Masons deliver bikes for reading competition
September 5, 2012
By Sebastian Moraga
The girl at Snoqualmie Elementary School saw the bicycles arrive at her school and jumped with excitement.
The two bicycles had arrived. Neither was for her, but it did not matter.
The scene repeated itself at Cascade View Elementary School, when the girl at the library looked at the two bicycles and confessed, “I want that black one.”
The girls in question left fifth grade behind a few years back — one was Michelle Pearlstein, secretary at Snoqualmie Elementary and the other was Susan Head, librarian at Cascade View.
“I love this,” said freemason Mark Goodwin, who delivered half of the bicycles purchased by the North Bend Unity Freemasons Lodge. “I absolutely love doing this.”
The lodge raises the money from members and from donations to a Bikes For Books account at Sterling Savings in North Bend, and buys the bicycles from Single Track in North Bend. They donate two bikes to each elementary school in North Bend and Snoqualmie. Schools use the bicycles as incentive for children to read.
Goodwin delivered the bikes to the Snoqualmie schools. Two other Masons made the trip to the North Bend schools.
“This gives every kid a chance,” said Mason Jonathan Seaton.
At Cascade View, students have to read 20 minutes for 20 days per month. The two students who read the most get the bikes.
“The schools introduce the bikes into the reading program as an incentive to read more,” Goodwin said.
Brandon Schmidt, store manager at Single Track, joked about his days in school, while he loaded the bikes into Goodwin’s Truck.
“If they had this when I was in school,” he said, smiling, “I would be a lot smarter when it came to book learning.”
In 2008, the lodge started the campaign with North Bend and Opstad elementary schools. In 2009, the two Snoqualmie elementary schools came aboard.
The bikes get new owners in the spring, near the end of the school year.
“We get them delivered before the first day of the school so they can put them on display and the kids see them and get excited right from the beginning,” Goodwin said. “And the new kids to the school who don’t know about the program, they can start asking questions.”
Ten months later, they get their bikes, if they read enough.
“They are so happy to have a bike,” Pearlstein said. “Their faces are so cute you can just bite them.”