23 September 2017

Would You Go To Summer School For That?

I am going to make what is possibly the most startling confession for an educator:  I wasn't the best of students.

I wasn't terrible, mind you:  I was one of those students who did just well enough: sort of like the Italian football squad in the opening round of the World Cup tournament.

Oh, I made dean's list a couple of times, but that was in spite of myself.  You see, I was (and still am) one of those kids who loves to read and write, but hates to do schoolwork.

I always figured that if I moved on to the next grade, if I went from being a sophomore to a junior or whatever without getting into too much trouble (which meant, at times, that I just didn't get caught--wink, wink) I was doing well enough.

Another rationale for my under-achievement was this:  I never had to go to summer school.  To most kids, that was like the death penalty.  And I survived.

But if they'd given out cool stuff for going to summer school, I just might've gone voluntarily.

Apparently, a couple of folks up in the Finger Lakes region of central New York State realized there are other kids who feel the same way.  So they approached Newark Police Chief David Christler  to administer a fund, which they started, for "deserving young people who, for whatever reason, did not have a bike or performed service worthy of reward."

According to Christler, the couple realized that "bike ownership influenced their lives when they were young and now it seemed right for them to pass on their good fortune."  He added that establishing the fund was easy; the hard part was establishing criteria for deciding who should receive the bikes.

Newark PD pix
Jahmariyan Cornwell receives a certificate for a new bike for his attendance and particiaption at summers school. Neark (NY)  Police Chief Dave Christler is at the left; next to him is summer school principal Kari Hamelinck.  To Cornwell's left are Newark detective Gary VerStraete and K-9 Officer Dan Weegar.

School superintendent Matt Cook and summer school principal Kari Hamelinck decided, with input from teachers, that the bikes should be awarded on the basis of "attitude, citizenship and summer school attendance."  On those bases, one student from each summer school class--18 in all-- received a certificate redeemable at the local Wal-Mart for a new bike, helmet and lock.

OK, so it's Wal-Mart. Still, getting a bike when you didn't have one is something.  And, if it keeps kids in school--and performing better than they would have otherwise--it sounds good.

Hey, I might've even gone to summer school for that!

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