School receives bicycles in slain student's memory

Woman's gift is donated for son killed in cafe

January 26, 2000|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

Fran Block lost her son nearly three years ago. To help preserve his memory, she has donated three mountain bikes in his name to Catonsville Center for Alternative Studies in Baltimore County.

Aaron Goodrich, Block's son, attended the school for two months about four years ago, where he learned about setting personal goals.

"Aaron loved this school," Block said this week, standing in the school's foyer, decorated with photos of canoe and spelunking trips that were part of the Adventure Club, a therapeutic program that encourages students to take risks with the help of friends and teachers.

Goodrich, 18, was one of three employees killed in an attempted robbery at a Washington, D. C., coffee shop in 1997. The man charged in the killings, Carl Derek Cooper, is scheduled to stand trial on murder and other charges April 10.

Block, 46, of Reisterstown, wanted to give something back to the Catonsville school in recognition for the work teachers and administrators do in helping students with learning disabilities and emotional problems. That work isn't always recognized by county officials who allocate money for the school, she said.

The three bikes were bought with money raised by the Bike Events Group, which organizes the annual Tour de Port family ride in Baltimore. They will be used in the Adventure Club program, said Principal Judith Edgar.

"We can really use these bikes," Edgar said. "Some of our kids don't have their own bikes. Some don't even know how to ride a bike. They've never been taught."

Edgar gets about $50,000 a year to buy books and computers for the school, which isn't enough to cover the cost of new bicycles. Although the school has about 20 bikes, they are not suited for use on dirt trails. Many are so old they can't be repaired, she said.

Arleen Moran, secretary for the Bike Events Group, said her children often rode with Goodrich on neighborhood streets. The group purchased the bikes from Horizon Cycles Inc., and hopes to contribute more to the Catonsville school, she said.

That's fine with Edgar and her students, some of whom got to view the new bikes during a brief ceremony in the school's gymnasium on Monday.

"They are awesome," said student Lauren Coffman, 16, of Catonsville. "Now we can do some biking on some real mountain trails."

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