Event encourages students to walk to school
The Exeter community celebrated its 13th Walk to School Day on Oct. 3. R-6 School District students gathered at the First Baptist Church of Exeter to take part in the annual event.
"We would like to encourage those of you who can to make this a routine," said Superintendent Dr. Ernest Raney. "Walking to school is a great way to incorporate exercise into your day."
Raney reminded students to always use crosswalks and observe traffic walk walking and before crossing roadways.
"Look left, then right, then left before crossing," said Raney. "Make sure drivers see you, and always walk on the left side of the roadway toward oncoming traffic."
After Raney's address, Mayor Rusty Reed and City Clerk Myrna Eisenbraun distributed over 200 treat bags to youngsters who took part in the event. Eisenbraun has organized the community's Walk to School Day since 1998.
"I started it because our community leaders are involved, as well as school personnel, parents and of course, the students," said Eisenbraun. "The kids enjoy it and look forward to it every year."
Students at dozens of schools across the state took part in International Walk to School Day on Oct. 3. Missouri youngsters will also participate in a variety of other activities throughout October as they celebrate Walk to School Month.
"Walk to School Day continues to inspire community-grown events that celebrate health, safety and a sense of community," said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School, which serves as the coordinating agency for the event. "Often this one-day event becomes the catalyst to larger commitments and permanent improvements that make walking and bicycling to school safer transportation options year round."
Walk to School Day was founded in 1997 as a way to bring community leaders and children together to build awareness of the need for communities to be more walkable. By 2002, children, parents, teachers and community leaders in all 50 states an the District of Columbia joined nearly three million walkers around the world to celebrate the second annual International Walk to School Day.
Last year, students and parents from more than 4,000 United States schools joined millions of Walk to School Day and Month participants worldwide. The one-day event has now grown to a month-long celebration and the reasons for walking have grown just as quickly as the event itself.
"Each year, the event continues to reinforce the importance of safer environments for walking and bicycling, more physical activity, fewer car trips and a cleaner environment for students, parents and all community members," said Marchetti. "It also provides a unique opportunity for families to get outside and connect with their neighbors."
In addition to the Exeter School District and the City of Exeter, the local Walk to School Day was supported by the First Baptist Church of Exeter. Church volunteers served breakfast treats and drinks to children who attended the event.