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On your bikes!

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Tyring themslves out: Jade Malo, left, Amber McHugh, and Chloe Smith

Sofie Schrum imagined building a bike would be hard but bravely took up a wrench for needy children.

To the ten-year-old’s surprise the exercise turned out to be “actually kind of fun”.

She was one of approximately 60 students at BHS involved in the project.

They built 12 bikes for Toys for Tots, an annual Christmas programme run by Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty in support of the Coalition for the Protection of Children.

“It was actually exciting, it wasn’t too hard,” Sofie said. “I thought it was a really good opportunity. The hardest part was putting on the training wheels, because they wouldn’t stay balanced and stable.”

Year 11 students Sophie Watson, Madison Quig, Yulia Isaeva and Grace McNamara organised the project for Round Square Day, an annual community service day at BHS.

International Baccalaureate and Primary 6 students were then given the task of building the bikes. The money to buy the necessary kits came from family and friends in exchange for helping KBB pick up garbage from various places around the island.

Julie Butler, BHS’s communications manager, graduated from the Pembroke school in 1993.

“This wasn’t something we would have ever done back then,” she said. “It was amazing to see the girls with the wrenches in their hands and the instruction books out, figuring out what they were doing.

“They got their hands dirty. They obviously enjoyed it and got something out of it. From listening to them I think the teamwork was a big aspect of it.”

Emma Butterfield 9, liked that the project had a charitable aspect.

“The most important thing we learnt today was how to build a bike and to do community service and help other people without expecting anything back,” she said.

Peter Dunne, president of the Bermuda Bicycle Association, was drafted in for his expertise.

“They had to put on the front wheel, handle bars, seat post and pedals,” he said. “All of the groups had a few basic tools and basically had to get everything in place and secured. It was definitely a good chance to have a hands-on experience with assembling a mechanical device.

“The younger students were eager to get into it while the older students were far more studied, wanting to check the instructions. I told them to throw out the printed directions and just figure it out. At the end I checked over each bike and there were very few issues. It was quite an accomplishment given that this was a completely new task for all of them.”

The Year 11 girls suggested the project, having built bikes themselves for needy children, at a Round Square conference they attended in California this year.

“We were at the Cedar Lake Camp in Big Bear,” said Yulia. “We weren’t allowed any electronics. It allowed us to bond with everyone.”

Added Madison: “It was really fun. It was an opportunity to explore the service aspect of Round Square and help out the community. We also got to have fun and hang out with our friends and meet new people.”

Sophie said the best part was seeing the children receive the bikes.

“They came in at the end and we gave the bikes to them,” she said. “Some of them didn’t know how to ride a bike.”

Wheelie good!: Eve Van De Weg, left, and Sofie Schrum, with their assembled bike
Nuts and bolts: Grace Mcfadden working on a bike
Round Square Day: Saria Robinson (front) and Jessica Swain (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Pedal power: Saria Robinson, front, and Jessica Swain for the Round Square Day, an annual community service day at BHS (Photographs by Akil Simmons)
<p>What do Round Square do?</p>

A worldwide network of 160 schools in 40 countries.

Its aim is to nurture leadership skills and prepare students to be global citizens through internationalism, democracy, environmentalism, adventure, leadership and service.

BHS is the only Round Square school on the island.