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Olathe Leadership Lowrider Bike Club designs lowrider bike for DEA Museum in Virginia

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Posted at 8:42 PM, Sep 28, 2023

VOICE FOR EVERYONE | Share your voice with KSHB 41’s Megan Abundis

The Olathe Leadership Lowrider Bike Club is gaining even more recognition.

The school district’s club is known for mentoring students, bridging gaps between law enforcement and education, and celebrating Hispanic culture.

This Hispanic Heritage Month, their work is now on display for the hundreds of thousands who travel to the East Coast.

KSHB 41's Megan Abundis spoke with the students involved in making it happen.

For months and months, Olathe students and their mentors put time and effort into making their lowrider bikes.

“It’s part of who we are; it’s part of our identity — a lowrider is not just a vehicle or a bike, it’s a person,” said Erik Erazo, executive director of Student and Community Engagement for the Olathe Public Schools district.

Pinstriping, painting and leafing the details and style is all an individual story.

“You don’t have to take it seriously — you can have fun, you can connect with people through your work,” said Miguel Santillanes, a senior in the district.

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Santillanes and many other students in Olathe got to help work on a bike that thousands and thousands of people will see.

“I never expected something that I worked on to be in a museum,” Santillanes said.

All the way in Arlington, Virginia, the Drug Enforcement Administration headquarters museum now has a piece of Kansas.

Celebrating 50 years, a special low-rider bike will be on display.

“Well, we made it for the DEA — that’s really good,” Santillanes said.

Erazo, "the lowrider teacher," made it happen.

“The bike is DEA colors — blue and gold leafing,” Erazo said.

Erazo said there are special badges hidden throughout the bike.

“I think I would have never even dreamed of this happening; my idea of the DEA was whatever I saw on TV shows,” he said.

The DEA now sponsors Olathe’s lowrider club, backing similar efforts around youth gang and drug prevention.

“For us, it was a no-brainer — it’s youth working with adult mentorships,” said Carlos Briano, with the DEA El Paso Division.

Santillanes talked about how the Olathe lowrider club has changed his life.

“I can for sure tell you my family’s happy that I joined the bike club as I never really talked to anyone, I was introverted and closed, I stepped out of my shell and talked to other people,” Santillanes said.

This was a collaborative project with high school students in New Mexico, whose club is modeled after Olathe’s.

“I hope a lot of people get to see it and we get to show our work and inspire others and hopefully start this program up in other schools,” Santillanes said.