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Gerdau rewards Lonsdale Elementary students with new bikes, helmets

May 14, 2018

Steel recycler Gerdau today presented new bicycles and safety helmets to 12 Lonsdale Elementary School students in recognition of best attendance during the 2017-18 school year.

The presentation marked the seventh year that the Knoxville steel mill has rewarded the school’s students with best attendance. The company presented the bikes and safety helmets to kindergartners Maisha Niyonishu and Marisol Tomas-Gaspar; first-graders Michel Mugisha and Angelina Pedro-Sebastian; second-graders Mateo Bartolome-Diego and Seneida Jose-Martin; third-graders Angel Luster and Leila Nicolas-Juan; fourth-graders Lena Domingo-Geronimo and Destine Irakoze; and fifth-graders Cristian Diego-Domingo and Iezhiana Hartsell.

The company believes the rewards benefit the children now and into the future.

“If we can provide a little extra incentive to help them choose to come to school, the outstanding faculty at Lonsdale has more opportunities to teach and prepare them for the future”, said Johnny Miller, vice president and general manager of Gerdau. “Also, a new bike encourages the children to play outside and be active.”

Beki Fragomeni, assistant principal at Lonsdale Elementary School, thanked Gerdau for its longtime support of the school.

“We are grateful for Gerdau’s generosity and willingness to recognize our children for their outstanding attendance this school year,” Fragomeni said. “Both Gerdau and our students are examples of commitment. Gerdau demonstrates commitment to our school, and the children are committed to their education and future.”

Gerdau employees find the program gratifying, as well.

“We appreciate this opportunity to partner with Lonsdale Elementary each year on opportunities to help children in Lonsdale and love seeing the smiles on the faces of these students that have worked so hard when they get their new bikes,” Miller said.

Steel recycler Gerdau on May 14 presented new bikes and safety helmets to students at Lonsdale Elementary School in celebration of best attendance at each grade level. The company presented the rewards to (front row, from left) kindergartners Maisha Niyonishu and Marisol Tomas-Gaspar; first graders Michel Mugisha and Angelina Pedro-Sebastian; second graders Seneida Jose-Martin and Mateo Bartolome-Diego; third graders Angel Luster and Leila Nicolas-Juan; fourth graders Lena Domingo-Geronimo and Destine Irakoze; and fifth graders Cristian Diego-Domingo and Iezhiana Hartsell. Participating in the presentation were (second row, from left) Johnny Miller, Gwen Reichel, Jamie Gass, Jena Kreuzer and Chris Kimble of Gerdau; Caroline Cooley, Lindsey Kimble and Mia Wallace of Bike Walk Knoxville; Madeline Ferguson and Beki Fragomeni of Lonsdale Elementary School; and Kori Lautner of Great Schools Partnership.

Kids Love Bikes, a grant-funded program of Bike Walk Knoxville, also was on hand to provide bike safety and riding lessons for the students.

About Gerdau

Gerdau (pronounced “Grr-DOW”) is a leading producer of long steel in the Americas and one of the largest suppliers of special steel in the world. Each year, Gerdau recycles millions of tons of scrap metals into steel products, reinforcing its commitment to sustainable development in the regions where it operates. Gerdau’s North American long steel division manufactures products for the construction, automotive, agricultural and energy markets. Learn more about Gerdau in North America by visiting

In 2016, Gerdau won the Knoxville Chamber Impact Award in recognition of its broad community support of its Lonsdale neighbors.