Walk this way

Local schools step out for Walk to School Day
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal staff writer
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Walking to school is nothing new to Auburn Elementary fourth-grader Desirea Guffey. Desirea did notice quite a change from her routine Wednesday, as hundreds of her classmates also opted to head to school on foot, in celebration of International Walk to School Day. “It’s good exercise,” she said. “It’s good to walk.” Auburn Elementary parents, students and teachers formed a bit of a parade Wednesday morning, meeting at Richardson Drive and Caballo Circle and walking to school together. Skyridge and Rock Creek schools also held walk-to-school days during the week. Desirea’s grandmother, Rosemary Guffey, also walked to school Wednesday. “I think it’s a great idea because it’s great exercise and it’s safe for them,” she said of Walk to School Day. Jim Owens, coordinator for Safe Kids Placer County, said there are multiple reasons behind the annual walk. “Children are very susceptible to being injured and killed as pedestrians,” he said. “We’re teaching them how to walk around school and to recognize hazards, looking both ways, making sure vehicles see you before you step into the street.” Solvi Sabol, with the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency, said Walk to School Day is also a great way to show students and parents that there are many ways, aside from riding in a car, to get to and from school. “I think so many children today don’t get to experience what it’s like, walking to school, and this gives them the opportunity, and hopefully when you involve the parents they discover this is a safe, fun and practical way to get to school,” she said. It was just as important to have parents participate in Wednesday’s walk, Owens said. “We invited parents out too because as drivers, they’re part of the problem, and they’re part of the solution,” he said. Third-grader Jenna Tribur normally rides the bus to and from school, but walked Wednesday morning with her mother, Jennifer Tribur, and friend Maryn Garcia, a second-grader. “It’s awesome because we get exercise and because we’re safe,” she said. Mom Jennifer Tribur appreciated the school-wide walk. “We thought it was important, just to keep the kids safe,” she said. “Even if you take the bus, there are still safety issues.” Tribur said what her daughter experienced Wednesday could help her if, for example, she walked home with a friend after school. Kelly Baraga, public information officer for the California Highway Patrol, said the hope is that Walk to School Day will inspire parents and kids to consider walking to and from school. “We’re trying to reinforce that it is actually safe for kids to walk to school,” she said. “In a community like this, it’s such a great way to get the kids outside. When we were kids, we didn’t even think about riding the bus or driving to school. Hopefully this will instill in them, even if they get out of their cars once a week and walk and get some fresh air, it benefits the children, it benefits the parents.” The Journal’s Loryll Nicolaisen can be reached at