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Principal's Lunchtime Ride Promotes Getting Active

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After 30 years as an MCPS educator, Damascus Principal Kevin Yates still has valuable lessons to teach his students.

Every day around 11 a.m.,  most of the juniors and seniors at the high school go out for open lunch. For the hungry teenagers, small town Damascus offers plenty of options but what makes this routine special for students is who comes out to greet them on his bicycle as they head out each day. 

“I want students to see that this is a lifelong hobby and that it’s important to stay active,” said Yates. 20231115Gross 011.jpg

Yates is teaching his students the importance of getting outside and getting active by showing them. He encourages all of his students and staff to find something that they enjoy.  

“Mr. Yates proves that you can get active no matter what and where you are,” said one student. 

In March of 2020, just when the pandemic shut down schools, Mr. Yates reached out to his students with encouragement. 

“That was a scary time," said Yates, “and so my message to my students and families was make sure you’re taking care of yourself and your wellness.”

Yates began riding to encourage others more than 30 years ago when he and several of his fraternity brothers biked across the country to raise awareness for people with disabilities. The trip was 62 days, 52 of them on the bike.  

He often reflects on this experience when he addresses his students and graduates.