POINCIANA – A healthy line of students stood patiently in front of Lonnie Wilder. He had school notebooks in his hand that he was giving to the kids – but he also had something else: a few choice questions for them to answer.
Take, for example, the one he posed to a teenage boy, asking what he planned to do with the notebook. The student looked up a second, not sure how to respond, then shrugged and said “Nothing.”
Wilder shook his head.
“You don’t need a notebook if you do nothing!” Wilder said, in a comical tone.
And all around him, the students’ faces lit up with smiles.
“He was a teacher in Philadelphia for years,” said his friend and colleague Darryl LeQuia – and it showed.
Like many others who come to Central Florida for their retirement years, LeQuia and Wilder opted to retire in Poinciana, at the Solivita development, an active adult community. They’ve also aimed to demonstrate that the word “active” in the development’s advertising truly applies to both of them. For one thing, both men are part of the Solivita Older Bikers Club, made up of retirees wo still enjoy heading out onto the open road, sitting atop their trusted motorcycle.
They also stay active in community events, and on Saturday, Wilder and LeQuia were at Vance Harmon Park, taking part in the Back to School Beach Bash, a kind of farewell-to-summer event for the kids of Poinciana before school reopens on Wednesday, Aug. 15.
“We want to make sure people have a positive image of bikers,” said LeQuia, te past president of the club, of their presence at the bash. The two men had set up booth with a table filled with stacks of school notebooks.
“We’re giving out these notebooks today,” said Wilder, the current president of the club. “We want to make a contribution to the kids. And I’m trying to get a positive reimbursement from them.”
There certainly was a decent-sized line of teens waiting to get the notebooks – although from the looks of things, it was also clear the Bikers came well stocked.
“We have a ton,” LeQuia said. “There must be a couple of thousand here. Our intent is to give them all away and help the students of Poinciana.”
Elsewhere in Vance Harmon Park, there were bounce houses, face painting, and food being cooked. The event was sponsored by the Association of Poinciana Villages, the homeowners association for the 10 villages in this community that crosses Osceola and Polk counties.
This is the first time APV has sponsored a Back to School Beach Bash, and it was done to mark 2012 being the 40th anniversary of Poinciana becoming a community.
“So far so good,” said Jeanette Coughenour, the manager of the APV. “All of this is free for the kids, lunch and all. We’ve got hot dogs, hamburgers, juice and chips – things kids like to eat.”
They were also handing out school supplies to the kids, which is what the Solivita Older Bikers Club was helping with.
“We have 56 members,” said LeQuia. “We even have a Biker Bash in the fall, in the November time frame, where we raise money and donate that money to the local community.”
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