• Kids skip bus and puddles for health
    October 03,2012
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    Vyto Starinskas / Staff Photo

    Northeast Elementary School students didn't let a downpour from keeping them from their National Walk to School trek from the Godnick Senior Center where parents dropped them off on Wednesday.
    By Cristina Kumka

    Even in a downpour early Wednesday morning, some Rutland kids were happy to skip the bus.

    More than a dozen parents and students from the city's Northeast School made wet steps and skipped over deep puddles from the Godnick Senior Center to their school in their effort to promote healthy living and physical activity on national Walk to School Day 2012.

    Many had smile on their faces despite being drenched with water on their backs.

    Parents could have driven like they usually do, but to the surprise of the school's volunteer coordinator Heather Olsen, many didn't, and walked with their kids to set an example.

    'I was very, very excited that in this downpour we were having so many families show up,” Olsen said. “We gave them the choice, but parents chose to stay and walk with this.”

    Vermont ranks number 10 nationwide for highest registration in the nationwide day meant to spread awareness of the dangers of childhood obesity and bring communities together.

    Last year, one in 16 elementary schools in Vermont participated.

    On Wednesday, 33 schools were scheduled to participate including Northeast School, Rutland's Northwest School, Killington Elementary School, Woodstock Elementary School, Fair Haven Grade School and Union Elementary School in Montpelier.

    Northwest School in Rutland had about the same number of kids and parents - about a dozen, according to administrators - walking in the rain and smiling.

    “I think it sets a really good example for the kids,” Olsen said. “It's so easy to get back in our cars and drive away, but this is what we said we were going to do and we did it.”

    Northeast Principal Susanne Engels said the event was tied to educating kids on the importance of physical activity.
    Olsen said the health habits learned Tuesday, from a short, 20-minute walk, could last for a lifetime.

    Although they may not have known they were doing it at the time, students also built commoraderie among eachother, by walking and carrying a banner with their school name it.

    “The kids were proud,” Olsen said.

    For the complete story, see Thursday's Rutland Herald.
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