Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Running start: South Side fifth-grader up for ESPY

This story was sent to me via e-mail. A young black girl is the only runner and the only Midwesterner among five nominees for an ESPY award. Thanks to bloggers and a grassroots campaign thru e-mail she's moved from last place to a narrow lead for first place. She's a participant in Girls on the Run Chicago

South Sider Nichyria Byrd is probably going to be one of them.

The fifth-grader from Ariel Community Academy is up for a 2008 ESPY award. She's one of five nominees from across the country and the only one from the Midwest. Byrd found out in March that she was nominated.

''I was so happy,'' Byrd said. ''I almost cried, but I was laughing, and me and my mom were so excited. I'm still telling everybody.''

Byrd, 11, was nominated through her participation in Girls on the Run-Chicago, an organization that promotes running to help girls in grades three through eight have a healthy lifestyle.

Girls on the Run also teaches girls how to deal with handling bullies at school and negative body images in the media.

''One of my teachers asked if I was doing Girls on the Run, and I thought it would be a good time to learn about being more respectful and everything,'' Byrd said.

Byrd still runs with Girls on the Run, but she plays basketball at Ariel and is thinking about taking up volleyball once she gets into high school.

''She really epitomizes what athletics is about,'' said Girls on the Run-Chicago executive director Kelly O'Brien. ''She was a pretty shy girl and wasn't involved in athletics, and now she's very well-spoken and outgoing. We've seen Nichyria grow over the last three years.''

Voting for this youth ESPY award is done online by going to https://r.espn.go.com/espn/special section/kelloggs/. Voting ends on June 15, and the winner will fly to Los Angeles for the ESPY awards next month. If Byrd wins, it will be her first plane trip.

''I have fliers out [for voting on the Internet] and there's this lady that rides on the bus with me and she sent out a hundred e-mails,'' Byrd said. ''I voted for myself in our school library.''

I think I should cast my vote for her!

: A link to vote for Ms. Byrd! The old link will be broken because it doesn't work.


Cal Skinner said...

The link to vote does not work.

What do the initials stand for?

Levois said...

ESPY? Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards

I'll see what I can do on the voting link.

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