Shelledy kids get in step with Walk To School Day

Shelledy Elementary School physical education.teacher David Hassler and student Melody Dolan lead a group of Shelledy students for a walk to school on Wednesday morning.

Walking to school was the highlight of Jadah Marquez’s week.

The 7-year-old was one of more than 120 students who signed up to walk to Shelledy Elementary School in Fruita Wednesday morning on International Walk to School Day. Mesa View and Rocky Mountain elementary schools also hosted Walk to School Day events.

“I wanted to walk with my friends,” Marquez said, beaming before the half-mile march to school. She and her parents, Kelly and Jose Marquez, lined up at the Fruita Civic Center before students, parents and two dogs departed for Shelledy at 8:15 a.m. Another set of walkers met at Comstock Park, west of Shelledy.

Shelledy gym teacher David Hassler said he wanted to organize the school’s first Walk to School Day to encourage more kids to get the hour of daily exercise recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and to encourage parents to walk with their kids.

“It’s a good time for families to spend together and catch up on the day without the distraction of a TV,” Hassler said. “I’m hopeful people enjoy getting out and walking and maybe (Walk to School Day) will encourage families to walk once or twice a week.”

More students are walking in District 51 this year after busing boundaries were expanded to a two-mile radius for elementary students and a three-mile radius for middle and high school students.

Kim Samson, who joined the walk to Shelledy Wednesday with her daughter, said she alternates between walking and driving to school and sees “quite a few” more walkers this fall.

While she’s fine with her six-block commute to school, Samson said, “I think two miles is way too far for kindergarten, first-grade little ones to be walking to school and it’s a hassle for parents to drive them to school.”

Another mom who joined the Walk to School Day event, Megan Christoff, said she lives a mile from Shelledy and doesn’t mind carpooling or biking to school. She said families who get free public schooling should be able to get children to school no matter the distance.

“I’m OK with it,” she said of the new boundaries. “There is definitely a lot more (school drop-off lane) traffic but it seems to move pretty smoothly.”


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