Boardman Optimist Club gives away bicycles to contest winners

By Jordyn Grzelewski


“Be safe, not sorry.”

That’s the message that won Isabella Thornton, a fourth-grade student at St. Charles School a new bicycle Thursday.

The bike came from the Boardman Optimist Club, which asked fourth-graders at the five elementary schools located in the township to craft bike-safety signs.

Male and female overall winners were chosen, with Robinwood Lane Elementary student Ben Wang winning the top prize along with Isabella.

Members of the Optimist Club visited both schools Thursday to announce the winners and hand out prizes, including the two bicycles that went to first-place winners.

Runners-up at each school took home certificates and gift cards as prizes, and 10 winners received bicycle helmets from the township police department.

Police Sgt. Chuck Hillman, an Optimist Club member, explained that fourth grade is an ideal age to reinforce bike safety for children.

“Fourth, fifth and sixth grade is when a lot of kids start using their bikes on the road and in the neighborhoods,” he said.

With that new freedom comes responsibility, Hillman said, adding cyclists are always encouraged to wear helmets when they ride.

Speaking to an elementary classroom, Hillman told them, “Bicycling can be a lot of fun. But as you get older and start riding around cars and on the road, you really have to pay attention.”

The club coordinates several projects each year that serve township residents.

“The Optimist Club is here to help youth in the community,” said member Chester Horlick. He and club member Nancy Hildebrand helped give away the prizes.

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