They might not have been trekking up hill both ways, but students in Waynesboro did have to foot it to school on Wednesday.
“It lets us see the neighborhood and exercise,” said Garrett Carson, a fifth grader at Wenonah Elementary.
Students and from Wenonah Elementary, Berkeley Glenn Elementary, Westwood Hills Elementary and William Perry Elementary schools, as well as Kate Collins Middle School, are participating in Walk to School Week, which began Monday. The initiative aims to increase physical activity among children, raise awareness of the importance of creating safe routes to school, support a healthier environment, and build connections between schools, families and their community.
On Wednesday it was Wenonah Elementary’s turn to take part in the event. Enthusiastic students, parents and staff walked from the corner of Eighth Street and Charlotte Avenue to their school.
“You can have fitness without having to think about running as hard as you can all the time, the traditional what people think of gym class,” said Michael Holbert, physical education teacher at Wenonah Elementary and primary coordinator for the school's walk, as he led a group of students through the street. “For the kids, it’s nice to have them out and about learning not only about fitness, but learning how to be a part of the community.”
Holbert expressed his deep gratitude toward the school’s principal, Tonya Carter, the entire school staff and volunteers, and all the students for their participation and support of the event.
“Nothing’s possible without teamwork, and we have a great team here today,” he said.
Students were excited for their morning walk.
“It’s good, because we get exercise, and if we’re sleepy in the morning we can walk up the big hill and then maybe stay awake,” said Brooklyn Wells, a fifth-grader at Wenonah Elementary.
Makaya Bryant, also a fifth-grader, said that walking not only helps to wake you up, but helps students to focus better in class and release some extra energy.
“It’s fun and tiring,” Wells said.
Principal Tonya Carter was as enthusiastic about the walk as the students. Not only does the walk promote heart-healthy habits and the benefits of walking and exercising, but it also promotes a sense of community, she said.
“All of us are doing this together,” Carter said. “When the kids see the adults walking and moving and being excited about that, I think that helps with our school community.”
Carter is proud of everyone involved in the walk-to-school endeavor.
“We’re proud of the kids and what they do,” she said. “They definitely participated and represented Wenonah well. I’m proud of them.”
Numerous community partnerships helped make the event possible city-wide. Organizations supporting Walk to School Week include Waynesboro Public Schools, Augusta Health, Waynesboro YMCA, the Office on Youth, the Parks and Recreation Department, Waynesboro Police Department, the City of Waynesboro and its planning department, Waynesboro Fire Department, Waynesboro City Council and Waynesboro School Board. Individual volunteers also helped make the walk possible by lending their time.