Friday, May 1, was a special day for the elementary students at the Exeter-Milligan school. It was a day of combined fun and learning for the kindergarten through sixth graders.
The morning started with a special bike safety video and helmet fitting. The students were invited to bring their bikes to school and all of the grades met at the Exeter site for a bike rodeo.
Junior high and high school members of the FCCLA marked out an eight station bike rodeo on the elementary playground and some of the street that was closed off. The older students practiced at each station after they were ready.
When it was time for the rodeo to begin the students were divided up into eight groups and traveled between the different stations. The bicycle inspection station was manned by village marshal's Mark McFarland and Brian McFarland. Other stations included riding around cones, navigating curves and stopping quickly.
Despite the cool, damp weather the students enjoyed the event. Prior to the rodeo, the kindergarten, first and second graders were treated to a bicycle safety session with Natalie Kingston from Public Health Solutions. On Friday the third, fourth, fifth and sixth graders also had a brief safety session and both groups witnessed the melon drop. Kingston dropped a small watermelon with a bicycle helmet on it and then without the helmet. The students got a first hand look at how a helmet can protect their head.
The event was orchestrated by the No Child Left on their Behind program through a grant received by the Exeter community. Members of the community as well as Exeter-Milligan faculty and staff volunteered their time to coordinate the program. The bike rodeo kit was provided by State Farm Insurance Company.
Through the grant monies, the program funded a helmet program for Kindergarten, first, second and third graders. Students were able to buy good quality helmets at a greatly reduced price. The funds raised will go to purchasing helmets for each incoming kindergarten class.
As one of the final parts of the program students in kindergarten through sixth grade who ride their bikes to school with their helmets on will receive a sticker each time and after they have collected enough stickers will be rewarded with a sports equipment prize.
The goal of the No Child Left on their Behind program is to promote more physical activity among our children and our communities. After the field day event, participants in the bike rodeo received sports activity prizes purchased with grant funds as well as prizes donated by Black Hills Energy and Army National Guard prizes donated by Zac Hartmann.