Students pound the pavement to 'activate' community health

Bulletin Photo: Patrick Henry Elementary was one of eight area schools that participated in events on Oct 3.

October 4, 2007

By SHAWN HOPKINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

Instead of sitting in classrooms and riding buses all day Wednesday (Oct 3), many area students got out and got their hearts pumping with events scheduled as part of International Walk to School Week.

A number of schools worked with BikeWalk Virginia, an organization that is managing a $1.5 million Harvest Foundation "Activate Martinsville-Henry County" grant, to promote biking, walking and safe routes for walking to school. BikeWalk also plans to give away five bikes to students who win drawings at each of eight participating schools.

In Henry County, Magna Vista High School as well as Irisburg, Sanville, Stanleytown and John Redd Smith elementaries and Collinsville Primary participated in events at their schools, said Allen Turnbull, executive director of BikeWalk Virginia.

At Irisburg, students have been walking all week, said Principal JoEllen Hylton. Kindergarten through second-grade students have been walking inside, while students in third through fifth grades have been walking outside the school, she said.

One of Irisburg's kindergarten teachers, Vicki Huffman, kicked the week off early by walking from her home in Brosville to the school on Saturday, Hylton said. It is a 12-mile trip, she added.

In Martinsville, Patrick Henry Elementary School students met at nearby J. Frank Wilson Park early Wednesday morning and walked to their school from there. Martinsville High School students walked around the track at their school.

Turnbull and Jeffrey Mansour, senior Harvest Foundation program director, said they were pleased with the participation. Mansour said it seemed like those who participated in the events Wednesday had a good time.

"We're really happy with this kickoff event for the Activate Martinsville-Henry County (grant)," he said.


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