by Manolis Priniotakis
Chair, Murch Safe Routes to School
More than 100 children and parents from the Murch School community marched to the 36th Street school in “Walking Buses” on Wednesday, October 3rd in celebration of National Walk to School Day.
Also as part of the festivities for the day, Murch parents and students represented their school by wearing its blue and yellow colors and delivered thank you cards to the D.C. Department of Transportation crossing guards stationed every day during the week at four busy intersections around the school. The school also held a contest of guessing how many steps it takes to walk around the block at Murch.
Now in its 15th year, National Walk to School Day raises awareness of the benefits of walking or biking to school – to include both health and environmental – while also emphasizing the importance of pedestrian and cyclist safety. Murch was one of 17 schools holding events for National Walk to School Day in the District and one of more than 3,000 nationwide.
Murch also marked the day with several other fun and educational activities. On Tuesday, October 2nd, students attended an all-school assembly with the theme, “Be healthy, be active, be safe.” During the assembly, they heard about the importance of eating healthy and exercising from students and school officials and about pedestrian safety from a representative from D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS). Officers from FEMS Engine 31 and the Metropolitan Police Department’s 2nd District were also at Murch on Wednesday to greet and congratulate the walkers as the “Walking Buses” arrived.
The highlight of day for the students, however, was clearly a contest during the Wednesday recesses to guess how many steps it would take Murch Principal Chris Cebrzynski to walk all the way around the block surrounding Murch, with the closest guess from each class winning a pedometer. He completed the walk three times, with counts – for the record – of 636, 667, and 664 steps. Guesses came in wide range, with some winners being only 14 and 17 steps off the accurate count for the walk during their recess.
National Walk to School Day is associated with the Safe Routes to School program, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Transportation, in partnership with DDOT for Washington. In 2009, Murch won the national James L. Oberstar Safe Routes to School award for its innovative program, developed and implemented by parent Robin Schepper (who wrote about the joys of walking our neighborhood for Forest Hills Connection), working with then-ANC Commissioner Jane Solomon, in recognition of excellence in building community support and infrastructure for safe walking and bicycling to school, as well as for overturning a school policy that discouraged walking and bicycling to school.
For more information, contact Murch Safe Routes to School Chair Manolis Priniotakis at firstname.lastname@example.org.