By Mary O’KEEFE
Hundreds of students across Crescenta Valley took part in and showed support for International Walk to School Day on Wednesday.
All local Glendale Unified School District schools participated and were supported by California Highway Patrol in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County/La Crescenta and Glendale police in the Glendale section. Members from the GUSD also joined the kids.
Rosemont Middle School and Monte Vista Elementary students met at Two Strike Park to walk to their schools.
“I like to walk,” said Rosemont student Anna Karapetyan.
Rosemont seventh graders Aileen Choi and Yeji Lim carried a Kid Power sign as they walked down the hill from Two Strike Park.
Mountain Avenue and Valley View elementary students had maps of specific locations where they could meet up with fellow walkers and head out to school.
Amanda D’Ambrosio, a Mountain Avenue sixth grader, normally doesn’t walk to school but for this special day decided to go with her dad. The walk from her home is quite a distance.
“We live up the mountain,” Amanda explained.
Her father said he was a little concerned about her walking because of the lack of sidewalks for a portion of the walk and the traffic.
“It is a bit busy,” Michael D’Ambrosio said.
The walk to school event was coordinated by second grader Amy Forster’s mom Melinda.
“She made the signs,” Amy said as she proudly held up her walk to school sign.
Amy was walking to school with her friends, third grader Carolina Herrero and fellow second grader Morgan Grace Lashley-Haines. All were very happy to be walking to school.
Valley View set up six designated “Walking Bus” zones where volunteers held up posters and guided students on the safe walk to school.
Students were asked to meet at the predetermined “Bus Stops” at 7:45 a.m. and while walking to school more children joined the group.
Parent Talitha Huey was one of the many volunteers who led the students and their families to school.
“The kids are having a fun time,” said Huey whose daughters Savanah and Summer participated in the event.
As students approached the Valley View entrance gate, parents greeted them with walking shoe key chains and stickers. Students continued to walk the school’s track once they arrived and as they did listened to fun, walking-themed music.
The walk to school was discussed at last month’s Crescenta Valley Town Council meeting. Los Angeles County Public Works, California Highway Patrol and L.A. County Sheriffs all spoke about the journey to school for local students. The meeting was inspired by Mountain Avenue moms who had raised concerns over the lack of sidewalks and apparent distracted drivers on the road.
Councilmember Robbyn Battles, who has made it her mission to make the area safer for pedestrians, continues to work with parents and officials to come up with creative and safe ideas for walking paths.
Walk to school is a way to promote health through exercise but perhaps it helps the heart more than just cardio exercise – it give parents and their child a time to talk “heart-to-heart.”
Tom Flanagan and his daughter Maddie, a Monte Vista third grader, were engaged in a deep conversation while on their way to school.
“We were talking about some [issues] at school,” Flannigan said. “We walked a little slower to school today.”
Flanagan added that he and his daughter walk to school almost every day but today took a little more time because the problem was something his daughter really needed to talk about.
“And I am going to leave on a business trip soon,” he said, “so this gave us time together.”