Gerek Evans is in the eighth grade at Skyuka Hall, and before starting at the private school last year he received F's in all of his classes.
"Now I get A's and B's, and today I got to clean a motorcycle!" he said Wednesday.
Evans and the K-8 school's 22 other students, who are tackling a wide variety of learning challenges, were exempt from classes on Wednesday and armed with sponges and buckets of soapy water.
The students burst into shouts of excitement as they dumped water on motorcycle windshields and scrubbed tires clean. The motorcycle wash was a way for them to show their appreciation to members of the Curve Cowboys, a group that is donating money to the school on Friday.
The Curve Cowboys are members of an online forum for motorcycle enthusiasts. Chattanooga was chosen as the destination for the group's 15th annual reunion that began Tuesday.
Each year the Cowboys select a charity to receive donations made throughout the reunion, and this year Skyuka Hall was chosen. Over the last 14 years the group has donated more than $250,000.
"We like to leave a good impression on the city where we meet and leave something of value behind," said Laurie Munson, secretary to the board and charity committee chairwoman for the Curve Cowboys.
Munson, whose road name is "Sweet Pea," started riding motorcycles when she met her husband, John, and they joined the Cowboys in 2002. They rode to the reunion from Texas and are joined in Chattanooga by 200 fellow enthusiasts they describe as family.
The work that Skyuka Hall is doing with children with learning challenges is the type of thing that the Cowboys like to support, said Glinda Slomka, who has been involved with the Cowboys since the group's inception.
The school, located on Mountain Creek Road, plans to use the money for its scholarship fund, Head of School Dr. Josh Yother said.
"The cost of having a four-to-one student-to-teacher ratio is expensive," Yother said. "This money will make a huge difference for some of our students."
"Going to school here is pretty great. They really help me learn," said Macey Moore, who is starting her fifth year at Skyuka Hall as a seventh-grader. "They helped raise money for our school, and today we got to clean their motorcycles and help them, too."
Contact staff writer Kendi Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6592.