Stunt rider speaks out against bullying at FRES

WILTON – “Be nice to each other, treat people like you would like them to treat you,” Chris Poulos told the students of Lyndeborough Central School and Florence Rideout Elementary when they were all collected in the FRES gym on Wednesday, Oct. 22. “Show respect, encourage others, play by the rules, get a hobby and get good at it. But most of all, have fun.”

While saying all this, Poulos, a world champion bicycle stunt rider, circled the gym on his bike doing tricks from backward wheelies to standing on the handlebars.

“Don’t go home and try this,” he said. “But if you do, be sure to wear a helmet.”

The assembly was in honor of Unity Day, part of an anti-bullying program. The assembly opened with all of the students enthusiastically singing “Walk With Me,” led by FRES music teacher Sharon Knotts. Principal Tim O’Connell served as master of ceremonies, welcoming the Lyndeborough students to FRES for the first ever joint assembly.

Poulos, from Kingston, Rhode Island, has been conducting such programs for 37 years, he said. His brochure states: “I understand people do not want to be lectured – they want to be entertained. I designed my program to be entertaining, motivating and interactive so that the audience is part of the excitement.”

And entertain he did – riding his bike on one wheel, spinning his bike around, “hopping” or bouncing, the bike, and finishing by jumping over three teachers lying on the floor. He invited students to take part in demonstrations of being nice, how to make friends by inviting the outsider into a group, being polite.

“Don’t leave anyone out,” he said, respect people’s fears, help other people, believe in yourself.

“We are all people and we make mistakes, but that’s OK. Admit to it, say you’re sorry.” Be responsible, he told them, “Do what you are asked. We are given a lot of directions in life. We do them to make things better.”

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