Christmas comes early for 30 deserving students at Lakewood Elementary School


Students at Lakewood Elementary get ready for the Academy Sports bike giveaway. (Photo by Brian Lawson)

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Academy Sports turned Wednesday into an early Christmas for 30 deserving Lakewood Elementary School students.

The company provided 30 bikes for boys and girls in grades K-2. The company has been providing free bikes at the holidays for 14 years. Huntsville store manager David Childers said the giveaway is consistent with the store’s mission.

“It helps promote our philosophy of getting kids outdoors, getting them active,” he said.

This marked the third year Lakewood Elementary paired with Academy Sports. The school uses the bike giveaway as an incentive to get students to school on time, said Principal Fredrick Barnes.

“We encourage the students to be on time. Every week that they’re on time every day, they get a ticket to put their name into a drawing for one the bicycles,” Barnes said.

The names are placed in the drawing and the winning names were drawn today.

There was elation and disappointment, a few prayers, some tears and one last huge smile.

Jasmine Copeland, a second-grader, figured she was out of luck with 29 names called and only one left. Then the principal called out her name and she claimed the 30th bike.

Sitting on her new bike, Jasmine didn’t have a lot to say, but was able to sum up how she felt, “Happy.”

Barnes said today’s giveaway will carry a lasting lesson.

“It helps the students understand that sometimes you can’t win everything, and that participating in activities can get you to where you need to be.”

It was an exciting day at Lakewood, but that’s not unusual Principal Barnes said.

“There’s always excitement here at Lakewood, we’re always doing something to encourage the students to do better in school,” he said. “The bikes just make it a whole lot better.”