Thousands of Glendale students walked to school Wednesday during the fourth annual “Walk to School Day.”
With all 29 Glendale public schools and four private schools participating, event organizer and parent Kara Sergile said it was the largest in the state.
“It’s just a thrill that we’ve been able to grow our program,” she said. “It was my dream we could spread this citywide.”
In 2009, R.D. White was the only participating school in “Walk to School Day” — which was headed by Sergile who took action after an 11-year-old student was killed crossing the street during the morning drop-off outside of Toll Middle School.
Glendale schools since then have applied for grants to improve school streets and crosswalks. Work has already finished at some schools, such as Dunsmore Elementary and R.D. White, and will continue each summer until all campuses undergo improvements, Sergile said.
At Jefferson Elementary on Wednesday, Principal Greg Mooshagian joined students and their parents, along with Councilwoman Laura Friedman and city transportation planner Mike Nilsson.
Fourth-grader David Abramyan is used to walking to school every day, he said, but he walked a longer path to school Wednesday with fellow classmates five blocks away from the campus.
“It’s nothing new,” he said. “Walking is a kind of exercise.”
As students approached the main office, Glendale firefighters greeted them.
Mooshagian said Jefferson students would continue to walk to school every Wednesday in October. In two weeks, they will bike to school — Mooshagian’s idea, he’s a cyclist himself.
“It’s really satisfying to see how much the parents have embraced this program and have really taken ownership of it,” Friedman said, who plans on biking with the students as well. “The more we can get kids to walk instead of driving, the safer it will be for everybody."
-- Kelly Corrigan, Times Community News
Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan