FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) — Today is “International Walk to School Day” and it marks a special anniversary.
About walking school buses
A walking school bus is “a group of children who walk to school with one or more adults,” the website walkingschoolbus.org states.
Fairhope’s walking school bus is 10 years old. It’s touted as the longest daily walking school bus in Alabama.
Good weather on Wednesday morning is a bonus, but no matter how miserable the conditions are outside, they always have some kids walking to school.
Making exercise fun
This is a tradition wrapped up in a celebration. Wednesday morning included a big party celebrating a decade of walking 7/10ths of a mile to school.
In addition to the dozens of kids who walked, there were also special guests. Fitness classes were part of a pep rally around the community college campus.
“I think it’s so cool to make an environment for exercise, making it fun,” said Group Fitness Instructor Nonie Taul. Cheerleaders were here to cheer the kids on. Some students from 2013 who were part of the first class of kids taking part in the walking school bus came back.
‘It was so much fun’
“It was so much fun, I mean I remember I met so many new people, made so many new friends — it’s one of my core memories,” said Taylor Knowles, who is now a high school student.
Walking School Bus Director Charlene Lee says she’s trying to revive a tradition that’s been lost to suburban sprawl.
“I walked my own kids to school and I walked to school. And I saw the joy and I saw the difference in kids when they were out moving before they got in the school building I think it’s the healthiest, most fun way we can get kids to school in the morning,” Lee said.
Lee says they’ve been working for the past several years to expand walking school buses to other schools in conjunction with all school districts in Baldwin County and the Metropolitan Planning Organization, to make walkable areas more of a priority.