By Nikki Garrett Metzger
(Victorville) — It was an early Christmas for several young kids and their families Wednesday night thanks in large part to Santa’s newest elves – wood shop students at Excelsior school on the Victor Valley College campus.
For the second year in a row, Hank Stephens and his shop class crafted rocking motorcycles out of pine to give to children from the Victor Valley College Child Development Program. “We do a mass production project in our shop class and we make these rocking motorcycles,” said Stephens.
“It’s been hectic! We’re making 12 motorcycles this year, we made 12 last year. However, last year we had 21 days to build the motorcycles. This year, because of other things we’ve had going on, we’ve done it in 11 days.”
Most of the children had no idea why they were there or that they would be receiving a gift. They enjoyed pizza for dinner and were generally having a good time. But they could tell something was going on.
Then Santa and Mrs. Claus came in, followed by the Excelsior students carrying the rocking motorcycles. The children, ages three to five years old, each hopped on their motorcycles and posed for pictures with Santa and their families. Santa also gave out gifts to the older children.
Besides the hard work of the dedicated Excelsior students, Stephens received a $300 mini grant from Victorville Rotary to pay for the materials for the motorcycles. There were also donations from other community groups to help pay for the food and the gifts for the older children.
Stephens said, “This is a lot of fun, and the best part watching my students when they present the motorcycles to the kids. Seeing their reaction when the kids react, it’s all worth it. It’s a real neat experience for the kids to see their efforts pay off and do something so special.”
Desiree and her daughter’ Summer were one of the few lucky to be invited to receive a rocking motorcycle. “I don’t have a lot to give my daughter, so when I got invited to this I was really excited. We get to have pizza and she gets a bike. And they are so wonderful – we are going to paint the bike together since it is already sanded and everything.”