It’s a worthy variation on an old joke. How do you reward Cincinnati students who get straight A’s? Have them hang out with the Bengals for an afternoon. How do you punish Cincinnati students whose grades are slipping? Have them hang out with the Bengals for two afternoons.
This week, a pre-recorded phone call from coach Marvin Lewis went out to about 20,000 elementary school kids, inviting them to come party at Paul Brown Stadium with him and the players. Problem is, the invitation was meant for only the honor roll students, and since this is America and no city has 20,000 smart children, Marvin had to call each and every one of them back and tell them they weren’t welcome.
Next week’s “Academic Achievement Party” is the end of a yearlong drive by Marvin Lewis’ charity to push students to succeed. He might have inadvertently done just that, by giving the underachieving students a taste of what awaits them if they get all A’s.
Only 2,500 of the 20,000 students called were supposed to be on the invite list, but a problem with the mass-dialing service sent Lewis’ call to too many homes.
Cheviot resident Melissa Miller’s 13-year-old daughter, Josie, hadn’t expected the invitation because she knew her grades didn’t quite stack up. But after hearing Lewis’s voice on the phone, 20 minutes of “jumping, high-fiving and texting all her friends” ensued.
It was all for naught.
“When you’re trying to encourage kids, it’s hard to take,” Miller said.
A second call went out from Lewis yesterday, apologizing and rescinding the invitation for all but the actual good kids. The D students are welcome to try out for the team, however.