For years, the Bannister Foundation has surprised students in Gulfport with gifts and rewards for their hard work in school.
Following months of hard work, students at Central Elementary let out a loud ‘thank you’ after they all got the chance to get an early Christmas present. Dozens of students waited eagerly to see if their name would be drawn for a new bike. Bannister Foundation Executive Director Michelle Robinson said, “We started a ‘Books for Bikes’ program. The AR program at Central Elementary and a lot of other public schools isn’t mandatory, so we wanted to encourage the kids to read because we all know reading increases your literacy, your imagination and all kinds of other good stuff.”
Students could become eligible to win the bike by passing their AR tests, something over 180 students accomplished. “We got a bike and we put it on display and told the kids for every AR Test that they passed, their name would go in to a drawing to win the bike this year,” said Robinson.
This year’s winner is second grader Addison Bonner. She tells News 25 she read as many books as she could to increase her chances to win the bike. “I took more AR tests than the whole class.”
For the Bannister Foundation, the giveaway didn’t stop with one bike. This spring they’ll be doing it all over again. “We want to make sure we can step up and encourage these kids to set goals and reach them, and know when you set a goal and reach it you can be rewarded too.”