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Stepping in the right direction

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SUPPORTING STUDENTS:Mayor Chris McBarnes leads the pack of students at Suncrest Elementary coming from Circle Park. During the walk McBarnes and other officials had the opportunity to get to know the students of the Consolidated Schools of Frankfort.
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STEPPING IN:Left, Suncrest Elementary Principal Stephanie West greets children and their parents at school. HCCCC and other volunteers help pass out gifts to all participants.

By Katharine Calabro - kcalabro@ftimes.com

A total of 515 children participated in Walk to School Day on Wednesday morning, coordinated by Healthy Communities of Clinton County Coalition.

The record-breaking number is combined from the 239 participants from Suncrest Elementary and 276 from Rossville Elementary.

Supporting students and HCCCC in its venture to promote and create a healthier lifestyle for the children of the Consolidated Schools of Frankfort was Suncrest Elementary Principal Stephanie West, Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes, Superintendent Donald DeWeese and Assistant Superintendent Joel McKinney.

Executive Director of HCCCC Lorra Archibald said having these people participate gives students more incentive to walk.

“A thank you to Principal West, superintendent, assistant superintendent and mayor for coming,” she said. “It makes a difference. It sends a message that physical activity is important to them.”

Each student who participated received a gift from HCCCC. This year, HCCCC received the grant, International Walk to School Day, through Safe Kids Worldwide. This grant helped provide funds and promotional items for the event in the county.

With this being the biggest Walk to School Day yet, Archibald said the schools and HCCCC doesn’t have plans to change the event. She said the way they’ve been doing it for the past for years works, and changing it would be unnecessary.

“It it works, don’t fix it,” Archibald said.

The event acted as a way for students to meet officials, but also as a way for parents and students to bond together as a community. During the activity, parents had the opportunity to join in the walk with their children.

Joining her six-year-old son was Brandy Dilk. Dilk’s son, Bentley, is a first grader so is a frequent bus rider. Dilk said this event makes it something fun for her son to participate in before school and release extra energy.

“It gives them something to look forward to, and walking is great for exercise,” Dilk said. “He’s having a blast and it’s a bonding experience for the school.”

Students at Suncrest Elementary met at three meeting places including Hoops Restaurant parking lot, the Fire Department on Barner Street and Circle Park. Rossville Elementary students met at a local church, according to Physical Education Teacher Tammy Mohler.

Mohler said every year the number of participants in Walk to School Day increases, along with the volunteers, teachers and parents.

“I’d like to thank Healthy Communities for continuing to think of ways to keep kids active and doing different activities to support that,” she said.

Mohler said it’s important children understand that having a healthy body means a healthy mind, and having parents who support students and get them active is the key.

“We will continue to be as active as possible,” she said. “It’s a wonderful thing to do.”