Walk to School Week

Thanh -- October 6th, 2008

Students Participate in Walk to School Day, 2006

Students Participate in Walk to School Day, 2006 (Photo by J. Reeves)

This week is International Walk to School Week! This celebration of walking will be taking place at five of our local elementary schools this week:

  • Tuesday Oct 7, Waterman Elementary
  • Wednesday Oct 8, Mountain View Elementary and Spotswood Elementary
  • Thursday Oct 9, South River Elementary
  • Friday Oct 10, Keister Elementary

Students, parents, and teachers are all encouraged to walk or bike to school for increased physical activity and better health, for a cleaner environment, to meet and greet neighbors, to reduce traffic and congestion, learn how to be a safe pedestrian, and to build community.

Walk to School Day in our area is organized by Safe Kids of the Central Shenandoah Valley, RMH Community Health, Harrisonburg Fire Department, and is sponsored by FedEx with participation of our local school administrators, police and sheriff’s department, Circle K and Key Clubs, university student volunteers, etc.

Walk to School Day in our area was started three years ago at Keister Elementary School. Last year, four schools participated (with 1,700 students total). This year’s new addition are APPLES! 3,000 locally grown apples have been purchased this year from Ryan’s Fruit Market in Timberville for students in hope that they will associate good exercise with healthful snacks. (I heard that it was quite a feat to find someone who could provide so many apples at a good price for the students.)

Each school needs community volunteers between 7:30am and 8:45am to help students cross streets, to encourage and cheer for students and their families walking to school, and to walk with students around the school fields (students who are must take the bus to school have an opportunity to participate in Walk to School Day by being dropped off about a block away and taking a fun walk around their school grounds). And of course parent participation is much appreciated and strongly encouraged! Those interested in helping this week should contact Cari Cook at ccook [at] rhcc [dot] com or 433-4438.

Keister Elementary School also has Walking Fridays, which continues Walk to School Week/Day. Keister Elementary School students celebrate walking to school EVERY Friday of the school year. Those interested in helping throughout the school year should contact Cindy Reeves at creeves [at] rhcc [dot] com.

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6 Responses to “Walk to School Week”

  1. Thanh says:

    There’s a lot of great stuff happening at our local schools. Walking, biking, and good exercise is a great tie in with local and healthful foods. Last month, area schools hosted “Local Harvest Day” where local foods were the primary ingredients or were featured in school lunches. A high school intern I have this semester says its the only time she’ll eat lunch at school; she loves it. DNR story from last spring.

    Last month, the DNR had this story “Garden Variety Lunches: Schools get behind the salad option”. NPR had a related story about elementary school salad bars: Kids Will Eat Their Vegetables

    Kudos to our schools’ nutritionists, principals, adminstrators, teachers, cooks, parents, and volunteers!

  2. Thanh says:

    Related to Keister Elementary School’s Walk to School Day is its award of $455,000 from VDOT’s Safe Routes to School Program for the construction of new sidewalks along South Avenue, a part of Maryland Avenue, a part of Central Avenue, and the installation of new pedestrian signals at South High/South Ave and South Main/South Ave. The work in organizing walk to school days, identifying infrastructure needs, and the support of the partners described above in previous years helped the City win the award. The project is currently under design by the City engineer’s office.

  3. Emmy says:

    Thanks for posting about this. I walked my kids to school this morning and noticed the Dare car down over the hill. It seemed like a number of people were taking advantage of the nice morning and the volunteers were very helpful.

  4. Thanh says:

    If you watch TV 3 news tonight you will see Spotswood Elementary doing their walk to school this morning.

  5. Thanh says:

    Article about Walk to School day at Spottswoode from the DNR: http://www.dnronline.com/news_details.php?AID=32132&CHID=2

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