Jordan-Elbridge students got a special visit Friday morning when more than 60 cyclists stopped at Ramsdell Elementary during their Ride for Missing Children on Sept. 19, including Ramsdell Physical Education teacher Paula Tucker.
Tucker was greeted by students waving dozens of signs encouraging her and other riders as they rolled into Jordan around 9:15 a.m.
The Ride for Missing Children began and ended at Emerson Park in Cayuga County, and stopped at schools in Auburn, Jordan, Baldwinsville and Cato throughout the day to raise awareness.
In the weeks preceding the ride, NCMEC representatives had visited the schools to hold parent and teacher workshops and group assemblies to educate about internet safety, abduction dangers and prevention.
"This is a huge visual reinforcement," said Ed Suk, executive director of NCMEC Rochester branch.
Suk said the ride draws $20,000 in sponsorships and each rider raises at least $300 - money that is pumped back into the education program.
Earlier that morning, as riders prepared for the100-mile course at Emerson Park, they were addressed by Scott Berne, a parental abduction survivor.
In 1979, nine-year-old Berne and his brother were abducted by his mother Harriet following their parents' divorce. The boys, Rochester natives, were found two years later in Texas, where his mother was working under an alias as a schoolteacher. The high-profile case made national and international headlines, and in February of 2008 Berne released an autobiography, "Extraordinary Circumstances," to tell his story.
"It's not just a child that is being stolen, their childhood is being stolen," Berne said of his decision to share his experiences with others. He began telling his story publicly several years ago, to help kids, parents, and educators learn how to prevent abduction. In April, he began speaking in conjunction with the NCMEC, and foresees a long relationship with the organization.
"It gives purpose to what we're all doing," he said of the organization. "With the right education, and the right prevention, you can save a childhood."