East Lansing Celebrates Walk to School Day
Above: a group of students and adult helpers approaches Whitehills Elementary School.
East Lansing’s Elementary Schools celebrated “Walk to School Day” on October 10th with special meet-ups around town so that students could walk in larger groups.
For the Glencairn/Red Cedar Students who walked from MSU’s 1855 place, this included their school mascot “Scotty” the scotty dog and a serenade from “Bagpiper Bill,” (pictured above) who piped the parade of children, school staff and parents through the Flowerpot neighborhood to Red Cedar school as they followed the regular “walking school bus” route. “Bill” is an area musician named William Hamilton, who has played his pipes for Walk to School events in the past.
As students gathered at the meet-up point, Scotty posed for pictures and received hugs from the students.
School Principal Lorraine Ware, several teachers and members of the fifth-grade safety squad were also on hand to help with smaller kids, as well as acting as crossing guards at intersections. Scotty lead the procession, followed by the kilt-wearing bagpiper.
Whitehills Elementary kids (above) used several different walking routes to get to their school. Some of the routes were already established “walking school bus” routes but some were organized just for the Walk to School event, like the meet-up spot at the Towar Hart Baptist Church for children who usually ride the bus from the Hawk Nest neighborhood. Star shaped balloons in Whitehills school colors added to the fun and visibility of the event.
Joy Campbell, who coordinated the Whitehills meet-up, told ELi that all of the Whitehills students were given reflective snap bracelets as a fun way to increase safety. She told ELi, “reflective gear is an easy way to boost visibility, especially at this time of year when dusk falls earlier but it's still nice enough to be playing outside. We're asking our school grown-ups to also consider using the safety bracelet during trick-or-treating or other evening activities.”
Above: Donley Elementary students participating in Walk to School Day.
Regan Quick-Severan from the Pinecrest Community said that their school did much the same thing, with meet-ups around the neighborhood. “It was such a beautiful morning for Walk to School Day. I noticed fewer cars on the streets surrounding Pinecrest which feels like a success! I hope the students and parents and younger siblings who were able to participate enjoyed getting some fresh air and a little walk in before school and work this morning.”
Safe Routes to School Community Coordinator Sandy Sellers led one of the groups to Marble, starting from the Deerpath apartments. “It was a blast to walk with students and to see so many kids being active.”
Walk to School day is a District-wide initiative in conjunction with Safe Routes to School, which offer grants to the East Lansing schools for activities which encourage walking and biking. Karin Polischuck, the Glencairn/Red Cedar PTO president told ELi via email “It is a national thing and is meant to encourage physical activity and make it safe for everyone to get to school. By decreasing the amount of cars at one congested location, everyone is safer no matter what mode of transportation they take.” She added that the newly installed bike racks at the school are often full.
Any parents who would like to get involved with the walking school bus program should contact Safe Routes to School at firstname.lastname@example.org.