Orange, selected as the starting point of a 15-day bicycle ride to raise funds for Rise Schools, which serve children with and without special needs, may have a special guest Saturday.

A spokeswoman with the Vollmer public relations group tells The Record Newspapers that Gov. Rick Perry is scheduled to take part in the first leg of the ride, which begins at 9 a.m. at Ochiltree-Inman Park.

Perry, a Republican, is bidding for his third term as governor. He will go up against former Houston Mayor and Democrat Bill White in the November General Election.

A city of Orange official who asked not to be identified said the city is preparing for a Perry visit, however, cautioned that plans could change at any moment.

For that reason, he said, the city is treating the possible visit as “tentative.”

The original Rise School is at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. There are six other Rise Schools – Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Houston, Denver and Stillwater, Okla. About 50 percent of Rise students have special needs.

The goal for the race, called the Rise Across Texas Challenge – added to future donations – is $5 million. Raised so far has been about 25 percent of that, or a little more than $1.2 million.
The race will span 13 Texas counties and more than 800 miles. The final destination is Presidio, spanning Southeast Texas bayous, Hill Country slopes and desert straightaways.
Saturday’s ride will end in Kountze.

The challenge ride was created by well known Austin philanthropist Steve Hicks.

Rise Schools are not-for-profit, serving children ages 6 months to 6 years, designed to provide a blend of intervention, therapy and family-centered services, according to the Rise mission statement.
Other goals are to prepare children for their next learning environment and start students on the path to reaching their full potential

Each Rise classroom has a lead teacher required to have a master’s degree in early childhood special education or a related field. In addition to the lead teacher, each classroom has a minimum of two teaching assistants.

For more information on Rise Schools, go to