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Lincoln Elementary students host bike a thon Thursday

Union photo

Sidney Merchel, 2, rode her trike along the sidewalk in front of Lincoln Elementary on Thursday, Sept. 19. Merchel was supporting her older brother and other elementary students who were riding bikes to raise money for a new playground.
Union photo Sidney Merchel, 2, rode her trike along the sidewalk in front of Lincoln Elementary on Thursday, Sept. 19. Merchel was supporting her older brother and other elementary students who were riding bikes to raise money for a new playground.
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WASHINGTON — Hundreds of Lincoln Elementary students took Thursday afternoon off to ride their bikes and walks laps around the school. They were all participating in the annual bike a thon to raise money for a new playground.

Principal Teresa Beenblossom said the fundraiser has been going on for at least 20 years. All 357 students, 225 of whom were on bikes, participated. The fundraiser is organized by the parent teacher group (PTG) and is their biggest of the year.

This year, the goal was to raise money to go toward the purchase of a new playground. Beenblossom said the current playground facility is about 22 years old and in need of replacement. The new playground will cost about $170,000 and have a soft surface instead of the wood chips.

Usually the kids raise about $10,000 with this fundraiser, she said, and have already received a $1,000 grant from Walmart to help support the purchase. The PTG is looking to have all the fundraising complete as soon as possible, hopefully within the next two years.

Beenblossom said getting the kids involved with the fundraising helps them become invested in the project. The kids being able to have something they can point to and know they helped to fundraise for that will help hundreds of people creates a sense of ownership and pride, she said.

The pride and excitement could be seen on the kids faces as they rode by checkpoints along the way. For every 20 laps a student rode their bike or for ever 10 they walked, they received a prize. Marcy Stanford, a para for intervention students, was at one of those spots.

Standard said she felt the kids not only learned about fundraising, but about physical activity as well. Students who did not have a helmet were treated to free ones and everyone listened to a presentation on bike safety. This fundraiser is something they look forward to every year, she said.

“All day long it’s hard to hold their attention,” she said with a laugh.