A PTO-organized event at Mary Endres Elementary School taught bicycle safety while having fun.
“We like to bring kids and family together at the school and promote healthy activities,” Mary Endres principal Keri Pala said of Family Bike Night, an annual school event held Sept. 21.
“It is a great time for the kids, and we get them excited about the upcoming bike unit,” said Steve Ryan, a physical education teacher.
MEES is a recent recipient of a grant allowing the school to purchase 30 bikes and incorporate a bike unit into the curriculum for third- to fifth-graders; it is the only elementary school in the district to offer a bike unit.
The night encouraged families to engage in healthy activities together.
“I like riding bikes,” Caleb Weir, a second-grader at MEES, said of the opportunity to ride with his brother, Ben. The two whipped around the back parking lot and took advantage of the opportunity to ride through obstacle courses with friends.
While the physical education staff and the PTO were at the helm, the community supported the event as well.
Woodstock Police Officer David Dempsey recreated a student-friendly model of the police department’s Bike Patrol Unit testing course for the students to attempt.
“We always want to do [events like these]. Any time the police department can interact with kids in a positive way and be a part of the community, it is a good thing,” Dempsey said.
The Woodstock Fire/Rescue District offered an opportunity for students to explore Firehouse Station 3’s engine and try on uniforms.
“Most of us have kids and realize that not every kid has an opportunity to see [a fire truck and uniform] up close,” Lt. Tim Schroeder said.
“We love helping at events like this,” firefighter and paramedic Tyler Webster said.
A fourth-grade student, Alberto Carbajal tried on a WFRD uniform while his family – still on their bikes – watched.
“This is a great night. We are here having fun with the whole family,” Alberto’s mother, Diana Carbajal, said. “The weather tonight is nice – it feels like summer.”
That summer-like September evening brought out mobile shaved iced truck Kona Ice of McHenry County. Owner Sherry Ravagnie was there to help cool off the crowd, support healthy activity and donate a portion of the profits to the MEES PTO.
Josh Arnow, owner of The Bike Haven, 132 Cass St., provided bike checkups to students who wheeled up bicycles for routine maintenance including checking air pressure, making brake adjustments and aligning handlebars.
Eleven-year-old Emerich Parpart was the lone unicyclist at the Family Bike Night.
“I started learning how to ride about a month ago,” Parpart said, riding the one-wheeled apparatus with ease. “My grandma gave it to me for Christmas, and I rode the unicycle two hours a day for a week and saw some progress.”