Peruvian students receive bicycles to read books

Fourth graders Bonnie Gammon and Mason Childs stand Friday with the bikes they received as part of the Bikes for Books reading program sponsored by Dirigo Elementary School in Peru. Members of King Hiram Masonic Lodge 57 in Mexico donated 28 new bicycles. From left to right are Lodge Master TJ Williams and members Bill Richards, Les Gatchell, Dennis Newton and Bernard Frost. Twenty-eight students from kindergarten through fourth received “tickets” to read or be read, which earned them a bicycle. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

PERU — Twenty-eight new bikes were presented to students on Friday as part of the Books for Bikes program set up by Dirigo Primary School.

Students in kindergarten through fourth grade earn a ticket to read or be read to and each ticket increases their chances of receiving a bike, Principal Charlie Swan said. Eight CM2 students will receive bicycles on Thursday during their “mini-graduation” ceremony, he said.

The bikes were donated by King Hiram Masonic Lodge 57 in Mexico, which has been donating them for several years for the Books for Bikes program.

TJ Williams, master of Mexico’s King Hiram Masonic Lodge 57, speaks Friday with Cole Chamberlin, a kindergarten student at Dirigo Elementary School, who was awarded a bicycle for his achievements in reading. The Masons donated 28 new bikes for the school’s Bikes for Books program. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

“Evidence shows that schools participating in the reading program are seeing improvements in their students’ reading scores,” Lodge Master TJ Williams said. “Books enlighten, inspire, bring happiness and success, challenge our perspectives, and provide comfort in difficult times in our lives. Establishing a love of reading early in life is key,” he said.

Eight masons assembled the bikes and five were at school to present them to students when they arrived for lessons. Everyone must choose one and a helmet.

The Masonic Lodge is providing matching funds to Scout Troop 580 in Rumford to send Scouts to Camp Hinds in Raymond this year.

“So on the second Tuesday of the month, we will present a check for $2,000 for camp,” Williams said. Other past donations have been to the Larry LaBonte Recovery Center in Rumford and the Mexico Fire Department, he said.

Fourth graders Addilynn Cottle and Ava Webster choose bikes on Friday as part of Dirigo Elementary School’s Bikes for Books program in Peru. Mexico’s King Hiram Masonic Lodge 57 donated 28 bicycles to students who won “tickets” to read or be read to. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

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