BERLIN – Buckingham Elementary School has a new bike rack thanks to students at Worcester Technical High School.
Teenagers in Worcester Tech’s welding program built a new bike rack to accommodate the growing number of kids in Berlin who ride their bikes to Buckingham. The bike rack is just one of several community projects Worcester Tech students have been able to help with.
“They like taking the knowledge they get in the classroom and applying it,” said Rick Stephens, Worcester Tech’s welding instructor.
Deshon Purnell, assistant principal at Buckingham Elementary School, said officials there have always encouraged students to ride their bikes to school because of Buckingham’s location in downtown Berlin.
“It’s unique, being in town,” he said. “It’s neat to see the kids riding their bikes to school.”
So many students have taken advantage of the option, however, that Buckingham’s lone bike rack couldn’t accommodate their bicycles. As a result, Purnell reached out to Stephens.
Stephens, whose students have done various community projects in the past and are currently working on something for the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, was quick to agree. He and his students measured the school’s existing bike rack created a design for a new one. They even took note of Buckingham’s Bucky Bear mascot and green and yellow school colors.
It wasn’t long before the juniors and seniors in Worcester Tech’s welding program created a rack capable of holding more than 20 bicycles and featuring a green and yellow bear decoration. Stephens said projects like this one give his students a chance to take the basic welding skills they’ve learned and put them to use on a real project.
Purnell said Buckingham officials were thrilled that one of their fellow schools had been able to help them out.
“We had a need and reached out to our fellow school and they were more than willing to help us out,” Purnell said, noting that the teens had even customized the bike rack to make it unique to Buckingham.
Students in Stephens’ class said they enjoyed the opportunity to do hands on work and value the fact that they’re receiving career training as high schoolers.