‘You've got to fight for school attendance’

Posted 5/25/18

Cleveland F&AM Masonic Lodge 134 has once again honored its annual tradition of rewarding students who have achieved perfect school attendance all year. Members of the organization …

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‘You've got to fight for school attendance’


Cleveland F&AM Masonic Lodge 134 has once again honored its annual tradition of rewarding students who have achieved perfect school attendance all year. 

Members of the organization recently gave away vouchers which will allow four children from the Cleveland and Bradley County school systems to receive brand new bicycles. 

"Everything we do in the community is about supporting education," said Barry Phillips, past master of the Masonic Lodge. "We started this about eight or nine years ago, because we knew how important it was getting children to school each day." 

Leaders with the two school systems submitted the names of all the local elementary school students who achieved perfect attendance. The Masons then held a drawing to see who would be getting a new bike, choosing two winners from each school district. 

Neyland Croft, a first-grader at Valley View Elementary School, and Joseph Douglas, a fifth-grader at Taylor Elementary School, were the winners from the county schools. Elijah Eledge, a fifth-grader at George R. Stuart Elementary School and Alyson Reiter, a second-grader at Yates Primary School, won for the city schools. 

The Masonic Lodge has again partnered with Scott's Bicycle Centre to provide a bike and a helmet for each winner. Each student will get to present their voucher at the shop and pick out the bike they feel will be the best fit. 

Directors of both local school systems thanked the Cleveland Masonic Lodge and Scott's Bicycle Center for helping emphasize the importance of school attendance. They also congratulated the students on their achievements. 

"I am very proud of your perfect attendance," said Dr. Linda Cash, director of Bradley County Schools. "You will find as you go through school that this hard work pays off. When you're at school, you're absorbing everything that's happening." 

"You've accomplished a big goal for the year, and I'm very proud of you for that," added Dr. Russell Dyer, director of Cleveland City Schools. 

The children themselves said they were ecstatic to have won their new bikes. While they knew their schools would enter them in the drawing if they had perfect attendance, they only recently found out they had won.  

A couple of the students said they simply followed their parents' lead regarding school attendance, while the others said they had made a conscious effort to go to school even on days they did not want to go. However, all said they hope their peers will be inspired to work toward perfect attendance as well.

"Sometimes, you just don't want to get up and go to school — whether you're feeling bad or just want to do something else," Eledge said. "But you've got to fight for school attendance. I want other kids to know that it can pay off." 


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