Inspiring Faith and Hope in Our Inner-City Schools
Sixth graders of St. Elizabeth Elementary School first gasped then cheered when they entered the gymnasium the morning of Aug. 20 and saw rows of 52 shiny new bicycles.
It all started a year earlier when Christina Adams, 17, of Danville came to the school and talked to the then fifth graders about bicycle safety and her passion for bikes. She picked St. Elizabeth because her family is active in St. Joan of Arc Parish, the home parish of Mrs. Mary Pult, school principal.
Christina, a junior and member of the mountain bike club at San Ramon Valley High School, is working toward her Girl Scout Gold Award (equivalent to Eagle Scout for boys). She’s been a Girl Scout since kindergarten.
As summer vacation began, Christina sent treats to the class and told them she was working on a surprise.
When members of the St. Joan of Arc parish learned that Christina wanted to give a new bicycle to every St. Elizabeth sixth grader, donations poured in. Pastor Associate Bob Cummings helped coordinate the drive, and more than $7,000 was collected.
In addition to a new girl’s or boy’s bicycle, each student received a safety helmet and a goody bag containing a bicycle pump and lock, repair kit, spare tube, water bottle, snacks and a safety brochure.
After helmets were fitted and adjusted, Christina read through the bicycle rules and safety tips. The kids then picked out their bikes and headed to the playground.
For some, it’s the first bicycle they’ve ever owned.
For others, this was their first time to ride a bike. With the help of Christina and Oakland Police Officers Richard Kane, Mario Martinez and Darrell Kelly, they quickly learned to balance and pedal on their own.
As the kids rode round and round and round, St. Elizabeth’s playground became a scene exuberance, joy and freedom — and a wonderful example of parish/school partnership — thanks to the initiative of one caring young lady, Christina Adams.
Mrs. Pult, who was in on the surprise, recalled one of the day’s many special moments. Student Elaine Truong told her that she and her sister had bikes, but since her grandfather’s had been stolen, Elaine was going to give her new bike to him.
Click here to read a report of this event that appeared in the Aug. 21 issue of the Oakland Tribune.
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When I was young and attended Saint James, it was a place of peace and nourishment for me, so I am sending you a small donation to help you carry out this Saint James tradition. I know you will use these funds to carry out the spirit of the school and help some needy children.
Cabrini was definitely my home away from home. It has played a tremendous role in the woman I am today. My teachers always pushed me to be all that I was able to be.
I am grateful for the education that my children earned here. I have many fond memories of the children I taught, and every so often I see one of them who reminds me of a special event. All these memories I will forever cherish.