By Denise Dick
Twelve Williamson Elementary School students earned early Christmas presents as rewards for their hard work and good grades in school.
During the school’s Christmas program Friday, members of Omega Phi Psi Fraternity Inc.’s local chapter presented bicycles to students based on the academic performance during the first part of the school year.
“One of our principles is scholarship,” said Jerry Fordham, Omega Phi Psi member, adding that manhood, perseverance and uplift are the other principles.
During the group’s achievement banquet last month, members decided to launch the effort. The fraternity also honored Williamson Principal Wanda Clark for her work at the school at the November banquet. The group raised funds and partnered with Walmart on Belmont Avenue to get the bikes and helmets for the students.
The bikes were a surprise for students — five fourth-graders, three fifth-graders and four sixth-graders. Only their parents knew ahead of time that they’d be going home with a special gift.
“I was, like, so surprised,” said sixth-grader Brook O’Neal, 12, of her reaction when her name was called. “I was so shocked.”
Despite the low temperatures, Brook isn’t going to wait to ride her new wheels.
“I see people on my street riding their bikes in the snow,” she reasoned.
Brook said she likes school and listed math, science, social studies and spelling as her favorite subjects.
Clark choked up as she read the students’ names.
“When I see my kids get blessed by this — that’s what it’s all about,” she said.
Fifth-grader Tyrell Myers, 10, was thrilled with his new bike.
“I love it,” he said. “I’m getting it for Christmas.”
Tyrell said he spends a lot of time studying to achieve his grades. Reading is his favorite subject.
Imani Mayes, 11, a fifth-grader, went to school Friday thinking it would be just like any other day. In fact, she didn’t even remember it was the day of the Christmas program. When she heard Clark read her first name, she expected the last name of another girl to follow.
“I was surprised,” Imani said.
She likes the new bike.
Fourth-grader Edwin Rodriguez, 10, was surprised and excited when Clark read his name.
“I like it,” he said.
He’ll wait to ride it though, when it gets a bit warmer.
Math is his favorite subject, and he says he studies sometimes — and sometimes he doesn’t.
“They say I’m really good at math,” Edwin said.
The other recipients are fourth-graders Amaryah Williams, Mariana Gilmer, Leonard Pearce and Camryn Williams; fifth-grader Delshawn Petrosky; and sixth-graders Myranda Moon, Kimberly McCan and Keeshon Phillips.