About 200 Wellington Elementary School students are expected to walk, bike and scoot along Big Blue Trace Wednesday morning as part of an international Walk to School day event.
Joined by parents, teachers, administrators, police officers and three Wellington council members, the students will gather for their half-mile trip at Temple Beth Torah at 7:30 a.m. and arrive at the school approximately 15 minutes later.
Once they get there, they’ll be treated to drinks and prizes that include Walk to School 2018 safety booklets, Principal Maria Vaughan said.
Wednesday’s Walk to School event is in its 22nd year, with thousands of schools across the United States and in more than 40 countries worldwide expected to participate.
Locally, 35 Palm Beach County elementary and middle schools have registered to take part in the event, which was begun in 1997 by Partnership for a Walkable America in an effort to build awareness of the need for walkable communities.
That is largely why Wellington Elementary jumped on board four years ago.
“One of the reasons we participate is to try to cut down on our traffic,” said Vaughan, whose school has 935 students in pre-K through fifth grade. “We try to encourage more people to walk to school to cut down on the cars coming on campus. It’s really frustrating for everyone with the amount of traffic that has grown over the years.”
Vaughn also points to other benefits of walking to school, for both students and parents.
“It encourages students to be healthier,” she said. “It’s exercise. A lot of parents enjoy it, because they have the opportunity to socialize with other parents. They don’t often get that opportunity when you’re in a car, to see or speak to other people.”
Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig, who will take part in the event along with council members Michael Napoleone and John McGovern, said walking to school is an important way to promote a healthy lifestyle early in life.
“Riding bikes to school with my boys is one of my favorite memories, and walking is even better,” she said. “I hope that all that are able participate in this event.”
To check out which area schools are scheduled to participate in Walk to School Day 2018, visit https://bit.ly/2A0vJuc.