Christmas is still a week away, but for the majority of students at J.R Harris Elementary, Christmas came a little earlier this year.
"Merry Christmas to you."
Thanks to Valero and the nonprofit group Elves and More, every student who reached a goal set at the beginning of the school year, got a brand new bicycle. Principal Steven Harding explains how it worked.
"The kids had to meet a certain goal on their accelerated reader progress. And that’s a program where they go to the library and check out books and read books, and then they take a comprehension test on that book and then based on how well they do they get points. And so the teachers set goal for them and based on whether or not they met that goal they got a bike."
679 boys and girls are taking home a bicycle. That’s most of the students, but not all of them. Harding says even though the goals were very much attainable, not every student put in the effort.
"There was a few that slacked off and could’ve worked a little harder, and they realize that and today is when they’re feeling, 'man, I should’ve worked a little bit harder.'"
'"Hey, buddy how you doing?"
Everywhere you looked there was a boy a girl smiling or gazing with a solemn look on their face almost as if they couldn’t believe they were actually about to get a bicycle.
"That’s what we’re here for. And to see Valero and Elves and more step up like this and donate you know hundreds of bikes to these kids, it’s going to make a difference in these kids lives."
Fred Newhouse is with Valero which helped with the bikes and also arranged for lots of volunteers to show up at the school and give them away. As we talked one boy passed by with his new bike and you could see him about to cry.
"Ask him how he feels. You can see it all over him. Santa Clause is real man. He’s real. And he deserves that bicycle."