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BRIGHT FUTURE: Good behavior, attendance rewarded with bikes

Submitted photo — Ferriday Lower Elementary first grader Ramon Thomas, left, and T’Kyah Gill stand with the new bikes they recieved as part of an incentive program at the school, which focuses on positive behavior and school attendance.

By Mollie Beth Wallace

The Natchez Democrat

FERRIDAY — Two Ferriday Lower Elementary School students are hitting the sidewalks in style this summer with brand new bikes.

Second-grader T’Kyah Gill and first-grader Romon Thomas were the proud recipients of new bicycles after exhibiting good behavior and perfect attendance for nine weeks.

Bobbie Hinson, principal of Ferriday Lower Elementary School said the bike giveaway was part of a school-wide incentive program.

The positive behavior intervention and support policy, Hinson said, is in place to make sure behavior does not interfere with academics.

Hinson said the school uses a color system to enforce its rules. Ranging from green to red, they system is taught to students in pre-kindergarten.

“Every child comes to school fully aware of the expectations,” Hinson said.

Parents also understand the system, Hinson said.

Shamika Thomas, mother of Romon Thomas, said she hears about the colors often.

“(Romon) came home on green every day since he’s been in school,” Thomas said.

Hinson said she asked each teacher to submit a list of students eligible to win the bike, and then the secretary drew one boy and one girl from a hat of names.

“When we were doing the raffle for the bike, the assistant principal would announce it daily (to the students),” Hinson said. “We had a tremendous drop in referrals to the office.

“We had children stop us in the halls and tell us they were on green, and were going to come to school so they could win that bike,” Hinson said.

That’s just what Gill and Thomas did.

Charles and Krystal Gill of Ferriday said they were surprised when their daughter T’Kyah came home and told them her good news.

“I gave her a high five,” Charles said.

Krystal said she was excited for a chance to save money.

“I told her that’s good, because that means everyone has a bike, and I don’t have to buy one,” she said.

T’Kyah, the oldest of four girls, said she is going to teach her sisters to work hard in school like she does.

While she said she was happy and excited to get the bike, Charles said the summer heat has kept her from riding it too much.

“They’ll go outside and come back in 30 minutes because it’s so hot,” Charles said.

But for Romon Thomas, even the heat can’t keep him from riding his new green bike.

“He’s been riding it every day,” his mother said. “I have a big field where he rides with all of his friends.”

Shamika said her son was elated to receive the bike.

“My first question was, ‘How?’” she said. “And when I found out why, I was so proud.”

Shamika said she teaches all three of her children the importance of excelling in school.

“I haven’t had any trouble out of (Romon) at all,” she said. “I’ve never had a call from the school other than compliments.”

Hinson said the behavior policy has had a wonderful effect on behavior since it was implemented five years ago.

This was the first year the school gave away bikes as part of that program.

The person who donated the bikes to the school prefers to remain anonymous, she said.

Hinson said the school appreciates the community’s support and involvement with the school.