More than 150 Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle Schooll students took home brand new bicycles June 8 in recognition of their perfect attendance for the entire 2016-2017 school year. The 166 seventh-graders received a free bicycle and helmet at a school-wide ceremony.
“Seventh grade is definitely that adolescent year where we see a lot of struggles,” principal John Mangrum said, explaining that several students have often missed school in the 7th grade. Mangum said the initiative helps to make sure students are in class creates a stronger foundation for future growth.
Walmart and Tischer Acura Nissan provided the new bicycles and helmets to the Laurel students.
The program is designed to encourage students to come to school every day and also to help them with team building and goal setting. The Tischer team, according to its community liaison Jean Johnson, is already gearing up for next year’s giveaway, and will return to the school in August to formally kick off the program and get students excited. Additionally, three or four ambassadors will be selected to keep the students on track and remind them of the new bikes that await them if they can come to school every day.
“We are thrilled to be able to sponsor and launch this program. It is our hope that the incentive of a new bike drives the seventh-grade students to not only come to school every day, but to come to school prepared to do their very best,” Johnson said.
Student Angely Garcia told WTOP radio that the bike was the perfect incentive to get her to school every morning.
“It was hard because sometimes I would be really sick and then I would be like, ‘I don’t want to come to school’,” Garcia said. “But then at the same time, it’s for a bike.”
The improved attendance is noticeable, and teachers and administrators are happy to see it.
“When students come to school, they are able to get the academic instruction that they need; they are able to be on grade level with other students and overall thrive when it comes to their education,” said Arianne Haydel, a counselor for seventh-grade students at the school. “Sometimes coming to school can be a drag for middle school students, and just having something to push them is awesome.”
Tischer has supported the school for the past six years with bicycle donations and they note that last year only twenty students were eligible for the giveaway, making the drastic increase to 166 this year.