Ross Elem. bicycle program discussed

By: Jeannine LeJeune
CROWLEY - With this week marking the start of most schools in Acadia Parish, it only seems fitting that the Crowley Rotary Club’s speaker be involved in education.

John Dailey, former educator in various schools around the parish and founder of the Ross Elementary Bicycle Incentive Program, spoke to the Rotary Club Tuesday afternoon.

The Egan native spoke at length at the positive changes he’s seen at Ross since he started the program. And, although he is no longer an employee at Ross, he is seeing the program he started three years ago through.

“When I got to Ross, I noticed there wasn’t a great deal of parent participation,” he said. “So, I started to do things to make the kids feel important.”

As time went on during his first year, Dailey noticed that while the very bright kids and the very bad kids were always recognized, the good kids flew under the radar. It is there that he decided to start the bicycle incentive program.

The first year only 91 students met the requirements set forth by Dailey. To be eligible, a student could not be sent out of class, give any teachers any problems or have been suspended.

The following year the program was extended to 10 bikes every nine-week grading period. When the 40th bike was awarded last year, over 200 students were eligible, something Dailey believes speaks to how important it is to recognize kids.

“A bicycle is a simple thing, but all it takes is simple things for a kid to feel important,” said Dailey.

He also told the story of how one little girl last year won the bike, but had just received a new one from her family so she asked to give it to another girl who she felt was just as deserving.

This year the goal is to give one bike to a boy and one to a girl in each of the classes at Ross for each nine weeks.

Dailey wanted to give the boys a fair shot at it because the girls were dominating the wins.

“Of course that’s because girls are just better behaved,” he joked.

At the end of his talk, he asked the Crowley Rotary Club to consider donating to the cause once again. President Isabella delaHoussaye stated it would be brought up at their next board meeting.

One club member called the program a “great thing” with many members agreeing.

Also during the meeting John Dan Gielen was the vocational speaker. He discussed his family and the history of his companies, especially Shop Rite, where it all started.

“With us, it’s all about people,” he said.

Gielen discussed how his family and heritage have shaped him into the man he is today. Gielen first started in retail while working in his father’s store in South Crowley.

“I hated that store,” he said. He told a story of how early on, he broke the top produce shelf with a case of lettuce. A story that Gielen told with a smile and that the club enjoyed with a laugh.

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