Annual 'Walk to School' promotes healthy alternative for students

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br>
Washington students and parents begin the Walk to School from Ken Lindley Field Tuesday morning.

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br> Washington students and parents begin the Walk to School from Ken Lindley Field Tuesday morning.

As children played at Ken Lindley Field, Bruce Reynolds Jr., a kindergartner at Washington Traditional School, said he looked forward to seeing friends before the annual Walk to School on Tuesday morning.

Bruce's father, meanwhile, said he liked the event's goals.

"It's to encourage them to be more active by walking and biking to school more often and showing respect for our environment," said Bruce Reynolds Sr.

More than 60 Washington Traditional School students, their parents, and teachers walked, skateboarded, and biked to school in the event organized by Prescott Alternative Transportation that emphasizes the need for safe places to walk and bike, said Tracy Kwit, coordinator of the Safe Routes to Schools Program.

"The ultimate goal of Safe Routes to School is to get more students walking and riding their bikes to school," Kwit said.

Students at other schools will have their own walk-to-school events later this month: Taylor Hicks Elementary, Oct. 6; Miller Valley Elementary, Oct. 18; Prescott Mile High Middle School, Oct. 19; Mountain Oak Charter School, Oct. 20; Lincoln Elementary, Oct. 21; and Abia Judd Elementary and Granite Mountain Middle School, Oct. 27.

"I'm hoping to be a good example to my students, encouraging them to exercise and keep healthy," said Julie Shepherd, a physical education teacher at Washington Traditional School, who took part in the walk to school.

Shepherd, a recreational runner, said she wants students to see that she does what she teaches them and that she believes they will enjoy being more active, too.

"We like the kids to get out an exercise, and this was a good community thing to do," said Tina Herbert, whose son Aaron Herbert, a fourth-grader, rode his skateboard during the walk.

Alexus Sloggett, a fourth-grader, and her neighbor, Natalie Martinez, wore blue T-shirts that Prescott Alternative Transportation gave students for participating in the walk. Alexus' mother, Miranda Peugh, said her daughter has been in each Walk to School since they started.

Prescott police officers answered questions, motorcycle officer escorted walkers along the route to school, and officers also walked with the students.

"We always encourage children who walk and bike to school to take their time and be safe," said Sgt. Amy Bonney of the Community Services Section of the Prescott Police Department. "We remind them to walk on the sidewalk and obey all street signs when riding their bikes."

Alex Earnhardt, a fourth-grader, said the event helps us "get more exercise than we usually do."