Students filled the city’s sidewalks Wednesday for Oberlin Schools Walk and Roll to School Day.
The district received a $15,000 Safe Routes to School grant this year through the Ohio Department of Transportation to enhance student health and wellness in kindergarten through eighth grade.
High school teacher Jennifer Smillie has be spearheading the program with help from teachers Michelle Peters and Brian Carter and Lorain County General Health District project coordinator Marilyn Hill.
“I’m passionate about health and wellness,” said Smillie, an avid cyclist.
Eastwood Elementary, Prospect Elementary, and Langston Middle schools each hosted a varied of events to encourage students to walk or roll to school.
Carter created two “Walking School Buses” for students to walk or ride their bicycles to Prospect with teachers and parent volunteers. Nearly 40 students took part in those, along with 15 volunteers, four of which were teachers.
There were more than 125 Prospect students who walked or rode their bikes to school Wednesday. Each received a reflective snap bracelet that said “Walk and Roll to Oberlin Schools.”
“If it goes well then we can have Walking Wednesdays,” Carter said.
Those would have students meet with teachers and volunteers at designated locations around town to walk to school.
Smillie said the grant does allow the district to have volunteers get back ground checks at the Oberlin police department and then they can become a designated walker or biker for the students.
She is also interested in creating a Phoenix fitness challenge where students can compete against each other in how much they walk throughout the week.
The Oberlin Schools received their first Safe Routes to School grant in 2013, worth $16,454, but the district did not have the grant last year, said treasurer Angela Dotson.
The group is looking to get more teachers and community members involved to help build the program throughout the district, Smillie said.
The next meeting will be at 4 p.m. Nov. 3 at Prospect.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.
Photos by Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribune
Nick Spurlock and Josh Arnold ride their bikes from Eastwood Elementary School to Prospect.