Fourth grade students Bonnie Gammon and Mason Childs stand Friday with the bikes they received in the Bikes for Books reading program sponsored by Dirigo Elementary School in Peru. Members of King Hiram Masonic Lodge 57 of Mexico donated 28 new bikes. From left are Lodge Master TJ Williams and members Bill Richards, Les Gatchell, Dennis Newton and Bernard Frost. Twenty-eight students in grades prekindergarten through four received “tickets” for reading or being read, earning them a bike. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times


Fourth graders Addilynn Cottle and Ava Webster pick out bikes Friday as part of Dirigo Elementary School’s Bikes for Books program in Peru. King Hiram Masonic Lodge 57 of Mexico donated 28 bikes to students who earned “tickets” for reading or being read to. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

TJ Williams, master of King Hiram Masonic Lodge 57 of Mexico, talks Friday with Dirigo Elementary School kindergartner Cole Chamberlin, who received a bike for his reading accomplishments. The Masons donated 28 new bikes for the school’s Bikes for Books program. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times


PERU — Twenty-eight new bikes were presented to students on June 3 in the Books for Bikes program established by Dirigo Elementary School.

Students in grades prekindergarten through four earn a ticket for reading or being read to and every ticket increases their chances of receiving a bike, Principal Charlie Swan said. Eight fifth graders will receive bikes Thursday during their “mini-graduation” ceremony, he said.

The bikes were donated by King Hiram Masonic Lodge 57 in Mexico, which has donated them for several years for the Books for Bikes program.

“Evidence shows that schools participating in the reading program are witnessing improved reading scores among their students,” Lodge Master TJ Williams said. “Books also enlighten, inspire, bring happiness and success, challenge our perspectives, and provide comfort at difficult times in our lives. It’s essential to establish a love of reading early in life,” he said.

Eight Masons assembled the bikes and five were at the school to present them to students as they arrived for classes. Each got to select one and a helmet.

The Masonic Lodge is providing matching funds for Boy Scout Troop 580 in Rumford to send scouts to Camp Hinds in Raymond this year.

“So, the second Tuesday of the month we’ll be presenting a check for $2,000 for the camp,” Williams said. Other past donations have been to the Larry LaBonte Recovery Center in Rumford and to the Mexico Fire Department, he said.

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