By MORGAN MANNS
STAFF WRITER
Christmas came a little early this year to Fostoria Elementary School.
A jolly ol’ employee surprised youngsters in grades preK-kindergarten with seven new tricycles.
Jerry Reinhart, food services, purchased the trikes to be used on the new pre-K and kindergarten playground at the school. He and his wife, Ashley Reinhart, intervention specialist at Fostoria Junior/Senior High School, unveiled the bikes during morning meeting Thursday.
A room full of kids erupted into “oohs” and “ahhs,” excited laughter and thundering applause as the Reinharts pulled the sheets back to reveal the presents. Many exclaimed, “This is so cool!” while others giggled as they realized the gift was several tricycles and not a motorcycle.
“I do something every year for the preschool kids,” Jerry Reinhart said, adding, “Kelli (Bauman, principal) said they didn’t have enough stuff for the new playground and I thought the kids would really like these.”
It was hard for the students to refrain from beeping the horns on the bikes as morning meeting ended and they returned to their classrooms. A handful of lucky students rode the tricycles from the main hall outside to the playground.
When they came back inside, many could be heard describing how “fun and awesome” it was to ride the bikes for the first time.
Bauman said officials are looking into purchasing a shed to store the trikes, as well as other playground equipment, and keep them safe from the weather.
“I feel so fortunate to work with someone who cares so much for our students,” Bauman said of Reinhart. “Every and any staff member in our school can make a difference with our kids and Jerry has been intentional about every interaction he has with the students in our school. If everyone had that mentality, the possibilities for our school and student success would be limitless.”
In the past, the Reinharts have given gifts such as small goody bags filled with treats for each student.
According to Bauman, this gift will have a lasting impact on the littlest students in the district as they take a break from using their brains and work to improve their gross motor skills, furthering their development.
“I just appreciate Jerry and Ashley’s kindness towards our kids and their generosity,” Bauman said. “It means a lot to us to see our kids smiling and excited to get outside and get their bodies moving. … Their generosity will ensure an extra opportunity for our students to keep moving each day.”

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