Walking to school is a routine task for many kids. But on Oct. 7, the walk to Greenwood Elementary was something special.
It started with a crowd of more than 200 students, teachers, parents, younger siblings and even some family pets, gathered on the steps of the Koebel Library near Holly and Orchard in Greenwood Village. It continued with words of encouragement from Greenwood Village Mayor Ron Rakowsky, who was armed with a bullhorn and dressed in an orange safety vest just for the occasion. Then, with chants of “Greenwood,” and “Walk to school, walk to school,” the students stepped off for brisk walk on a beautiful fall morning. As hundreds of feet hit the street, a police escort from the Greenwood Village Police Department, led by School Resource Officer Rodney Valenzuela, controlled traffic and ensured the safety of the pack of pedestrians.
This was the 2015 version of Greenwood Elementary’s annual Walk to School Day, something the school has been doing for at least a decade.
“It builds a sense of community and brings us together around health and wellness,” said Greenwood Principal Darik Williams. “That’s one of the things that makes Greenwood so strong – people coming together.”
Parent Kim Lyons agreed.
“It’s a great idea to show unity in the community,” Lyons said, after walking to school with her husband Eli, daughters Cathryn and Sophie, and some of the girls’ friends. “We’re lacking a community feel these days and I think it’s important to display our togetherness.”
Greenwood Elementary uses Walk to School Day to kick of its health and wellness month. During October, students and staff members collaborate to increase their physical activity and promote other healthy habits.
Greenwood’s annual walk also coincides with International Walk to School Day, celebrated at thousands of schools across America and in more than 40 countries worldwide, to promote walking and biking to school, on safe routes, year-round.