Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

6th Annual Ride for the Burkett Center – Trussville, Alabama

Written by  September 27, 2015

The Burkett Center is part of the Jefferson County School system and yet they are probably the least known. They have a far greater reach than that of the other schools in that it accepts students from ALL around the Jefferson County School system area and sadly, may be the least funded. Without a doubt, it has to be the cleanest, best smelling school.

The William E. Burkett Multi-Handicapped Center works to provide an extraordinary educational experience for the most severely handicapped students in Jefferson County. The center teaches youngsters with severe or multiple special needs, more than can be handled by special education classes at the systems other schools. The center covers students in grades K-12.

Students at Burkett Center experience many of the same activities in their classes as their non-disabled peers. Instruction is provided individually and in small group settings. A typical school day consists of both work and play! Younger students abilities are strengthened through participation in cognitive, communication, social, self help, fine motor and gross motor activities each day. Older students participate in many of the same type activities but they also participate in work/job skill training. Many students go out into the neighboring communities for community-based instruction in real life settings. For fun, all students participate in music, art, and dance groups. Special yearly events include fishing trips, zoo trips, trips to the Pumpkin Patch, Breakfast with Santa, and trips to the McWane Science Center.

At least one of the students has gone on to do great things with his life as an artist. He makes good money from his artwork that can be seen and purchased in a local art studio, as well as having a couple of them seen on the principal, Daniel Roth’s office walls, which he is very proud of, just as he is in his school. Every kid deserves a principal with this mans love and passion for his school and most especially for his students. This school just “oozes” with creativity!

On Saturday, September the 12th 2015, riders gathered at Rider’s Harley-Davidson for the 6th Annual Ride for the Burkett Center, with the help of the Jefferson County Bike Escorts, Donna Brooks, Donna L. and the “C.H.R.O.M.E Cross Cruisers” CMA Pinson chapter. The C.H.R.O.M.E Cross Cruisers are proud sponsors of this ride; they also provided the coffee and donuts.

It was a perfect morning for a ride through the countryside as the Jefferson County bike patrol rolled in to deliver their safety speech, and then after a blessing of the ride it was time to hit the road for about an hour-long scenic journey to the Center.

Once there, everyone migrated over to the food table to pick up a hot dog or two & chips that were generously donated by, Homewood Auto & Body, cookies, donated by, Bud’s Best Cookies and a cold drink, donated by, Publix. And the folks from, “Pinky Fancy Faces” was on hand to do some face painting for the kids, and a few big kids (adults).

While everyone was eating, Principal Roth took us on a brief tour to show us the 2 new chairs that they had acquired since last year, just one of those things that doesn’t get covered by the typical school funding also one of those things that can come into fruition as a result of this ride!

The students had built a secret garden out back that they could grow tomatoes, squash, and some of the most beautiful sunflowers I think I’ve ever seen.

On the other side of this pretty little walkway was a grassy area with bird and butterfly gathering plants and hanging hummingbird feeders. Principal Roth said as soon as they had completed the garden, the hummingbirds showed up to put their blessings of approval on it all! This too was a result from last years ride, Makes you feel kinda good and warm and fuzzy all over to be able to SEE where your dollars raised went, and feel like you helped to make a difference. This is their outdoor classroom that has been made wheelchair accessible, even up to the planters. I wanted to just stay and hang out a while; it was very “Zen”.

While everyone was still eating, Jennifer Stanford and Lisa Underwood started to draw tickets to give away the stockpile of “bootie” that had been donated to give away. Lisa’s husband Hubert was the “Chef” for the day, grilling up the “dogs”. This is a very good place to pick up some really nice stuff. So much so that Alabama Power had sold at least $500.00 worth of tickets ahead of time to some of the employees. They racked up!

Mixed in with the giveaways were a couple of big-ticket items. If you can consider a $500.00 Gift Card from Dennis Jewelers and $500.00 cash that was generously donated by the employer (who wishes to remain anonymous) of one of the C.H.R.O.M.E Cross Cruiser members, as big ticket items, we thought so, and so did Len Welsh who went home with the $500.00 Gift Card from Dennis Jewelers and Dave Gomez who was smiling all the way to the bank with the $500.00 cash he pocketed, that is unless of course Mrs. Gomez didn’t get a hold of it first!

It was just a very moving day; I guess that’s what lead Lt. Steve Gamble of the Hueytown PD to donate a really nice piece of artwork (along with $20.00) that he had just won back to Mr. Austin Reaves, one of the students from the school, who was like the Grand Marshall for the day; he has such a happy disposition, always with a smile on his face putting up with all of us. Austin’s parents had purchased a few tickets so he was able to take home quite a few things. He just recently celebrated his 18th Birthday so I guess he could consider it an extension of his Birthday. One of the other little students won a few things as well. He was the cutest kid with bright red curly hair, precious! Got his picture, unfortunately not his name.