They made the ‘nice’ list

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 17, 2011



LAPLACE – A lucky bunch of students at Emily C. Watkins Elementary who have shown the ability to consistently work hard and keep a good attitude in the classroom were treated to an afternoon of accolades Thursday along with some free toys.

Representatives from Birdies/CITGO, who run a pair of convenience stores in St. John the Baptist Parish, partnered with the school for the surprise donation as part of the company’s first annual “Giving is Always Better Than Receiving” Christmas celebration. The program honored 50 students across all grade levels that have shown consistently good performance throughout the year.

“Birdies management came to us with the idea to celebrate those kids who may not always make straight A’s all year but work very hard and always have a positive attitude in the classroom,” said Watkins guidance counselor Dr. Iman En-Nabut. “These are students who do well in the classroom and have shown the most improvement.”

Mohammed “Yo Yo” Nabut, a co-owner of the Birdies stores in St. John, said the program he and his employees had thought about for a while was a way to give back to the region the stores serve. He said it is something he wants to see grow as the years go on.

“We know how hard it can be for parents to get everything their children want for Christmas, especially in hard times like this,” he said. “When you see the kids this excited and when you are able to get them exactly what they wanted, it means a lot.”

En-Nabut said part of the program involved the students drawing a “family portrait” that will now hang on the walls at both Birdies locations in St. John Parish. She said when the students go in and recognize their drawings they get treated to a free Icee.

The students also heard from St. John Parish President Natalie Robottom and Sheriff-elect Mike Tregre, who each offered them some positive advice.