- Sponsorship -

A Boost for Bicycle Safety, with Cheers

West Elementary School second-grader Max Troche plans to wear his brand new helmet when he rides his green and black bike this spring.

Kim Hernden, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital injury prevention specialist, gets the fit just right for second-grader Yulian Merced

“I’m excited because the helmet I have hurts my head,” Max said.

Thanks to a donation from Hudsonville Rocket Cheer, a program for girls in first through eighth grades, he is one of 520 kindergarten through fourth-grade students at West who have brand-new bicycle helmets.

Along with the headgear, they received helmet fittings from Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital representatives, who led education sessions on bike safety. Students learned how, when and why to wear bike helmets.

In 2016, of nine children admitted to the hospital because of bike accidents, only two were wearing helmets, said Kim Hernden, DeVos Children’s Hospital injury prevention specialist.

West Elementary students signed a thank-you card for the helmets’ donors, the Hudsonville Rocket Cheer program

Britni Schipper, director and owner of Hudsonville Rocket Cheer, said the program hosts a fundraising event every year. “We wanted the girls to learn more than just the sport of cheer,” she said. “By collecting funds, the girls learned to come together as a team to be able to give back to our community.”

Schipper and her assistant director are both emergency room nurses at Spectrum Health, so keeping children safe is “near and dear to our hearts,” she added.

West Elementary physical education teacher Shani Padding helped share information on bike safety during the fitting session. “It’s been fun for me to see the kids being excited about being safe,” she said.


Article on Bicycle Helmet Safety

Second-graders (from left) Crystal Rios, Lyric McPhee and Nuru Nunda play a bicycle safety game

Jen Wilson, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital child life specialist, fits second-grader Claire Wierenga with a helmet

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.


Good behavior encouraged at home

For students learning from home, positive behavior rewards are still possible...

Discovering bugs by tying flies

Northview’s coordinator of outdoor experiences, a fly-fishing aficionado, used the sport to teach elementary students about macroinvertebrates and making their own flies...

Pen pals build bonds during remote learning

How does a teacher create get-to-know-you opportunities for her new class of third-grade distance learners?

Have books, will deliver

To make sure virtual students still have access to books, this middle school media clerk built her own online platform for the library, created a contactless book pick-up at the school and is delivering books to students at their homes...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Pivoting from caretaker to virus tracker

Before Wyoming Public Schools switched to fully remote learning, registered nurse Amy Kamphuis spent the majority of her days tracking COVID-19 data to keep up with positive cases and students and staff who are quarantined...

Babysitting an apple

Ninth-graders wrote apple adventures during the weeklong “35 Ways to Babysit an Apple” project in English teacher Jeremy Schnotala’s class. The writing project inspires creative narratives and lots of drama...

Class of 2021 has ‘test-optional’ choice when applying for college

Most schools in the state of Michigan have become SAT/ACT-optional for the Class of 2021 for admission purposes. There are, however, pros and cons for students...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU