Appeal-Democrat Archive Writing

From BUGS to bikes

June 6, 2007

In Mong Xiong’s rush to find a seat at a lunchtime awards assembly, he missed his name being called out by Kiwanis member Seth Fuhrer. When a woman handed him a bike helmet, he turned around to see a new, red Mongoose bike.

“That’s for you,” Fuhrer told Mong.

The seventh-grader was one of 10 students from Alicia Intermediate School in Linda to win a new bike for making the largest leap in their grade-point average.

The giveaway ended the first year of the Marysville Kiwanis Bringing up Grades program. Similar programs took place at McKenney and Yuba Gardens intermediate schools.

Fifty Alicia students with a GPA under 2.0 were invited to participate by Principal Jack Stokes at the beginning of the school year. Alicia counselor Marilyn Lees said the program was so successful, students are already asking about next year.

“They’re asking me when the next one is,” she said. “The minute they hear BUGS, they’re excited.”

Mong was actually the 11th student on the list, but someone else turned down a bike. He walked through the door just as they found his name on the list.

“It was fantastic,” Mong said. “I just tried to do good and keep learning and try hard.”

Eighth-grader Mario Barriga’s hard work got him a new bike too. He was failing his math class when he found out about BUGS and decided it was time to get some help.

“I told my dad to help me,” Barriga said.

He also reached out to his teachers and friends for homework help. He made the second-largest leap at Alicia, thanks mostly to his A in math.

Some students from the three schools improved by almost two full grade points, Marysville Kiwanis President Jim Sharp said, but not all of the students who benefited had low grades to begin with. At McKenney, students who had more than a 3.0 GPA got double credit for any improvements they made.

Along with the bikes, students also were fitted for free helmets from the Yuba County Public Health Department. Those who didn’t win bikes received Carl’s Jr. gift cards.