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‘Walk to School Day’ at FPS

More than 500 Farragut Primary School students celebrated International Walk to School Day Wednesday, Oct. 3, and school principal Julia Craze said the event is just one of many things the school does to promote healthy and active living.

“[Knox County Sheriff’s Office does] several programs in the school about safety, including bus safety. The children also go to Safety City, which is all about safety. We have a health program called Healthy Habits. [Walk to School Day] is part of a larger safety and health education program in the school,” she said.

The event began at 7 a.m. with kids and parents walking from Campbell Station Park at the gazebo and from the Walgreen’s parking lot off Grigsby Chapel Road to the school. Scattered throughout the walk were the WVIK frog and the FPS’s mascot, Finley the Dolphin, while local politicians Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III and Alderman Tom Rosseel walked with the children. In addition, students were treated to a light breakfast of fruit, muffins and juice.

“The program is really to promote health through activity, through walking. We do it for that reason also, but we do it to get the community involved and into the school. It gets bigger every year. Parents enjoy it, I think, as much as the kids do,” she added. “Mayor Ford participates every year; I don’t think he’s ever missed. Our P-T-A, which is most outstanding … organized it for us. We have breakfast. It changes a little bit every year.”

Linda Byrd, PTA second vice president/program chair, said, “Our main focus is to promote healthy living, encourage children to get out and walk and exercise. We had such a beautiful day for it. We wanted to encourage children and parents to walk together.”

In addition to the walk and breakfast, “teachers got a word puzzle and a coloring sheet to pass out as an awareness to talking about healthy living. Using our green belt trails here in the Farragut area to get to school is a lovely thing to be able to utilize anytime of the year,” she added.

Two FPS students said they preferred walking over being driven to school.

First-grader Will Thorley said it was fun, “because you walk to school and eat breakfast when you get there. My parents usually just drop me off.”

He said he was excited about seeing some of his friends along the walk, as well as Finley the Dolphin and principal Craze.

Rachel Margulies, a second-grader, said, “I like it because I got to see Finley. I gave him a hug. He’s really great.”

She said she’s usually a car-rider, but preferred the walk.

“I like this better,” she added. “You can get a lot of exercise by walking,” which is something she said she likes to do.

Walk to School Day began as a way to encourage children and parents, school and local officials that walking to school together on a designated day reminds everyone of the simple joy of walking to school, the health benefits of regular daily activity and the need for safe places to walk and bike.

The day was established in the United States in 1997 by the Partnership for a Walkable America. Canada and Great Britain already had walk to school programs in place. In 2000, these three countries joined together to create International Walk to School Day.

Walk to School events work to create safer routes for walking and bicycling and emphasize the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, traffic congestion, concern for the environment and building connections between families, schools and the broader community.

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