Woodward, Cross Keys participate in International Walk to School Day

Woodward Elementary and Cross Keys High School put sidewalks to good use for the annual day of walking to school Oct. 12.

“That connection between home and school is important and for them to see us walking with them this morning was a feeling that was like no other,” said Demetria Haddock, principal of Woodward Elementary. “They were excited, they were stunned and they were shocked.”

The nationwide event that is celebrated throughout October was supposed to be celebrated for Brookhaven schools on Oct, 10, however, because of Hurricane Michael, the event was moved to the morning of Oct. 12.

Cross Keys students on their way to school during International Walk to School Day.

The event is meant to encourage physical activity, pedestrian safety, reduction of pollution, traffic congestion and speed, according to Woodward counselor Allison Johnson.

According to Haddock, the elementary school has a student body of 1,000 and 60 percent of those students walk to school every day.
“We really wanted to get out and just see what it was like to be a part of our school community and to walk with our boys and girls,” Haddock said.

Woodward and Cross Keys communities weren’t the only ones celebrating the event; Star 94.1, GA Safe Routes to Schools, DeKalb County Schools, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and Einstein Bagels were there as community partners.

Woodward Elementary employee Kim Shears, left, and a crossing guard have fun while keeping students safe.

Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts provided coffee and donuts for parents and teachers.

Another event partner, Odyssey Teams, helped the elementary school hold a raffle for children and adults.

Raffle prizes were kept a surprise until Oct. 17, according to Johnson. For the elementary students, 34 bikes were presented to raffle winners. And one adult received an Amazon $25 gift card.

Although this was the first year the community participated in International Walk to School Day, the schools plan to make an annual commitment, according to school officials.

Haddock–who walked alongside her students–said she learned that some areas and routes used by students need better lighting.

“It was an eye opener for me,” Haddock said. “Overall, it was a phenomenal event.”

To learn more about International Walk to School Day, visit www.walkbiketoschool.org.

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