LAURINBURG — Students from Covington Elementary School laced up their sneakers and hit the ground for National Walk To School Day on Wednesday.
The Scotland County students joined school kids all across the world participating in the event.
The idea behind walking to school is to get kids up and moving to start the day. The campaign also alerts drivers to slow down when traveling through communities with schools.
More than 100 students showed in the lot across from the Laurinburg Presbyterian Church on Wednesday to make the .27-mile walk to Covington Elementary.
“We celebrate the national day, but our program is a daily effort to promote healthy choices and an active lifestyle,” said Covington Principal Kristin Broadbelt.
Covington has been meeting at 7:30 a.m. every Wednesday since last year’s National Walk to School Day. That was the beginning of Walk to School Wednesday, created with incentive to promote health and well being among the students.
“We wanted to broaden the opportunity for families to be active,” Broadbelt said. “Research shows that attendance and academic performance improves with an active lifestyle.”
Students, parents and community members across the nation joined together to walk to school on Wednesday. The worldwide effort is among 40 other countries who participate in the annual event throughout the month of October.
Walk to School Day began in 1997 to promote health, safety and community. By walking or biking to school, participants illustrate the benefits of getting out of the car and on their feet.
“Walk to School Day events provide students and families the opportunity to reconnect with the simple joy of walking to school,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School, which serves as the coordinating agency for the event. “Events also bring attention to the importance of physical activity and safe transportation environments for walking and bicycling in communities nationwide.”
For Covington there are usually about 100 students that participate in the weekly event out of the 296 in the school. Another portion of the school participates in what is known as Running Red Birds. This is a daily run for students that goes from 7:15 to 7:45 a.m. every morning.
“This also keeps the students active,” Broadbelt said. “The running club was an initiative our team created and walking to school was born out of that.”
Walking to school gives students the opportunity to socialize and move before school began, Boradbelt said.
“I believe this brings the community and the school together,” she said. “It allows us the time to slow down and appreciate a walk and a conversation with our neighbor.”
Abby Hackmann can be reached at 910-506-3171.