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The rain, wind and unseasonably cold temperatures didn't damper the spirits of 85 fifth grade students from Blackfoot and Fort Hall as they each wheeled away a brand new 21-speed Diamond Back mountain bike Tuesday evening, a reward from Phil Meador Toyota for having perfect attendance this past school year.
Qualifying students (and their families) from Blackfoot, Fort Hall and American Falls attended a barbecue and awards program at the dealership at 1437 Yellowstone Ave. in Pocatello where they were presented with their bike and a helmet. The number of bikes awarded to local elementary schools were: Stoddard, 24; Stalker,14; Groveland,12; Wapello, 8; Fort Hall, 2, and Ridge Crest. 25.
This is the second year Phil Meador Toyota has offered the bike incentive to fifth graders in the area. The rules are simple: no tardies, no leaving school early and no missed days for any reason throughout the school year.
Kyson Van Orden, a fifth grade graduate of Ridge Crest Elementary and bike recipient, said it wasn't too tough having perfect attendance. "I did get sick, but luckily it was always on the weekend," he said with a huge grin on his face as he checked out his new bike.
Jason Meador, general manager of the dealership, said "Good attendance at this age is so important and we are so happy the schools have embraced this program."
Meador said company officials hope to continue the bike program as long as finances for it are available.
In all, 343 bikes will be awarded this year (compared to 300 last year). Students from Pocatello will receive their bikes on June 12.