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Brighton youth savor the sweet taste of success

Incentive Awards05BRIGHTON — The Education Department gave Brighton students sweet rewards at a candy-themed incentive awards program Aug. 11.

Candy Land came to life at the Brighton Gym with candy stations and centerpieces made of colorful lollipops and tasty treats. Kids filled boxes with Skittles, jellybeans, gummies, Twizzlers, Kisses and chocolate coins as rewards for a successful school year, right before a new one began.

Tony Bullington congratulated students for another successful year and parents for working hard to make it happen.

“Without the effort you put in, these students wouldn’t have the success they do,” said Bullington, Education program manager.

Tribal college students offered advice to younger kids on how to succeed in school.

“I know it’s not always easy to maintain your grades, but stay in school no matter what,” said Jaryaca Baker, a student-athlete at Western Oklahoma State College. “No one can ever take your education away from you.”

Baker encouraged students to further their educations, act like leaders, strive to be the best at their chosen professions and disregard anyone who tells them they cannot succeed.

“Take that as motivation and prove them wrong,” she said. “I want to see every one of these kids succeed and go to the next level.”

Miss Florida Seminole Brianna Nunez, who will attend Tallahassee Community College in the fall, shared guidance for student-athletes like herself.

“It isn’t easy after late nights, games and practices,” she said. “You just want to sleep, but don’t. Always strive for your education. Do the work; it’s worth it.”

In her first appearance as Jr. Miss Florida Seminole, Cheyenne Nunez advised students to stay in school because they are the Tribe’s future leaders.

Recent high school graduate Acealyn Youngblood, a freshman at Savannah College of Art and Design, recalled how she liked to please her teachers in school.

“I liked them to see I could accomplish things,” she said. “During high school I kept my GPA up to get accepted into college. I graduated with my class in front of my family and friends. High school is hard; sometimes I wanted to quit, but I knew that wouldn’t get me anywhere in life.”

With the speeches over and candy consumed, students received certificates and a handshake from Brighton Councilman Andrew J. Bowers Jr., who had some sage words of wisdom.

“Focus on what you start and finish it,” he said.


Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at