Kids, teacher take 15k challenge

BILLY WATSON
Last updated 14:00 29/03/2014

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Tua Marina School held their annual beach day at the end of February, with the year 7 and 8 class conquering yet another bike ride to Whites Bay. School pupil Billy Watson tells us all about it. 

On Friday, February 28, the year 7 and 8 class from Tua Marina school conquered yet another bike ride to Whites Bay.

The annual beach day is a school tradition and the senior room receive the additional challenge of riding the 15 kilometres from school to the beach.

The challenge is optional but strongly encouraged by teacher, Kerry Wilkin.

For the last two years Avantiplus Blenheim have supplied a free tandem bike so that kids who are still developing their bike riding skills were able to complete the challenge with class teacher Mr Wilkin.

This means that all students can achieve the goal and feel part of the team and experience.

"It's all part of our philosophy of inclusiveness at Tua Marina. Any child can learn and succeed, it's about modifying the programme or being innovative in our approach. The tandem meant these kids achieved the same as their peers," Mr Wilkin says.

Owner of Avantiplus Blenheim Bill Mitchell they "love supporting community events".

"I think it is important for everyone to participate and join in in all activities. I know that the school is trusted with the tandem and if any harm is done to the bike, it is taken care of."

Mr Wilkin was training for a full two months this year, as last year he found riding the tandem slightly more challenging for a man of his age.

"It's pretty hard yakka biking up that hill, but seeing these kids achieve the same goal as their classmates made all the sweat, grunting and puffing worthwhile!" he says.

Pupils Laufofoga Ponesi, Braydon Pettigrew and Georgia Rose-Roach all took up the challenge of riding up the Whites Bay hill on the back of the tandem and all said that it was an awesome experience. Braydon, who went on the tandem last year as well, said that the ride was was fantastic.

"The bike went really fast along the road. I didn't have to pedal much because Mr Wilkin did most of it. I just put my feet up!"

Teacher aide Lorraine Regan says they encourage all pupils to take part in all school activities and the use of the tandem enabled some students who were developing their bike skills and road safety awareness to be included in our bike ride to Whites Bay.

Georgia rode from Blue Gum corner to the bottom of the Whites Bay Hill before swapping over with Laufofoga.

"I liked it because it went fast. I got to hide behind Mr Wilkin from the wind because it was very strong," Georgia says.

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- The Marlborough Express

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