UPDATE @ 11:45 a.m. Nov. 19
Four students from the Springfield Promise Neighborhood program are reaping the benefits of getting high marks.
The students are enjoying an all-expenses paid trip to Disney World, as was promised last year by Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who during a visit challenged Lincoln Elementary students to maintain B grades or better throughout the school year.
A group of Springfield Promise Neighborhood students are going to Disney World after they met a challenge made by NBA legend and business mogul Earvin “Magic” Johnson to keep high grades.
Johnson visited Springfield last year challenged a group of more than 20 Lincoln Elementary students to maintain B grades throughout the school year in 2015. In exchange he pledged he would send them on an all-expense-paid trip to “The Happiest Place on Earth.”
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Four students and chaperones headed off to Florida on Friday morning. They will return Sunday after a full day at the Disney on Saturday.
“A once in a lifetime thing,” is the way Tearsa Gilbert, who is one of the four award winners, described this opportunity.
Fellow traveler Diondraya Beal said she hopes to meet some of the people from the Disney Channel shows she watches.
All the students in the class worked hard last year to try to go on the trip, said Promise Neighborhood organizer Megan Detrick.
“I’m really proud of the work that they did,” Detrick said.
The Springfield Promise Neighborhood project is attempting to revive the area around Lincoln Elementary School on Tibbetts Avenue. The Springfield Foundation and other community organizations pledged $300,000 over three years in seed money to kick off the program.
Johnson, who grew up in Lansing, Mich., told the students last year he grew up in a town just like Springfield and that they too can aspire to big goals like he did.
After receiving a college scholarship for basketball, Johnson went on to play for the Los Angeles Lakers and now is a successful businessman.
One of Johnson’s business, the food service company SodexoMAGIC, which supplies the Springfield Regional Medical Center, is sponsoring all the costs of the Disney World trip, including $300 in spending money for students’ food and souvenirs.