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Think Big. Work Hard. Be Kind.

 "I am going to start thinking BIGGER. I am going to work harder, get better grades, be nicer and never give up." That is the call-to-action message of "Think Big. Work Hard. Be Kind. No Excuses.," a book written by Robert Krumroy, President of Bikes for Kids Foundation.
 
The third-grade students of W.T. Brown (WTBES) and T.C. Berrien (TCBES) Elementary Schools read this book and submitted a short essay. They were told that the students who wrote the three best essays would win a brand new bicycle for their hard work.
 
Students entered the multipurpose room of WTBES on Friday, December 10 to find out if they were one of the three winners. Pine Forest's marching band, color guard, cheerleaders, and football players greeted the third graders with high-spirited cheers, music and dancing.
 
The event opened with Yu'Riyah McNair reading The Daily Pledge. This is a pledge each student makes to themselves about how they will achieve their dreams for their future. The pledge was created by Bikes for Kids to accompany "Think Big. Work Hard. Be Kind. No Excuses."
 
With three bikes displayed behind him, Krumroy then announced the winning students with the help of representatives from Cumberland County Schools (CCS) and the event sponsors. CCS high school students Jayla Parrish, Savannah Cotton and Jre Jackson shared inspirational messages about getting good grades and working hard before each announcement.
 
Charmariaunie Williams and Dominic Gilliam from WTBES and Mary Hollis from TCBES were named as the three essay winners to rounds of cheers and applause.
 
After announcing the 'final' winner, the PFHS cheerleaders moved to sit with the third graders and started a chant of "One more bike! One more bike!" The rest of the PFHS visitors and other attendees joined the chant as Krumroy brought out one more bike to award to another winner. The event sponsors and principals then huddled in front of the crowd to decide how to give away the final bike.
 
After conferring with the group, Krumroy turned to the students and announced that everyone was getting a bike as the curtains behind them opened to reveal that the stage was filled with bicycles and helmets for every student.
 
"In life, nothing is given to you," said Krumroy to the excited students. "You are getting these bikes because you earned them."
 
Bikes for Kids is a national foundation, co-founded by Meadowlark Lemon, that provides bikes and helmets to Title 1 third-grade children as their first step in completing a three-year character-building program. Bikes for Kids is one of the largest foundations in the country with zero expenses and every cent donated goes to bikes and books.
 
"Our entire theme is to stop generational poverty. You stop generational poverty by influencing very young children. The number one most influential year in a child's life is third-grade," said Krumroy. "A bike for a child who has never had one or can't afford one is more than a reward, it's a cause for hope. It affirms in their hearts that their education, coupled with hard work, really does make dreams come true and that they can control making it happen."
 
This competition is the first Bikes for Kids program in Cumberland County and was sponsored by Bikes for Kids Foundation, Olde Fayetteville Insurance and Financial Services, and American National Insurance.