Six students at Port Elgin Regional School were the lucky winners of a new bike and helmet in the Bikes for Books program, a literacy initiative sponsored for the first time at the school by Westmorland Masonic Lodge # 44. The bike presentations were made at the school on Monday. Winners, shown here with Lodge members, are, from left to right: Westmorland Lodge member Colin Allen, Patrick Shipley, Schyler Goodwin, Mason Grand Master for NB Stephen Allen, Marissa LeFurgey, Molly Dixon, Clare Hesse Wood, Westmorland Lodge member Guy Trenholm. Missing from photo is Ethan Trenholm. LEBLANC PHOTO
PORT ELGIN, NB – Six students at Port Elgin Regional School went home very happy on Monday, after each of them won a bicycle and helmet in a new literacy initiative.
For the first time in the Tantramar area, students were encouraged to take part in the Bikes for Books initiative, sponsored by Westmorland Masonic Lodge # 44 in Port Elgin.
Some members of the Lodge were on hand at the school on Monday morning for the presentation of the bikes.
Grand Master of the Masons Grand Lodge of New Brunswick, Stephen Allen, a former resident of the Port Elgin area, talked about the Bikes for Books program.
“The way it works is, the children read books; and their teacher then verifies that they have read it. Then for every book they do read during the program, they get one ballot. All ballots are placed in a draw box and at the end of the six weeks the program is held, a name is drawn and that person wins a brand new bicycle and helmet,” he explained.
He added that lodge members decided to make the initiative open to grades three through five, with one bike being awarded to one boy and one girl in each of the three grades.
Allen noted that Westmorland Masonic Lodge #44 in Port Elgin decided to sponsor this program as a way of promoting both reading and physical fitness for children.
“The lodge feels this is a good way for children to exercise their bodies and their minds. Funds for purchasing the bicycles come from general fund raising initiatives. We are fortunate that the manufacturers of Huffy bicycles is supportive of this program so are able to purchase them at a good discount,” he said.
Allen noted that the program was first implemented in the US and over the past couple years was introduced in New Brunswick by Masons to schools in the St. George area.
PERS vice principal Christoph Becker said Monday that the school was very pleased to be part of the Bikes for Books program.
“We’re just estatic that we can do this (at PERS). Anything that encourages reading is what we want. It promotes some reading as well as physical exercise, and I think next year the participation will be even greater next year because now they realize what the prizes actually are – a new bike. But ultimately everybody wins with this initiative, because they are reading and learning,” he said.
Winners of the Bikes for Books include the following:
Grade 3: Ethan Trenholm and Molly Dixon
Grade 4: Patrick Shipley and Clare Hesse Wood
Grade 5: Marissa LeFurgey and Schyler Goodwin