A crowd of antsy kindergartners lined up outside the front entrance to Burruss Elementary School in Marietta, eager to hop on the 24 kid-sized bikes donated and delivered by Yamaha Motor Company on Thursday morning.
After a smile for the cameras and a shout of "Thank you!" from the kindergartners, school leaders let the group swing a leg over the bikes and imagine themselves speeding ahead, wind in their faces. Though some wobbled, all the 5-year-olds managed to keep their balance.
The donation is part of a Yamaha partnership with the All Kids Bike program, which aims to teach students how to ride a bike during the school year in their physical education classes.
Burruss' grant, worth $10,000, provides the kids' bicycles, helmets and curriculum, as well as an adult bike for a school teacher or PE coach to teach all kindergarten students to ride.
The bikes donated to the school are set up as "balance bikes," which have no pedals, and allow the students to master the basics of balancing on the vehicle before they move on to pedals, according to Scott Newby, a spokesperson for Yamaha.
Newby said the donation of the bikes includes kits to convert them into pedal bikes as the students progress in their ability to ride.
Burruss Principal Jillian Johnson said she was "tickled" to find out that she'd received the grant.
"I have little children too, who are learning to ride bikes, and I just see how exciting that is. And I feel like it's kind of a rite of passage for kids, and not all children have that opportunity," she said. "So whatever opportunity I can fold in to our school day to get kids that chance, then I'm all for it."