Elementary school students in Riverbank celebrated a day to enjoy physical activity while encouraging some healthy habits throughout the day and taking an opportunity to learn about safety in obeying traffic laws at crosswalks and signals in town.
They participated in the city’s Walk to School Day on Oct. 10, which was proclaimed as such by the Riverbank City Council at its meeting the evening before.
California Avenue Elementary students and their families and teachers started out at Castleberg Park, walked up Eighth Street from the campus, and walked the several blocks before school started on Wednesday, Oct. 10, then posed for a group photo before dispersing to their classes.
Students participating in the walk lugged along their backpacks, along with lunch sacks and/or band instruments on their way in to school.
“The Walk to School event went well,” said Tina Hansen, fourth grade teacher at California Avenue Elementary. “I have participated in this in the past, and I believe there were more students participating this year than ever.”
With over 50 students participating in Walk to School Day the event was a success and there were also about eight to 10 parents and three teachers that walked about three blocks with the students. Although the walk took about 10 minutes, students still had time to eat breakfast prior to school starting.
“California Avenue participates in this because it is a national event that takes place,” added Hansen. “We also participate in this because we have our city council that is supporting us and encouraging us to do this – teaching safety with walking the neighborhood, especially since we are a walking school, following the rules of the road, proper walking on the sidewalk, and also to encourage physical fitness.”
Students arrived at Castleberg Park early in the morning to participate in the national event and some parents asked to go to the school and pick up their child so they could participate in the walk as well.
When asked if there were any stand out moments, Hansen explained that, “Watching them wave their pom-poms; how everyone got along and was so well behaved; they were excited as they saw other friends from other classes show up; it even started to become a competition as to which class had the most students participating.”
The council proclamation noted that Walk to School Day was organized by the Partnership for a Walkable America in 1997 and originated as a one-day event to exhibit the importance for communities to become more walkable. It said that “every October, millions of children from countries around the world participate in this event to raise not only local community awareness; but also global attention to walking safety and promoting healthy behavior.”
The council was told the students in Riverbank would be joining over 50 countries around the world to recognize the importance in walking to school.
The council’s proclamation notes “a lack of physical activity plays a leading role in rising rates of obesity, diabetes and other health problems among children and being able to walk or bicycle to school offers an opportunity to build activity into daily routine” – with the Walk to School observance helping put the focus on getting healthy.
News reporter Virginia Still contributed to this story.