By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – About 300 Carver Elementary students took a walk through their neighborhood early Wednesday morning to celebrate International Walk to School Day.
The event began in 1997 in communities around the United States to promote both healthy lifestyles and safe routes to school. In 2000, Canada and the United Kingdom joined in celebrating the day.
Carver Principal Terry Harbin decided to have his entire kindergarten and first-grade school participate. Students met near the school’s gym and walked from there up Freeman Street, across Barnes Street, past New Providence Church, onto North Green Street and then into the school’s parking lot.
“We have been in school for 15 minutes, and we have already accomplished so much,” Harbin told the students after they completed their exercise. “I am so excited we have done things that have helped us become physically fit.”
Carver was one of two Tupelo schools to hold Walk to School events on Wednesday. Several Joyner Elementary students and their parents met at 7 in the parking lot of Oak Ridge Church and walked from there to the school.
About 125 Walk to School events were held in Mississippi on Tuesday, according to a website for the event, www.walktoschool.org. Those included schools in Verona, Okolona, Oxford, Starkville and Holly Springs.
Carver’s students were joined on Wednesday by several community members, including City Councilwoman Nettie Davis and Park Hill Neighborhood Association President Lynda Beverly.
“This is a great idea because exercise is so important,” Beverly said. “We especially need it in Mississippi because we have that tag on us as the most obese state.”
Tupelo Mayor Jack Reed Jr. attended both of the city school district’s events, noting that they tied in well with his Healthy Tupelo initiative.
“I want to promote the whole attitude of walking as something you want to do, not something you have to do,” Reed said. “It was great having neighbors here as well. The whole pedestrian lifestyle is something I’m trying to bring back to Tupelo.”