SAN LUCAS — Prior to winter break and the recent storms, Chris Hughes of the X-Games and Lennie Westfall of Nickelodeon Games performed gravity-defying twists and tricks on their BMX bikes for San Lucas and Bradley students at San Lucas School.
The dual-campus audience ages 4 to 14 yelled and applauded in response to the flips and stunts, while Hughes and Westfall taught them about teamwork, bullying and healthy relationships.
Lacey Kistler, teacher of grades TK, kindergarten and first at San Lucas, organized the fall event after urging the school for two years to host the BMX presentation. Kistler said she aimed to encourage interest “in a sport that pushes students to their limit. We want all of our students to try until they succeed.”
Superintendent/Principal Lindsay Lopez at Bradley School also wanted to promote working through hardship.
“I sent our students because they (the BMX cyclists) showed students that hard work and perseverance pays off,” Lopez said.
Those lessons were brought to the forefront at one point in the show. Hughes’ tires started to lose air, yet he still pulled off a triple flip. He taught the students to keep pushing themselves even when things go wrong.
Hughes and Westfall took short breaks between tricks to ride up and talk to the crowd, from chatting about lessons to answering questions.
“Our students loved the interaction with the riders and watching the tricks,” Lopez said.
“They send a good message,” said Tom Carvey, teacher of sixth through eighth grades at San Lucas.
In addition to the crowd talks, a group of four students was called up during the show to call the shots for tricks. Among them were fourth-graders Layla Smith and Kendra Rivera-Pelayo.
“My favorite part was when they jumped over each other,” Smith said.
Rivera-Pelayo added that her favorite part was “the 360 tailspin.”
After the presentation concluded, Hughes and Westfall stayed around to interact with the students, who swarmed around them for questions, pictures and autograph requests. Autographs ranged from shoes to shirts, and posters to water bottles.
Seventh-grader Jorge Preciado and eighth-grader Kaylee Valdez both said they liked the posters given to students during the event.
In addition, the presentation was an opportunity for students to learn about news production while working with freelance journalist Sean Roney. Daniel Alvarez, Juaquin Cruz Jr., Antonio Fijar, Marcos Sandoval and Xavier Zuniga were student photographers, while Fijar and Josephine Mendenhall worked on writing this article.