Sports retailer surprises students with bikes (w/video)
By BY NICOLE COBLER - SPECIAL TO THE ADVOCATE
Dec. 20, 2013 at 6:20 a.m.
Cheers rang through the Hopkins Elementary School cafeteria Friday as students saw 30 bikes donated by Academy Sports and Outdoors set up in rows across the cafeteria stage.
For the fifth consecutive year, 15 boys and 15 girls were selected based on need for the bicycles, the school's parent liaison, Georggina Ordaz, said.
Fourth-grader Calista Garcia, 9, said she had no idea she would be getting a pink Huffy bike.
"When they called my name, I thought they had to be talking about a different Calista," she said.
Calista's mom, Esperanza Parker, said she was in tears when the school called her at work to tell her that her daughter had been selected to receive a bicycle.
"I just didn't have the money to give her that, and I was hoping Santa would bring her a bike," Parker said. "I was excited for her, very excited."
Becky Martinez, last year's parent liaison, said the bike giveaway started when she called Academy and asked whether they would donate bikes to the school, 110 Hopkins St.
"I'm so glad they haven't stopped or said, 'OK, we're going to another school,'" Martinez said. "We're just so lucky they've kept on doing it every year without question."
Principal Leandra Hill made sure each student who received a bike shook the Academy employees hands as they ran up the stage steps.
Kevin Patek, operations manager at Academy, 8903 N. Navarro St., said this was the company's 12th annual bike donation. In previous years, the company sent bikes to the Boys & Girls Club and other nonprofit organizations in Victoria.
"This is a way for us to give back to the community that gives us so much," Patek said. "It's a way to get students active and get them outside."
Fourth-grader Justen Redd, 9, said he's been "driving a bike" since he was 4 years old.
"At first, I was like no way, I'm not going to get one, and then they called my name," Justen said.
Kristi Redd, Justen's mom, said the bike he has now is broken and needed to be replaced.
"I can't wait to tell my friends," Justen said as a smile spread across his face.