Park students rally for bike ride
Students cross Ogden Avenue at Park as they finish their route. Thirty-five Park Junior High School students received a police escort around town April 29 to demonstrate one way to save gas by riding bikes to school. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 11, 2011 12:18AM
Earth Day came a week later for Park Junior High students, who wore green to school April 29, turned off lights and biked to two nearby schools.
Park’s Student Council and eighth-graders taking the science, technology, engineering and math elective planned a Wheel-In. The event encouraged students to seek alternative ways of getting to school by walking or using bikes, skateboards or in-line skates.
“We were off school for Earth Day (April 22) so we thought why not have something a week later,” said Daivon Hodges of La Grange, Student Council vice president.
“We decided to come up with the idea of supporting green efforts and putting the Wheel-In in the announcements,” said Daivon, who’s also taking the class.
The first warm, sunny day after a week of rain helped to boost Wheel-In participation, as well as research students conducted on the effects of gas engines producing carbon dioxide emissions.
The students chose projects promoting alternative transportation in conjunction with initiatives of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, which represents seven counties.
In one assignment, students chose 10 local destinations their families frequent and calculated distance, miles per gallon, the cost of gas and the carbon dioxide produced, said teacher Sydney Schuler.
One student, for example, found local trips or errands added up to 56 miles, cost $7.47 and produced 37.4 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions
“In almost every class, the idea came up for a bike rally,” said Schuler, who coordinated arrangements with police in LaGrange Park and La Grange for an escort and safe route.
Students with permission slips rode at 2:15 p.m. to Cossitt and Ogden Avenue elementary schools and returned to Park.
“It’s going to be great,” said seventh-grader Kevin Engstrom of Brookfield, who showed off green socks for the occasion and got ready for the rally.
Eighth-grader Brian Flynn of LaGrange Park agreed.
“It was really fun,” Brian said after the ride. “I think it changed a lot of kids’ minds about riding a bike to school instead of getting a ride.”