Girl gives away bike prize

Published: August 9, 2006 | 4576th good news item since 2003

Eight-year-old Souji Geib is a good student with a tremendously generous spirit.

This is the second year in a row that Souji asked me to help find a good home for a new bike she received for having perfect attendance at Akron’s Leggett Elementary School. The school gave away nearly 40 bikes.

“I already have a bike,” Souji said. She allowed me to donate last year’s bike to a Canton girl whose bike was stolen.

This year, I invited girls to write a Why-I-Should-Win-the-Bike essay and let Souji pick the winner.

She did. And happily so.

I, on the other hand, was a bit bummed out that only two applicants responded.

The contest inspired one local gentleman to donate a boy’s bike and urge me to open the contest to boys. I did.

To our amazement, not one boy responded.

Was it too much like homework? Do parents not encourage their children to apply for something if it means extra effort? I’m baffled.

But I’m delighted to applaud Souji’s good deed and introduce the bike’s new owner as chosen by Souji.

Drumroll, please. She’s Carlisa Hayes, 8, of Columbus, who spent the summer in Akron with her grandmother.

“I thought her essay was sweet and nice and she likes school,” Souji said. “And giving her the bike would make her happy to be able to ride along with her friend who already had a bike.”

Carlisa, who like Souji will be a third-grader, was ecstatic to learn she won the purple bike with matching helmet.

In her essay, Carlisa talked about earning a merit award, being a self-manager and helping her teacher and mom.

Upon meeting, both girls seemed to bond easily, even deciding to become pen pals.

Parents Inda Blatch-Geib and Michael Geib joined Souji as she dropped off the bike. Equally proud mother Irene Jackson escorted Carlisa.

So, here’s to the wisdom of responding to essay contests, which in this case yielded a bike and a new friend. And here’s to parents who teach the importance of giving back, reading and following through.

Published in Kids & Teens, Values
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