Walk to School Day in Hampton

Marstonwalk
 
(Amy Kane photo)

In today's Hampton Union…

Hampton elementary students join Walk to School Day
By Amy Kane

HAMPTON — Fourth-grader Schyler Savage usually takes the bus. Her friend and classmate Emily Britton gets a ride from mom or dad. But on Wednesday morning they went to school the new old-fashioned way: on foot.

Wednesday, Oct. 8 was National Walk to School Day.

According to Assistant Principal Lois Costa, it was the perfect opportunity for Marston School students to exercise healthy choices, like starting the day with a brisk walk.

"This age is where it starts," Costa said. "We want kids to grow up with healthy habits."

A tally later that morning counted 136 Marston School students who walked the walk.

The Hampton School District is geographically big, with some neighborhoods too far from school or across dangerous roads. So one group of kids met a few of their teachers in the parking lot at Hampton Academy to walk the half-mile to Marston.

Mary Sheehy and Kristin Kennedy, both seniors at Winnacunnet High, joined them. The two are studying wellness policies in Hampton schools as part of a senior seminar project. They plan to offer comparisons and recommendations when they present their research in class on Oct. 20.

Marston School is doing a lot help keep kids fit. The school has a wellness committee that meets regularly, and special events designed to keep kids moving, like family fun nights, disco dances, and unique holiday celebrations.

"We're trying to get away from rewarding kids with food," Costa said.

She urged parents to cut down on kids' screen time in front of the computer and television.

According to physical education teacher Laurie Sullivan, the school is raising funds and plans to install a half-mile track. Crushed gravel will be laid next spring, followed by paving in the fall.

"We hope the community will use it too," she said.

Safety was a focus of Walk to School Day and parents were keeping an eye on their kids.

When fifth-graders Hope Cusano and Hilary Hegarty met at Paige Duffy's house to walk to school, Hilary's mom followed them for a short way in her car.

"She doesn't trust us," laughed Hilary.

"Maybe that's because she saw us turn the wrong way around the corner," Paige said.

At school on the playground, a group of fifth-graders agreed it was nice to start the day with a change of pace.

"It was fun to walk and talk with friends," Abby Arsenault said.

Erica Hesser had an idea. "I would like to do this once a month," she said.