It is not uncommon for teachers at Orleans/Niagara BOCES to use their and their students’ skills to help each other out. Case in point, building trades teacher Matt Anastasi reached out to his friend and fellow teacher, project based engineering’s Scott Brauer for a favor.
When Anastasi had graduated first grade, his father Dave gifted him with a minibike for getting straight A’s on his report card.
“I will never forget that day,” says Anastasi. “It was so exciting even though I couldn’t touch the ground when I was on it. My brothers would drive me around until I grew into it. I had so much fun with that bike throughout the years. I even took it to Fredonia College with me. It will always be a special memory for me of something my dad and I shared.”
When Anastasi started working at BOCES he gave the bike to Brauer’s son, who had just finished second grade, with the understanding that one day he would want it back if he ever had a son. The bike eventually, after many years of use, made its way into a storage area in Brauer’s class where his students stumbled upon it.
When Brauer reached out to the elder Anastasi about the discovery, Anastasi asked Brauer if there was anyway his class could get it into shape for his son Matthew’s second grade graduation. Brauer and his class threw themselves into the task and also turned it into a class lesson.
“The students had to make a list of what needed to be purchased, locate the parts and made an itemized bill for Mr. Anastasi,” explained Brauer. “Then they tore the whole bike apart, keeping very careful notes and inventory of the parts. They replaced the engine, brakes and brake lines along with the gas and fuel lines. They also took it to be sandblasted and powder painted a bright red.”
Brauer points out the students had to use math and science skills to complete the renovation.
“It was a great lesson and a lot of fun for all of them as well,” he said.
When Anastasi, showed up along with his father and son to get the bike his reaction was priceless.
“They pretty much lost their minds,” says Brauer.
“It was unbelievable,” said Anastasi. “It looked amazing and it was great to be able to gift it to my son with my dad looking on. I felt like it came full circle. I hope my son will always treasure this moment, the way I did when I was given it.”