BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WBOY) — The first Wednesday in October is nationally recognized as “Walk to School Day,” but Simpson Elementary School has found a way to extend the fun all month long.
Every Wednesday in the month of October, participating Simpson Elementary students, staff and parents meet at the Bridgeport Church of Christ for the school’s ‘iWalk’ events. Parents sign in and leave their students with their designated classroom before heading up the street and towards the school.
Each iWalk day features a special guest invited by the school to surprise the students and help escort them to class. Last week the guest was WVU’s mountaineer mascot; this week the Bridgeport Fire, Police and K-9 units were invited and welcomed by the school.
12 News spoke with Simpson’s PTA president, Kylie Harrison on the impact these events have had on the school and community.
“We are so excited. We love having our first responders here for our students and our community to see why it’s so amazing to be able to walk to school. A lot of communities are not able to walk to school like we are here at Bridgeport. The students love doing it, it encourages physical activity, encourages hands and hands and being together as we walk to school,” said Harrison.
Those who partake in early morning Bridgeport school drop-offs know that traffic is typically overwhelming in the area. It is still unknown whether or not Simpson’s iWalk events have helped reduce the traffic troubles, although it seems to be a massive hit with its students.
The week of Oct. 11, Simpson Elementary had 258 students participate in the event, that’s 53% of the school’s entire population. Beyond the joy behind the idea of walking to school with your friends, another great incentive Simpson included for students is that the classroom with the most participants receives a “Golden Shoe Award” for the week.
iWalk not only fosters a positive attitude towards physical activity and going green for the betterment of the environment, but it also creates a sense of community outside of the classroom.
“It’s just so important for the kids to know how important it is to be able to walk to school, not leave any kind of footprint, other than their footprints, their physical activity, being with their teachers, being with their peers. A lot of kids aren’t allowed to just walk to school with their friends, so how amazing is it that we give this opportunity to all the students,” said Harrison.
Although the month of October is dwindling to a close, iWalk is a tradition that the school plans to continue for years to come.