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Happy wheels: Organizations help bring fleet of bikes to Winship Elementary

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Casey Nelson, (from left to right), Amin Alessa, Ayat Hayawi and Maynard Werre watch bikes roll in as they learn they will get to use the bikes in next year's physical education class at Winship Elementary School in Grand Forks on Friday, May 12, 2017. (Joshua Komer/Grand Forks Herald)2 / 3
Collin Schafer, a physical education teacher for Winship Elementary School in Grand Forks, talks Friday about the bikes that were purchased for students to ride during class. (Joshua Komer/Grand Forks Herald)3 / 3

Grand Forks students at Winship Elementary School will be pedaling away during physical education class.

The students' eyes lit up with excitement as Safe Kids Grand Forks and its partners rolled in 22 bicycles. They cheered as Safe Kids Coordinator Carma Hanson said they get to ride the new bikes during gym class.

Winship is the first school in Grand Forks to receive a fleet of bikes, which were purchased by Professional Learning Communities at Work, Grand Forks' Dakota Commercial and Development Co. and Community Contractors Inc.

The idea of bringing bikes into the classroom came from physical education teacher Collin Schafer, who initiated a program in Denver when he was a teacher there to bring bikes into the school system.

"We decided we wanted to get bikes into the schools and teach kids about riding bikes," he said. "I came here and wanted something for the kids here to do with bikes."

Schafer worked with Safe Kids to write a grant, but the sponsors offered to purchase the bikes, 55 helmets, equipment and a shed to store the bikes in. All they had to do was go to Scheels, where sales staff helped them pick out the bikes.

He said there are students at Winship who don't know how to ride a bike, but bringing bikes into the school could help them learn about bike safety and being active outdoors.

Seeing the excitement on the kids' faces when they saw the bikes is another reason he wanted to make his idea a reality in Grand Forks.

"They are going to have a blast," he said.

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

(701) 780-1248