YOUNGSTOWN - Williamson Elementary students got a surprise gift on Friday, but it wasn't from Santa Claus.
Third-graders who passed both parts of their Ohio Achievement Assessments this spring were rewarded with scooters.
"I was excited to get one," said Omaree Valentin, 9, with a grin.
Tribune Chronicle / Bonnie L. Hazen
Doris Perry, right, gives a scooter on Friday to Aaron Brown, 10, at Williamson Elementary School in Youngstown. In memory of her late husband, Earnest, Perry awarded third graders who passed performance tests this year.
Doris Perry, a former Youngstown teacher of more than 35 years, promised the reward last year during a Black History Month event honoring her late husband, Dr. Earnest Perry.
"I was crying," she recalled of her surprise announcement. "It just came out."
Perry did more than promise the scooters - she personally tutored the students in preparation for the test.
"Those scores came from Miss Perry coming back and teaching here," said third-grade teacher Linda Daniels. "It's an incentive for our children."
About 100 scooters were purchased for two third-grade classes as well as fourth-graders who passed last year's OAA. About 65 percent of this year's third-graders passed the math section, with 71 percent passing the reading - only 4 percent shy of the state standard, said principal Wanda Clark. Out of the fourth-grade students, 26 out of 38 passed both parts.
"Everyone pulled together," Clark said, who attributed recent achievements to the support of not only teachers and faculty, but also Superintendent Connie Hathorn.
Students also received $10 memberships to the YMCA, complements of Donnel Ford Auto Group and Making Kids Count Inc.
Perry said she will award scooters to students every year for as long as she can.
"This will make them work a little harder. Once you want to do it, it's easier," she said.