Superintendent Heath Morrison and N.C. Transportation Secretary Tony Tata led the way Wednesday as hundreds and possibly thousands of students across the Charlotte region observed International Walk to School Day.
At least 15 schools in the area, including 13 in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg system, participated in the annual global effort to encourage children to walk or ride bicycles to school.
Morrison and Tata were part of a group that gathered shortly after sunrise Wednesday at Unitarian Universalist Church on Sharon Amity Road and walked about 4/10 of a mile to Cotswold Elementary School.
Tata said the transportation department’s Safe Routes to School program focuses on the healthy aspects of walking and bicycle riding, but he said it also stresses pedestrian safety. The program is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a nonprofit organization which hopes to reverse childhood obesity by 2015.
Schools in Mecklenburg County have observed International Walk to School Day for several years, but the effort has expanded to suburban schools in recent years, as the county’s smaller towns and the City of Charlotte have expanded their sidewalk construction programs. Wednesday’s observance included schools from Davidson and Matthews, in addition to some of Charlotte’s more outlying areas.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools that participated in Wednesday’s program were Beverly Woods Elementary; Billingsville Leadership Academy; Cotswold Elementary; Davidson Elementary; Elizabeth Lane Elementary; Endhaven Elementary; Highland Creek Elementary; Idlewild Elementary; Olde Providence Elementary; Park Road Montessori; Polo Ridge Elementary; Selwyn Elementary; and Shamrock Gardens Elementary.
Also participating, according to the national website, were Oakwood Elementary in Hickory and Rutherfordton Elementary.
Lyttle: 704-358-6107; Twitter: @slyttle
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