"What measures 20 inches, is hot pink and lime green, and has the word 'Trouble' splashed across its frame? It's the 1,000th bike that was donated to a deserving community member, thanks to the work of students in the Del Valle Bicycle Repair Program."
That's how Livermore school district officials recapped the special presentation on Sept. 18 during which the milestone bicycle was given to Kids Bike Lane for distribution to a youngster in need of a new bike.
The program at Del Valle Continuation High School has grown from an after-school activity six years ago into a regular school session that has trained 125 students on bicycle mechanics to date.
Paul Grasseschi, founder of the program, said the underlying philosophy is to "take something that doesn't work, something someone else tossed out, and make it useful again."
"This program teaches students critical thinking and problem solving, and gives them a chance to work with their hands. Even more, it teaches them how to put other people before themselves," said Grasseschi.
Spencer Rodrigues, an 11th-grader at Del Valle, spoke on behalf of the students in the program during the event. Representatives from American Legion Post 237, Knights of Columbus, Kids Bike Lane and Bike Angels United joined the celebration -- which concluded with a tour of the Del Valle Bike Shop, a classroom that resembles the professional repair room of a bike shop, officials said.
"Beyond the practical learning taking place with this program, our students also learn that there are people in our community in need who do not have a means of transportation to get to school or a job. Our students provide this independence for them," Del Valle principal Erik Taylor said.
Superintendent Kelly Bowers, of Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District, added, "I'm incredibly proud of our staff at Del Valle for their commitment to students and for continuously looking for innovative ways to engage them in learning while fostering a heart of service."