On October 5th, 325 Michigan schools celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Walk to School Day (W2SD). Students in grades K-8th donned backpacks and comfy shoes, and walked to school in solidarity with thousands of students celebrating the day all over the country. One of Michigan’s most successful Walk to School Days yet, we are delighted to spend the next month highlighting specific communities more in depth, but for now here are a few spotlights from the University and Metro Regions to get us started:
Harlan Elementary, Bloomfield Hills
Celebrating its 2nd annual W2SD, the Healthy Huskies parent committee of Harlan Elementary was delighted to have more than 130 students participate in W2SD. This year, Harlan organized its first ever “park and walk” so that students who lived too far away could participate in the event. Parents were able to park or drop off their students at a local church, half a mile away, and then the group of students were chaperoned to the school on foot. Adult chaperones included Bloomfield Township Officials Supervisor Leo Savoie, Community Relations Director, Greg Kowalski, and School Liaison Officer, David VanKerckhove. Even Harley, the school mascot made an appearance.
As students arrived on campus, they received a healthy snack, a sticker, snap bracelet, and were able to sign their name on a celebratory banner to be displayed in the school. “It’s the best day of the year!” one eager 5th grader stated, picking up her healthy snack and snap bracelet from the welcome table. We agree! Congrats to the Healthy Huskies on another great year. You guys rock.
Dickens Elementary School, Ann Arbor
Dickens Elementary school celebrated W2SD with much enthusiasm and excitement. Parents and students, as well as Principal Madison and chairperson Smita Govil, gathered with 12 other volunteers to walk through the beautiful Mushroom park to the school. “[W2SD] was a great opportunity to educate the kids about safe routes to school. Big thanks to Katie Johnson for answering our questions and sending us the information, stickers and the certificate” says Ms. Govil.
A big thanks to everyone at Dickens for showing up with so much energy and joy!
Thurston Elementary, Ann Arbor
470 students and 35 parents walked to Thurston Elementary and then gathered in the school’s multipurpose room for a welcome assembly. Mayor Taylor was in attendance, and addressed the students stating that he was, “delighted to participate, and that walking to school is healthy, good for the environment, and socials.” A second grader, Emma, wished that W2SD could be every day. Jane Taylor ESL Teacher stated that “It’s so much fun watching the kids and parents walk to school from all directions and listening to their happy comments. Walking to school fosters a great sense of community.” A big shout out to Allison Jeter parent and Walk to School Day Coordinator, who championed the day because she believes walk to school day “promotes healthy habits, a cleaner environment and community togetherness.” We agree! Congrats on your walktastic day, Thurston.