Jeremy Wickenheiser is the Science Teacher & Bike Club Sponsor for Denver School of Science and Technology: Green Valley Ranch HS. Below Jeremy chronicles his experiences providing an array of first time experiences for the these high school students. Trips for Kids Denver/Boulder is proud to be partnered with DSST!
This week a number of milestones occurred with our cycling program at DSST, most important of which was our first mountain bike ride of the season. We are extremely fortunate to have the support of Trips for Kids and this ride, in addition to the upcoming mountain bike rides, would not be possible without their help and in particular the guidance and leadership of Andy Brannon. For all ten students this was their first time EVER mountain biking and it was awesome to see how far each student progressed throughout the day both with their skills and confid
ence. We had one student, Ana, who was very cautious and definitely intimidated by the first downhill of the day. But, the whole group did a great job encouraging her and it was inspiring to see all of the student chanting her name as she came down that first hill. When all was said and done, the students had complete a seven mile ride and were clearly still looking to ride more. It has become clearer with each ride that we complete that each student has seen a dramatic improvement in their fitness level. This truly demonstrates the power of what we have undertaken with this cycling program, as not only are students becoming healthier and more fit, they have found a place where exercise and enjoying the outdoors is cool.
We also held our second nutrition/cooking session of the spring with the help of Vivian Sherman, former DSST teacher and culinary extraordinaire, and the students learned about the importance of whole grains while also learning to read a recipe and make whole wheat pancakes with blueberries and bananas from scratch. There was an increase in attendance from the first session and it was clear that the word had spread that cooking (and eating) is fun since fifteen students attended this time around. Two distinct moments really stick out from this session, the first being a student cracking an egg for the first time and the second was watching the teamwork required to flip a Mickey Mouse shaped pancake (it took four people J). When you stop and think, it is interesting what we take for granted, such as knowing how to crack and egg, but when you step back and think about it when and how did you learn how to crack and egg? Each and every day I am inspired by what the students accomplish and I am proud to be a part of this program. I can’t wait to see how each of them will serve as the catalyst for change in their community, as they truly are role models for their peers and adults alike.