Photos by Rome City Schools

Accompanied by the Rome City Police Department, tons of children and their parents crowded the sidewalks on Wednesday morning, October 10. Around 200 Elm Street Elementary students were up before the sun to participate in the International Walk to School Day event.

Elm Street students, their parents, teacher escorts as well as several other members of the community joined in on the walk, as the two groupstraveled from Long John Silver’s and the Dairy Queen, to Elm Street Elementary.

Elm Street Principal, Laura Walley explained how the process of International Walk to School Day began. “This is a state-wide initiative, and we signed up to participate through the Safe Routes to School program. They made sure our gathering locations were safe, and they also distributed pencils to all students who walked this morning as an incentive,” said Walley.

Brice Wood and Kayla Schaaf from the City of Rome: Rome/Floyd Planning Department joined Elm Street to help volunteer in the walk with the students as well. Schaaf and Wood serve as the transportation planners with the City of Rome and were both eager to get out and walk with the children of Elm Street this morning.

“We are constantly monitoring things such as where pedestrians frequently walk, which areas we need to make more accessible to walkers, etc. Events like this give us an opportunity to put plans into action that will help to keep everyone safe,” explained Wood.

Along with the City of Rome, the Rome Police Department also gave the students a police escort in order to show their support of International Walk to School Day.

“We love getting the community involved in everything we do, so this was yet another way to show our students how the different departments work together. To have a police escort also helped in providing a safe route to school and our students really got a kick out of seeing the police there to help them walk to school,” said Walley.

Elm Street’s Physical Education Teacher, Penny Atkinson made sure all students who participated in the walk were educated about one of the most important reasons schools, such as Elm Street, participate in events like International Walk to School Day.

“One of the primary things I teach my kids is to prioritize heart health,” explained Atkinson. “All of our muscles are important, but our heart is our most important muscle. Every day when they come to P.E. our first focus is to jog laps and get our heart rate up. Today, we just started a little bit earlier.”

All of the students who participated in the walk were so excited and awake, and many were definitely eager to consume a healthy breakfast in preparation for the day.

Penny Atkinson, Brice Woods, Kayla Schaff and Laura Walley