Florence-area STEM students build and donate bikes for other kids ahead of Christmas

Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 8:36 PM EST
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FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - From building bikes to now blessing others, a group of Florence School District 1 students are now playing Santa for other kids right before Christmas.

For students like Javauntrea Quick, a fifth-grade student at North Vista Elementary, lessons that start at home are now showing up in the classroom and impacting others.

“Thank you, mom,” he said. “She taught me well, so thanks to my mom. If she didn’t teach me how I was today, I wouldn’t be building bikes for other people.”

After a semester-long project involving students enrolled in STEM and Automation Robotics Classes, students across the district built 48 bikes from scratch.

Program director Chris Rogers said the BMX bike build allows students to get the full scope of the STEM curriculum.

“We have presented them with bicycle kits where they’ve learned the engineering behind building a bike, the math that goes into, that they learned about bike safety and everything involved in a bike,” said Rogers. “And then they get to learn the greatest gift of all, after they’ve built these bikes and put them together, of giving them away to others.”

Across the Pee Dee, the handy boys and girls have now donated the bikes to their peers and other organizations like the Hope Village community, which helps women and children get back on their feet.

“There may be children that come in here that don’t even know how to ride a bike,” said Casea David, Director of Hope Village. “So having this opportunity for them, having the ability for their moms to be here and for them to share that special moment with them to teach them how to ride a bike; like that is what it’s about, That’s beautiful.”

Other community partners included Mount Zion AME Church, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and My Brother’s Keeper. The groups all expressed how much the bikes would help.

“The kids are our future and so those are future engineers those are future that’s going to contribute back to society,” said Teresa Moses, Chapter President-Elect of the Epsilon Chi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

“To see these young people in the spirit of giving and wanting to share, it means that they have been taught that there’s more important to give than to receive,” said Merritt Graves, pastor of Mount Zion AME Church.

“It’s fun where you can see that immediate impact of a family who actually is in need of a bike and watching kids’ face light up for Christmas, It gets no better than that,” said Shawn Ellerbe, Chapter President of the Chi Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

The STEM program will continue in the spring semester, which means more bikes will be built to allow more students to learn a new skill and continue giving back to others.