke to the third graders and explained the process to get the bicycles to the students. Yarbro said each student will receive a paper to give to their parent(s) or guardian(s) to fill out and sign. There will be a designated day and time to pick up their student’s bike.

Yarbro demonstrated how to properly wear the helmet while riding a bicycle. He placed the helmet on his head (which he said was, “way too small for my big head”) and showed the students how to adjust the strap to make a nice, tight fit.

Humboldt City School released the following statements from East Elementary School Principal Debbie Sheehan and about Bikes for Kids Foundation.

“The Bikes for Kids Foundation provides new bicycles and helmets to underserved third grade children all year long but mostly during the holiday season. One hundred percent of the money raised goes toward the purchase of new bikes and helmets for underserved elementary school students. Utilizing character-building books and required essays, the Foundation delivers hope for big dreams that build clarity, confidence, responsibility, kindness, and determination. As BFK states, ‘It is our goal to overcome poverty and entitlement with the lesson, nothing is given, everything is earned.’”

“Principal Sheehan stated, ‘This program is a wonderful opportunity for our students. Utilizing the materials provided by the foundation to aid in reading comprehension and character-building, our students put in the work and wrote wonderful essays. They felt a real sense of accomplishment and pride in accepting these gifts so generously provided by Dr. Gina and The Bikes for Kids Foundation.’”

This is the third year that Bikes for Kids and Dr. Dieudonné have provided bicycles and helmets for every third grade student right before Christmas. Not only does it make a great Christmas present, but students will get exercise while riding for fun. It is a win-win for the students and the school system.

BIKES FOR KIDS – During the Bikes for Kids program at East Elementary School last week, the top three essay writers were rewarded for their good work with brand new bicycles. Later it was determined that every third grader did well on their essays and all will receive new bikes.

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