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PERFECT ATTENDANCE: 2022 bike giveaways recognize student achievements
Nine students at Jefferson Elementary School had perfect attendance for the entire year and were recognized Monday. They are, from left: Ellie Bretz, Breanna Hubbard, Rowley Burkes, Branson Holinde, Hailie Estes, Treyton Holinde, Zander Holinde, Max Ketch and Luke Karst. A drawing was held and six of the nine won bicycles that were donated by a community group to encourage attendance. Later, a Jefferson employee volunteered to buy bikes for the other three. - photo by photos by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune
Members of the Great Bend Pilot club fit bicycle winners with helmets. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

With the last day of classes quickly approaching, Great Bend USD 428 elementary schools have begun the annual tradition of recognizing students who achieved perfect attendance with no tardies during the year. Those who met that goal are entered in drawings to win bicycles.

The first drawing was held Monday at Jefferson Elementary School. Karen Shaner and Jane Isern were on hand to represent the community group that sponsors the initiative by purchasing bicycles. Superintendent Khris Thexton was also present.

Jefferson Principal Adam Niedens kicked off an all-school assembly Monday afternoon by reading a message from the sponsors of the Perfect Attendance Bike Drawing.

“The students have stepped up to the challenges of grade school and have now completed another successful school year. Congratulations!”

Niedens thanked the “generous donors who make possible this special day,” as well as the Great Bend Pilot Club, whose members will furnish every bike winner with a helmet. He also thanked the USD 428 maintenance staff for handling the pickup and delivery of bikes to the five schools.

“We would like to thank all the students for your hard work and dedication during the school year,” a statement from Shaner read. “We would also like to thank those who make it possible for the students to be on time and not miss out on a day of learning.”

Monday’s winners

Nine students with perfect attendance received certificates Monday at Jefferson Elementary and six had their names drawn for the bike giveaway. Winners were Ellie Bretz, third grade; Rowley Burkes, first grade; Branson Holinde, fifth grade; Treyton Holinde, fourth grade; Breanna Hubbard, fourth grade; and Max Ketch, third grade. The other three, Hailie Estes, sixth grade; Zander Holinde, first grade; and Luke Karst, fifth grade, are also getting bikes after Sheree Marshall, a  teacher assistant at the school, agreed to make up the difference.

More drawings will be held this week and next at Eisenhower, Lincoln, Park, and Riley schools. The last day of school is Wednesday, May 25.

The tradition continues

This marked the 10th year for the Perfect Attendance Bike Drawing; the first one was in 2013 when each of the five schools receive one boy’s bike and one girl’s bike. Shaner and her husband Dale wanted to offer an incentive to encourage students to make it to school every day on time. They organized a group of friends that put the idea into action. The list of donors has grown over the years and this year the group will give away 27 bicycles.

Donors who made the 2021-2022 bicycle drawing possible include: Jerry Ney/Cropworks; Marmies Auto Group; Larry Kutina, DDS and Anne Kutina; Dr. Perry Smith and Krista Smith; Mark and Leslie Mingenback; Joe and Loretta Southard; Isern and Carpenter Law; Dr. William King; Watkins Calcara Chtd.; Craig and Karl Smith; Hiss Sherman Wealth Management; Great Bend Children’s Clinic; Central Plains Security; Gregg and Maggie Reinhardt; Stueder Contractors; Eldridge Fencing; Ron and Kathy Straub; Gerald and Glenna Achatz; Doris Spray; Bauer, Pike, Bauer, Wary & Carroll; Dr. Tom Vernon; First Kansas Bank; Office Products Incorporated; Kan Equip; The Great Bend Cooperative Association; Farmers Bank and Trust; Country Veterinary Associates/William Niederee D.V.M.; Francis Financial Services; Midwest Energy Community Fund; Dr. Jeffrey Brozek and Rhonda Brozek; Dale and Karen Shaner; Sheree Marshall; and Walmart.