Students celebrate walk to school day - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Students celebrate walk to school day

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MARSHFIELD (WAOW) -

Hundreds of central Wisconsin students started the school day in a mall parking lot.

Tuesday was "International Walk to School Day" - a yearly tradition to promote healthy lifestyles, exercise and the simple joy of walking to school.

Nationwide, some 4,000 schools participated in the event, including about 125 in Wisconsin, organizers said.

More than 300 students from Grant Elementary in Marshfield started their walk to school from Marshfield Mall parking lot.

"The turnout is absolutely fantastic," said coordinator Shirley Mook.

They walked one mile to their school.

Coordinators tell Newsline 9 that Grant Elementary has participated in the event since 1999.

They say this year was by far their biggest turnout.

"Every year since Grant school started this march it has grown, and grown and grown," Mook said.

One sixth grader says she walked in the event to set an example for the younger students. "It's fun, I want the little kids to look up to me as a role model," said Kaydee Johnson.

Quite a few parents could be seen walking side by side with the students, coffee cups in hand of course.

"Anything that we can do to get all of the kids together to at least start their day with something athletic and fun is worth it," Scott Peterson said as he walked alongside two of his children.

Donna Smith, a second grade teacher at Grant Elementary, said the walk gets "the kids fired up about exercise and fitness, and being a part of something that's really positive."

Recent studies show the value of frequent exercise for young people.

"Kids that are active and involved and connected to something like this really are better learners," said Smith.

October is dedicated to walking or biking to school, educators said.

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