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BMX team wows Greencastle students with tricks, teachings

October 13, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • FreeCycle Action Sports Team member Justin Cramer gives high-fives after performing Thursday for an assembly at Greencastle-Antrim Elementary School.
By Yvette May, Staff Photographer

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — Ear-splitting cheers and gravity-defying stunts aren’t usually associated with school assemblies. But, they were at Greencastle-Antrim Elementary School on Thursday.

Jay Rodriguez, team captain and owner of FreeCycle Action Sports Team of Adamstown, Pa., kept the crowd spellbound with a BMX performance – held in the gymnasium due to inclement weather.

Rodriguez and fellow BMX stuntman Justin Cramer of Lancaster, Pa., wowed 1,400 kindergarten through fifth graders with flips, tail whips and 540s while teaching lessons about bicycle safety, drugs and education.

“Rule No. 1 – wear your helmet every time you ride your bike. Rule No. 2 – stay drug free,” Rodriguez said. “The third rule is stay in school. If you want to be cool, stay in school.”

“It was awesome. It was one of the best assemblies I’ve ever seen,” Ainsley Kaiser, 10, said after the assembly.

Luke Montedoro, 9, a third-grader at the school, couldn’t stop talking about the assembly.

“I thought it was cool, and I don’t know anyone else that can do that,” Montedoro said.

Levi Bingaman, 8, a third-grader, rides BMX bikes.

“I can’t do stunts like them,” he said. “I really liked today, because I like BMX bikes and plus I thought it was pretty cool that they did those stunts and helped our school stay off drugs and stay in school.”

At a cost of $1,700, Greencastle Elementary Principal Chad Stover said he didn’t think the action-packed assembly was possible due to financial constraints.

But, with the support of the Greencastle Exchange Club, GA Cares and the G-A Elementary/Primary PTO, the students were mesmerized by the action-packed event.

“It was all by donation – no taxpayer money was used,” Stover said.

October is drug awareness month and that’s one reason Stover wanted to bring the BMX event and its message to Greencastle.

“Teachers can say it, parents can say it, but when professional athletes tell students to stay in school, be drug free and set goals – I think it has a little more impact. I really think this will make a lasting impression on the students,” he said.

Stover joined seven teachers who laid down on the gym floor as Rodriguez soared into the air, safely clearing all eight participants to the students’ squeals of delight.

As the father of two daughters ages 1 and 4, Rodriguez loves the thrill of performing BMX stunts, but he takes his message seriously.

“I want them to live the best, positive future that they can. The world that we live in is a very, very negative world  … if I can share a little bit of positiveness to the kids at my show, I have a pretty good career,” he said.

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