Brian Boudreau, left, Evan Canales and Brenden Piaggi stand with Cathy O'Connor of the Department of Public Health at Clarksburg School. The boys were recognized for their work starting Bike to School Days.
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — Clarksburg School's healthy initiatives started with a seventh-grader wanting to ride his bicycle to school.
Principal Linda Reardon told Brian Boudreau that it was against the school's policy to do so and he responded with and "well, let's change it."
Boudreau and his friends Evan Canales and Brenden Piaggi created presentations to the school, School Committee and Selectmen and by May of their eight-grade year, the school celebrated its first Bike to School Day
On Tuesday morning, the three ninth-grade McCann Technical School students returned to Clarksburg for the presentation of the Peter R. Lee Healthy Communities Award to the school - largely because of those student's efforts.
"They did a wonderful job, and they were very persistent and it paid off," Reardon told the packed gymnasium filled with students, staff, parents, representatives from the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, Selectmen and School Committee members.
The state's Department of Public Health's Director of the Offices of Healthy Communities Cathy O'Connor explained that the award, named after the late Peter R. Lee, recognizes "all the hard work people do to make communities healthy."
The nomination paper submitted to the Ounce of Prevention Conference, who issued six awards statewide this year, read: "Clarksburg is on the road to establishing itself as an exemplary rural community for other small communities to emulate."
The three students worked with Mass In Motion Project Coordinator Amanda Chilson after the state-funded healthy initiatives program's kickoff breakfast.
"These three boys wanted to be able to bike to school and wanted other students to have the same opportunity," Chilson said. "So, when you want something bad enough you do whatever it takes to make it happen."
Chilson said community became more committed to healthier living in additional ways. The school serves vegetables from its own garden and Many Forks Farm
, and added trails around the school with the help of Amanda L'Etoile, trails and outreach coordinator for Berkshire Natural Resources Council. Just recently, McCann students installed a gaga ball pit outside of the school.
"This not only got students biking, but it also got students thinking, 'We need to start thinking healthy.' When you are active you feel better, you are more alert and you focus better and learn," Chilson said.