Students at Longmont’s Longs Peak Middle School build bikes for character, community

Eighth-graders Avien Castillo, left, and Jonuel Bonilla disassemble a bike together in the bike workshop on Wednesday. “I really like this class for the communication — it’s almost like a family that knows a lot about bikes,” Castillo said. ( Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer )

From the Daily Camera

At Longs Peak Middle School, students are getting their hands dirty in a classroom that looks more like a genuine bike shop than your standard junior high classroom.

These young bicycle engineers work on bikes day by day, and with the upcoming holiday season, giving back to the community is at the top of their curriculum.

Bicycle Longmont and the Kids Holiday Bike Program have partnered up with the middle school’s bicycle technician program for students to work on donated bikes for this year’s Kids Holiday Bike Giveaway in December.

The partnership adds another layer of altruism during this holiday season for a program that already aims to better the community. Through its unique method, Longs Peak Middle School gives attention to young men and women with a history of school failure — whether it be poor attendance, disengagement or behavioral problems.

“We really work on ourselves more than we work on bikes here in the bike shop. These students will share with you that this is more of a team collaboration in problem-solving and working together, and the bikes are just a venue for that to happen,” said Josh VanAuken, the instructional coach and director of the bike program at Longs Peak Middle School.

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