You all have in your heart everything you need to succeed. ~ Dr. Gary Maestas
By Maryanne Saxon
Five years ago, Gary Maestas, superintendent of schools in Plymouth, Mass., set out to fulfill a dream…actually, to pedal a dream.
He and BID-Plymouth Hospital President Peter Holden biked more than 600 miles from the nation’s capital all the way back home to Plymouth to raise money for their school district.
His 2011 trek met with so much success, he recruited a 2016 Dream Team to tackle harder terrain, in the Dream Ride 2 campaign, “Riding for a Better You.”
The ride kicked off in Washington D.C. on June 5, 2016, and made a pit stop at Morristown’s Thomas Jefferson Elementary School on Thursday.
Sunny skies, chalk-written aspirations and motivational tunes from the 5th grade Titan band greeted the riders and their crew at a morning pep rally. The warm reception was a welcome change for the cyclists, who experienced cold, rainy weather, a broken-down motor home and a few nasty spills the day before.
Fortunately, even those mishaps and misfortunes fit well into the theme of the morning assembly.
“We are here to inspire all of you to never compromise your dreams! You will be faced with difficulties and challenges, just like we faced yesterday. The key is to always remember your dreams are possible. No matter what kind of tough terrain we face, no matter how high the hill, once at the top, the ride gets easier and I think to myself, that wasn’t so bad,” Maestas told students.
Dream Ride 2 has been more challenging for Maestas and his team. In 2011, the riders took an enjoyable route along the coastline. This year’s inland path introduced more hills, more traffic and more starts and stops.
“Our goal is to set out and ride for two hours. Thanks to hilly terrain, rain and city traffic, we have only been able to get 20 minute rides in before we need to stop for one reason or another,” shared the forever positive cyclist.
“No matter how many obstacles are put in my path to knock me off track, I know that I can get back up and keep going.”
Positivity, perseverance and partnership are the campaign’s themes. Maestas is grateful for all who have joined in this adventure.
The 2016 Dream Ride Team includes Scott Kneif, superintendent of the Carver Public Schools; Mike Schultz, athletic Director from the Carver school system; Michelle Badger, a school board member from the Plymouth school district; Sergio Harnais, a former Plymouth selectman; and AJ Maestas, son of the Dream Ride originator and a student at Babson College.
“I am so grateful your principal took my phone call,” Gary Maestas told the TJ pupils. “As an administrator myself, I know that there are always people calling the schools wanting something. Thanks so much for giving us this opportunity to visit your school and providing us a forum to spread our message.”
Maestas appreciates the communities that offer pit stops where he can stretch his pedal- weary legs and advertise the need to dream. To show his gratitude, he and his team never arrive empty-handed.
Before the pep rally, every TJ student took time to complete a “Dream Ride” pledge. The pledge not only immortalized their future dreams, but also enabled them to enter a raffle to win some pretty fantastic prizes.
Ginger Carlin’s dream to become an FBI agent won her a Dream Ride T- shirt. Henry Saxon’s wish to travel the world and see exotic creatures earned him a shirt as well. Lucy Morrow’s dream of training Army dogs was rewarded with a $150 Reebok gift certificate.
Third grader Kensie Castillo’s wish to ride a bike without falling off is much closer to being realized, now that she won a brand new Specialized bike! Fourth grader TJ Inlander was also the proud winner of a brand new bike, donated by the Dream Ride2 sponsors.
Other lucky TJ dreamers who walked away winners include: Jack Cohen, Drew Andrinopoulos, Cameron McGregor , and Nicole Alvarez.
In a show of gratitude and support, the TJ students and staff gave the 2016 Dream Team riders a proper Titian send off. Led by music teacher Argaille DiMatteo, the crowd of dreamers and believers cheered: “Dream Riders, pedal hard and pedal true… Dream Riders, we believe in you”!
With that kind of fuel to fill up their tanks, the Dream Ride 2 team should have a smooth journey home. The riders are due in Plymouth on June 12, 2016, when they will be received by friends, families and dreamers.
Safe trip, Dream Team!
For more information about the 2016 Dream Ride Team visit www.dreamrideplymouth.org
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt