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Off the bus, onto the sidewalks: River Heights kids all walk to school

September 21st, 2011 Posted in Arts and Life

Story and photo by Lindsay Nemelka

RIVER HEIGHTS–Elementary school kids buzz restlessly in line after their buses drop them off not at their school, but three blocks from River Heights Elementary. Today was Walk to School Day, where students, teachers and parents gathered before classes to practice sidewalk safety for the annual Green Ribbon Week.

About 350 kids on bikes, scooters, RipStiks or just plain old sneakers walked from the old River Heights school at 420 S. 500 East through Heber Olsen Park, and down 600 South to school.

“It’s Safety Week so we are just emphasizing how to walk on the sidewalk safely, and we’re doing stuff with bicycle safety,” said Cheryl Orme, a third grade teacher who picks up a few stragglers at the rear of the procession.

Green Ribbon Week began on Monday with pledge cards sent home for both students and parents to sign, promising to practice safety both in and out of school environments. The event was put on by the PTA; the Sheriff’s Office also helped out, ushering kids to stay on the sidewalk and watch for cars.

Principal Glen Harris commented that the activity is meant to teach kids to walk to school safely; even if they ride the bus, this gives them a chance to interact with crossing guards and see how it’s done.

Student Natalie Anderson normally rides the bus to school, but enjoyed this activity. “I get to go out and exercise and have fun” she said.

Her mom, Janiel Anderson is one of the many parent volunteers chaperoning the walk. “They love to be able to ride their scooters to school instead of the bus for a change, especially if it’s beautiful weather,” said Anderson.

Afterwards, eager students crowd a small table for a before-school treat of Go-Gurt. PTA member Ruth Jack organized the event. “Part of safety is also health,” said Jack, “which is why we have Go-Gurt instead of fruit snacks.”

The school’s Green Ribbon Week will continue with bike helmet sales, surveys and other safety activities.


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