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Kids take healthy walk to school

Molly Shore

Valaya Burke enjoys walking to school with her grandmother.

“Grandma walked me to school when I was in kindergarten,” the

Stevenson Elementary School first-grader said.


On Wednesday, Valaya, 6, and her grandmother, Genola Burke, walked

to school as part of International Walk to School Day, which

Stevenson participated in for the fifth year.

“It was a treat to walk with Grandma, but we didn’t have a group


to walk with,” Valaya said. “I found a group, but they walked too


When families arrived at school, members of the Burbank Fire

Department were on hand to let the children climb into a large

tractor-drawn aerial ladder truck while parents socialized over

coffee, bagels and sweet rolls.

Principal Paula Willebrands said the annual walk serves three

purposes: It’s good exercise, it’s a way to get acquainted with other


families and it alerts parents to safety issues.

If a parent notices a broken curb or a cracked sidewalk,

Willebrands said, those conditions are reported to the city for


“We are not relying on crosswalks to be a magical place that is

safe,” she said.

Julia and David Bradley arrived with their sons, Jordan, 9 and

Nathan, 7.


“This is a good way to do something together as a family,” Julia

Bradley said.

Although she has participated in previous years, this was the

first time her husband joined her.

“It reminds me of when I was a kid in Glendale,” David Bradley

said. “We walked to school all the time. It was definitely safer.”

Lori Deeter, this year’s safety and welfare chairwoman,

accompanied her 8-year-old daughter, Sydney, to school.

“We’re going to take the opportunity to walk once or twice a

week,” she said. “We want to keep more cars off the road, and it’s

fun. I like getting the school and the community together.”