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Perfect: Bicycle giveaway celebrates school attendance
Eisenhower Elementary bike winners

As Great Bend Schools concluded the 2020-2021 school year on Wednesday, May 26, school officials and community members joined a collective chorus of gratitude for the ability to complete a challenging school year with buildings remaining open and students learning on-site. Again in 2021, a group of dedicated community members chose to recognize students with “awesome” attendance through the annual Perfect Attendance Bike Program.

Donations were used to purchase 46 bicycles, a record number for the program, to be given away at USD 428’s five elementary schools. In order to be in the drawing, students had to have perfect attendance and no tardies for the school year, said Karen Shaner, program organizer. 

“The challenges faced this school year did not deter many dedicated students,” Shaner said. “We would like to thank all the students for their hard work and persistence in their education. That also includes a big thank you to the  families and caretakers who make it possible for students to be on time and to not miss out on a day of learning.” 

The program is in its ninth year, thanks to the generous support of the Midwest Energy Community Fund, Walmart, and a lengthy list of community donors. Devin, Breanne and Colton Schloemer had the task of picking up all of the bicycles and delivering them to the schools with the help of a USD 428 team.

This year, 69 elementary students in USD 428 qualified for perfect attendance.

“This is an amazing program that honors many well-deserving students,” said Khris Thexton, USD 428 Superintendent. “We know the past year presented extra challenges, but students and families stepped up to keep their children learning in school and remotely when needed. We are fortunate to have such a great program organized by Karen Shaner and generous community sponsors to celebrate this notable accomplishment.”

Helmets, too

In 2021 the Great Bend Pilot Club joined the effort and provided helmets for each of the winners. Since 1992, Pilot International has focused its philanthropic efforts in the area of Brain Safety and Health. May is Brain Health Awareness Month, and the local Pilot Club members are working to boost awareness and habits that support brain health.

The winners 

Each elementary school awarded nine bikes. Winners were drawn from all who received “awesome attendance” in the 2020-2021 school year. 

2021 Bike Winners Include:

• Eisenhower Elementary – MaKinzie, Brooklyn, Cade, Connor, Ellie, Jamison, Karys, Emma, and Tristian

• Jefferson Elementary – Faith, Trista, Kade, Branson, Corbyn, Ellie, Kamri, Callan, and Kristian

• Park Elementary – Dariel, Kinley, Enrique, Alexander, Devin, Owen, Kade, Petyon, and Cameron

• Lincoln Elementary – Darrien, Jace, David, Dustin, Hailie, Joanna, Makenzie, and Daniel

• Riley Elementary - Rosa, Jayden, Olivia, Arleth, Alexis, Justin, Diego Tilly, Cristian, and Justin

Questions about the Perfect Attendance Bike Program can be directed to the USD 428 District Education Center at 620-793-1500.