Reading and riding: Coral Canyon Elementary students hit books in hopes of winning new bikes

Coral Canyon Elementary students read books in the school's library. A dozen bikes will be given away next month as part of the "Bikes for Books" program sponsored by the St. George Masonic Lodge, St. George, Utah, April 2018 | Photo courtesy of Coral Canyon Elementary School, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY — Since the school year started last fall at Coral Canyon Elementary, its students have been gearing up for the chance to win one of a dozen bicycles to be given away near the end of the school year.

All the kids have to do is read a book and fill out an entry form, and they get to put an entry ticket with their name on it into one of several designated “Bikes for Books” collection containers located throughout the school building.

Suzie Christensen, computer lab teacher at Coral Canyon Elementary, poses with two of the bikes to be given away next month as part of the “Bikes for Books” program sponsored by the St. George Masonic Lodge, St. George, Utah, April 2018 | Photo courtesy of Coral Canyon Elementary School, St. George News

“The more books you read, the more chances to win,” said Suzie Christensen, the school’s computer lab teacher, who has been helping promote the program. “The containers are all pretty full at this point in the year.”

The Bikes for Books program, which organizers say is the first of its kind to be sponsored by a Masonic Lodge in Utah, is made possible by the sponsorship of St. George Masonic Lodge No. 33.

David Reinitz, the St. George Masonic Lodge’s senior warden, said it was Christensen that originally proposed the idea to the local lodge after hearing her stepfather tell her about a similar program conducted by his own hometown Masonic Lodge in Madison, Maine.

“My stepdad Ronald Moody is a member of the Masonic Lodge back home and they have sponsored this program for many years,” Christensen said. “He began telling me about it, as they had just given out the bikes right before he and Mom came out to visit. I thought it sounded like an awesome program.”

Tickets representing books read by Coral Canyon Elementary students, as part of the “Bikes for Books” program sponsored by the St. George Masonic Lodge, St. George, Utah, April 2018 | Photo courtesy of Coral Canyon Elementary School, St. George News

After presenting the idea to the St. George Masonic Lodge, members of the group agreed to sponsor the program, which costs approximately $100 for each prize, including an age-appropriate bike, a new helmet and a T-shirt for each recipient.

A total of 12 bikes — for one boy and one girl in each of Coral Canyon’s six grade levels — will be awarded at a school assembly May 18, Christensen said.

Coral Canyon students have about five more weeks to read as many books as they can before the incentive program’s May 11 deadline, Christensen added.

Reinitz said the St. George Masonic Lodge not only plans to continue the program again at Coral Canyon next year, but they also hope to add at least two and possibly three more Washington County schools, including Hurricane Elementary and Santa Clara Elementary. Lodge members have already collected more than $3,500 toward establishing and continuing the program, he said.

“We believe the program will grow far beyond these projections,” Reinitz added, thanking the lodge members and other donors for their generous support.

“Our contribution to these children is undeniable,” Reinitz wrote in a announcement sent to fellow lodge members. “No doubt, most will be excited about their winning a new two-wheeler. But long after the bicycles have been outgrown, rusted in the rain, or forgotten in a crowded garage, we Masons will have given the gift of enlightenment, the joy of reading, the seeking of knowledge in the written word. This contribution to our community is totally consistent with Masonic teachings.”

Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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