LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Harper McCaughan Elementary School students aren’t gloating, but they left Long Beach High School in the dust in the Bearcat Bike Battle.
“I don’t want to be rude or anything about them,” said student Kingston Van Taylor. “but, yeah, we did beat them.”
The bike donation project by the Mayor’s Youth Council turned into a challenge from Long Beach High School to other schools in the city.
The only one to accept the challenge was Harper McCaughan Elementary.
Teacher assistant Lynn Mulherin accepted the challenge for her class.
“It was absolutely amazing. When they announced it over the intercom, I literally wanted to run up and down the hallways and just scream ‘Wahoo,’ I was so excited," she said.
Eventually, the whole school got involved with raising money for 15 bikes - beating Long Beach High’s total of 10.
“It just snowballed into some awesome amazingness,” Mulherin said.
The youth council is also collecting bikes from throughout the city. The original goal was 50 bikes. It’s gone way beyond that.
“I think it makes them feel really good that the community was receptive to their project and just donated and donated and donated and donated,” said Jenny Levens, the community affairs director for the city who heads up the council.
Principal Kathryn Standish Harper McCaughan said this was a good lesson for the students on all levels.
“When the high school challenged us, we didn’t hesitate to accept their challenge,” she said. “We’re pretty competitive, so we were excited to be able to raise so many funds and purchase all these bikes to give back to children in need in our community.”
Mayor George Bass is equally impressed with the community’s effort.
“I would just like to say thank you to everyone, where ever you’re at, that donated to this,” he said. “It makes your heart happy to know that there’s going to be some happy children Christmas morning.”
It’s a lesson not lost on the students.
“Because it’s almost Christmas, I thought people should help each other,” said student Gannon Hall.
How does it make them feel?
“Happy,” Kingston Van Taylor said. “We’re doing the right thing.”
The bikes were accepted by Bass and the Long Beach police and fire departments who will deliver the bikes to needy children.
The city will continue to accept bikes at city hall through 5 p.m. Friday.