School, bicycle business create partnership focusing on health, safety

Education Notebook

December 23, 2007|By John-John Williams IV

Northfield Elementary has joined Race Pace Bicycles in a partnership that will emphasize safety and good health at the Ellicott City school.

"It promotes exercise, fitness, and it is environmental," said Nancy Holmwood, the school's Gifted-and-Talented Program resource teacher and business-partner liaison.

Northfield approached Race Pace Bicycles at the request of the school's PTA, which noticed that many parents frequented the business, which has several stores in the area, including one in Ellicott City.

"They [Race Pace Bicycles] were very receptive toward the idea," Holmwood said.

The partnership is a likely fit at Northfield.

"On any given day, our bicycle racks are full," Holmwood said. "If more kids start riding their bikes to school, we will get another bike rack."

Northfield is noticing the benefits of the partnership. Representatives of Race Pace Bicycles came to the school's craft fair and set up a bicycle safety station.

"They were making sure that seats were the right height and that the brakes worked," Holmwood said.

With the partnership in its infancy, school officials are excited about the possibilities.

There are tentative plans to pursue a bike-to-school program, which would require parent volunteers to monitor stretches of bicycle paths before and after school.

"There are many children who live close enough that they can ride their bicycle, but, parents are somewhat reluctant to have their children go out without supervision," Holmwood said. "Some of these areas are very isolated."

There is also talk of employees of the business attending the Northfield school carnival in April. The notion of a bicycle parade is being discussed.

"That's a real partnership," Holmwood said.

Leadership push

Edmund Evans, the principal at Long Reach High School, hopes that a new club and a new partnership will prompt more of his students to pursue leadership opportunities.

The Interact Club encourages leadership, academic achievement and community service, Evans said. More than 60 students have joined the club, he said.

The group dovetails with the school's new partnership with Sunrise Rotary Club of Ellicott City.

"They [Sunrise Rotary Club] are pretty sophisticated," Evans said. "They do a lot to help the community."

Diane McAllister, a Gifted-and-Talented Program resource teacher and one of the leaders of the Long Reach Renaissance program, is the Interact Club's adviser.

"We are primarily working with kids in the National Honor Society and kids who want to be leaders," Evans said.

Candidate drops out

Ruth Haxton Huffman of Clarksville, one of eight school board candidates, has withdrawn from consideration, said Betty Nordaas, county election administrator.

Huffman is a stay-at-home mother of two who works as a substitute teacher.

The withdrawal deadline was Dec. 13.

Sun reporter Larry Carson contributed to this article.

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