Bicycles Start Holiday Season Right; Students at Highlands Elementary Receive 40 as Reward for Hard Work

Article excerpt

Byline: JOHN CARTER

You might say the holidays came rolling around early this year at several city schools.

Jay Stein, founder of Stein Mart, and his wife, Deanie, were hosted by Duval County School Superintendent Joseph Wise as the Steins gave out 2,500 brand-new bicycles, 2,500 safety helmets and 4,000 radios to students last week.

The colorful bikes, mostly purple for boys, pink for girls, were awarded to students based mostly on academic achievement.

But there were other criteria as well.

Principal Robert Gresham, whose Highlands Elementary School on the Northside received 40 of the bicycles, said they were given out based on what he calls the three As - attendance, academics and attitude.

"The bicycles are a very powerful form of encouragement," Gresham. "It just rewards them for all the hard work and the winning attitudes they exhibit all year long."

It is also, he said, a symbol that there are lots of people in the community rooting for them to succeed, both academically and as individuals.

Hundreds of Highlands Elementary students shrieked and chanted and screamed as trucks full of bikes and helmets followed a police escort, blue lights flashing, siren wailing, to the front of the school.

"This is great," said third-grader Davontae Major. …

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