Teacher, donors provide scooters to first-grade students

Published 9:18 am Wednesday, December 21, 2016

It was high noon Tuesday as the 139 first-graders at Sherman Avenue Elementary School lined up along the sidewalk at the rear of the school building and looked across a patch of open ground at line of scooters with multi-colored safety helmets parked against a fence.

“This week, we’ve been on trip around the world for Christmas,” first-grade teacher Woodrow Price said. “We’ve been to Mexico, Jamaica, Germany, Holland, Italy and Japan. Today, we’re going on a field trip to the North Pole. You are the reason we’re here. So as a token of our appreciation we’re giving you all a scooter for Christmas.”

With the close of that sentence, the children broke for the fence en masse, looking for the scooter with their name on it.

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The scooter giveaway grew out of Price’s decision in 2015 to give each of his students a new bicycle.

“That was what I saw most on their letters to Santa,” he said.

This year, he teamed up with the other first-grade teachers and began a fundraising project to get each first-grade student a scooter.

“We got responses from all over Mississippi and from other states,” he said. “One person in Ohio donated a scooter. A lady in Dallas donated five.

“The goal was to get a scooter for each first-grade student,” he said. “We ended up getting 200. The other scooters will be given to the child most in need in each of the other grades.”

The gift to the students had another goal.

“If it weren’t for these students, I wouldn’t have a job, so this is a way of thanking them,” Price said. “And I want to get them away from playing computer and video games and get them outside doing activities in the fresh air.”

The students took to the exercise idea quickly, donning their helmets and propelling their scooters across the ground, onto the sidewalk and into the school parking lot, where they lapped a roundabout at the end of the parking lot several times before being called back by their teachers to return to class.

Janiya Powe, one of the students trying out her scooter summed up her feelings and those of her classmates about the gift in one word, “Good.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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