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'Energy and excitement': Carrboro Elementary celebrates Walk & Roll to School day

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An Estes Elementary School Parent walks their child home from school on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023.

Carrboro Elementary School students and their families met at Wilson Park on Wednesday to walk, bike and roll to school. 

Walk & Roll to School Day is an annual event organized by the National Center for Safe Routes to School that encourages students across the country to use alternative forms of transportation to school. This year marked the 27th year of this event. 

Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils, who joined the students on the walk, said one purpose of the event is to advertise why it is important for the community to have safe ways other than cars to get around. 

He said this cuts down the use of single occupancy vehicles, protects the environment and promotes healthy behaviors. Seils added that the Town is prioritizing ways to provide safe and accessible routes to school, so there are options beyond using a car. 

“The Town of Carrboro is really intentional about creating bike paths and walking paths so that it's a safe community for students and families to have the opportunity to walk and bike,” Carrboro Elementary School principal Jennifer Halsey said. 

Walk & Roll to School Day also aims to promote regular physical activity for students. 

Carrboro Elementary School nurse Ingrid Marzuola said that it is important to start a regular routine of movement early in life. 

“You don't have to set aside special time necessarily, but it can be part of what you normally do,” she said. “Establishing those habits at an early age is important to maintaining those habits throughout your lifetime.”

By walking to school, children can incorporate regular physical activity into their daily lives. Regular physical activity helps children build strong bones, muscles and joints and decreases the risk of obesity, according to the National Center for Safe Routes to School

Halsey said that in addition to benefiting the kids’ health, the event is great for community building, which she thinks is why it has become such a strong tradition. 

She said she thinks everyone's favorite part of the event is the opportunity to come together and have a common start to the day. 

"So whether they ran into each other as they were walking this morning or converged on the same street as they were biking and got to talk and show each other their bikes, kids came into school together that don't normally get to come into school together," she said. "And so the kids were excited about that.” 

Seils said the event builds on great habits that already exist in the community.

“This is an opportunity to celebrate that and show more students and their parents that it is possible for many of us to get to school that way in a safe manner,"  he said. 

Marzuola said that when students arrived, they were greeted at the bus circle with music, coloring sheets and other fun activities. She added that the extra excitement was like a surprise party because many of the students were not expecting the celebration. 

“It was just this really fun moment of extra energy and excitement for the day that we don't normally start off the day with,” she said. “That was really special.”

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com


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