Feet First extends its thanks to all the wonderful schools that submitted entries to the third annual Feet First IWALK Challenge.
If you have been following the Feet First IWALK Challenge, you know that 107 schools in Washington hosted walk-to-school events during International Walk to School Month this October. Following those events, schools were invited to submit descriptions of their walks to Feet First for a chance to win prizes. The contest entries told uplifting stories of schools and communities inspired to get active with their students. We received submissions from all corners of the state – from the marine west to the arid east – and learned much about how creative people can adapt IWALK to suit their community needs. Thank you for sharing your stories!
After weighing the strengths of all applications, our Celebrity Panel of Judges made the tough decisions necessary to identify the prize winners from the State. The first three out of six winners will be highlighted today:
Winner of the “Shoes for a Classroom” Prize!
Peter G. Schmidt Elementary in Tumwater
This school was the big winner this year for their high-energy IWALK campaign that was both integrated into the fabric of the school and proven to be sustainable over several years. The celebrity panel of judges was impressed not only with the turnout of more than 320 participants at the IWALK event (including ALL of the school’s teachers), but also with the reach and breadth of the campaign. In preparation for a yearlong Safe Routes to School program, all school students participated in pedestrian safety lessons during their PE classes. Organizers held a “Walk and Roll” kick-off event on International Walk to School Day, October 8th. Walkers were met at the school with great fanfare by the Tumwater High School cheer squad and Tbird school mascot. To build school wide enthusiasm, the school set up a Mariner Moose competition, arranging for the Moose mascot to visit the grade with the highest participation rate on IWALK Day. Throughout the school year, the school reinforces its one-day event with monthly Walk to School events led by teachers and other staff members. To top off their comprehensive approach, this school has also incorporated an element of evaluation, keeping close count of the number of walkers each year, and giving pre- and post-tests to gauge student knowledge of safety rules. Brought together with great splash and fanfare on IWALK day, it is the comprehensive, integrated and sustainable program that led our panel to award Peter G. Schmidt
The gift off 30 pairs of Brooks Running Shoes, valued at $2,100, is made possibly because of the generous sponsorship of Brooks, a company that has supported the IWALK Challenge twice now. Thank you, Brooks, for helping Peter G. Schmidt students walk to school in style!
Winner of the PE Equipment Prize!
Grass Valley Elementary School in Camas
At the southeastern border of the state, Grass Valley Elementary School held its first-ever IWALK event with a Walking School Bus full of energetic neighborhood students. This event caught the attention of the judges because of the impressive physical feat by participants; the school’s first ever Walking School Bus route was nearly two miles long! Starting in a neighborhood where students are exclusively bused or driven, walking champion Aunna Elm explained that their group made quite a splash. “By the time we arrived at our first major road crossing,” she explained, ” we had the attention of drivers, other walkers and cyclists, and our school crossing guard was grinning ear to ear.” With a steadfast message of safety and exercise, event organizers aim to change the way their community views school travel. Several parents said they had often considered walking to school with their children in an effort to build more exercise into their day, but hadn’t been motivated until this event. With safety vests, lollipop signs, and community connections, they now have the structure to keep it going. The local press even ran a story to highlight the Walking School Bus. At the end of their walk, students ran off to enjoy morning recess and were in great spirits to start their school day. Several children asked when the next Walking School Bus would be. Keep up the good work Grass Valley!
Winner of the Skyline Socks Prize!
Robert Frost Elementary School in Kirkland
Strong community partnerships made Robert Frost Elementary’s inaugural IWALK event stand out to our panel of judges. In addition to the students, staff and PTSA families, this school’s event was attended by local firefighters, EMTs and police. Local utility groups shared their enthusiasm for safe walking to school by donating flashlights, safety vests and other incentives for walkers. Most impressively, local government put out the red carpet for this event! Two weeks prior to this IWALK event, students and staff attended a Kirkland City Council meeting to participate in the Mayoral proclamation to estabilish “Walk Your Child to School Week.” It was exciting for both the parents and children to see how City government works and to be part of such an exciting local hearing. The actual day of event was held on Wednesday morning, October 22nd, in the middle of Kirkland’s Walk Your Child to School Week.
Robert Frost Elementary was chosen as the recipient of the Seattle Skyline Socks Prize, which means they will receive 25 pairs of the high-quality athletic socks featuring the skyline that’s visible from their shores. Congratulations on such a successful event, Robert Frost Elementary!
The schools highlighted here participated in the 2014 Feet First IWALK Challenge and won prizes for their outstanding efforts. But those are just three of the many schools that were involved! Stay tuned in to learn about more students and families from all over Washington that had fun walking to school together while making a positive difference in their communities. Our next posting will announce three additional winners from the 2014 Feet First IWALK Challenge.