LIMESTONE, Maine — It’s said that reading can take you anywhere — well, maybe as far as your legs can pedal.
Second-graders at the Limestone Community School were given brand-new bikes on Friday, May 27, after completing a reading challenge put forth by members of Freemason Lodge 214; participating in the Bikes for Books challenge, second-graders read for 1,000 minutes between April 4 and May 27.
“[This challenge] gets them excited to read and it gives them a goal,” said second-grade teacher Kristie Adams. “This class has really shown a big interest in reading and they’ve really enjoyed their time.”
Organized by Worshipful Master Jon Poitras of Lodge 214, Limestone’s Freemasons purchased and assembled 18 bikes and helmets to match; they even fit each bike with a custom nameplate so the students knew which bike was theirs.
There were joyous shouts and celebratory squeals accompanied by fist-pumps and stationary jumping as the youngsters were presented their bikes.
Even 20 minutes later, after Freemasons helped each of the 18 students pick out a helmet, fit it correctly and fill out bicycle registration cards with the Limestone Police Department to help officers return the bikes if lost or stolen, a couple of students were still devoted to their new mantra of “I love this bike, I love this bike, I love this bike.”
“We do this for the kids — the look on their faces when they come out of the school, it just makes them happy,” Poitras said. His favorite moment of Bikes for Books came after he asked a couple of second-graders if all that reading was worth it. With huge smiles, students told Poitras it was worth every minute, and “that’s what made it worth it for me,” he said.
This is the second year that the Freemasons of Limestone have issued the reading challenge to LCS second-graders of Adam’s class.
The Bikes for Books program has been embraced by Freemason Lodges nationwide, but the small class numbers in Limestone made it possible for every student to be rewarded for their achievements. Limestone Freemasons raised approximately $500 to sponsor the Bikes for Books program, which was matched by the Grand Lodge of Maine.