Students walk to school despite windy weather

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Ande Jensen, 7, regularly walks to school with his brother and sister. But on Wednesday, his dad, Gary, joined them.

"It's better," Ande said. "It's funner with him around us."

Despite wind gusts up to 43 mph in Carson City on Wednesday morning, hundreds of elementary and middle school students participated in the annual Walk to School Day.

"The weather didn't scare us off," said Gary Jensen, who walked his children Ande, Jackson, 10, Brooklyn, 5, and Carter, 3, to Mark Twain Elementary School. "If it was raining, we probably would have thought twice about it."

Dan Allison, director of Carson City's Safe Routes to School Program, had encouraged parents to walk with their children.

He said schools throughout the district had a 10 to 25 percent participation rate, just about doubling the number of students who walk to school on a given day.

"Given the uncertainty of the weather, I think we did very well," he said.

International Walk to School Day was celebrated Oct. 7. However, Carson City delayed its recognition of the event because Fremont Elementary School was not in session last week.

Students who walked, rode bikes or skateboards were greeted at their school's entrance with prizes such as stickers and pencils.

Some parent-teacher associations organized breakfasts for participants.

For Eduardo Jacinto, who walked with his children Kevin Jacinto, 5, and Leslie Seguro, 10, the assortment of muffins and fruit was the only thing out of the ordinary.

"I always walk with them," he said. "I go every day, even if it's raining."

His presence is a comfort to daughter Leslie.

"It's good, so I can be safe," she said.

For others, it was their first time walking to school.

Leticia Servin, a teacher's aide at Mark Twain Elemen-

tary School, caught a ride with a custodian to the Tiger Drive area. Once there, she collected nearly 40 students who regularly ride the bus about two miles to school.

Instead, they formed themselves into a walking bus, traveling together, singing and discussing the health benefits of exercise.

"I would yell out, 'Are you tired?'" Servin recounted. "And they would yell back, 'No!' It was fun."

The school's mascot Willie the Wildcat met students at the entrance to the school along with Principal Laura Austin.

"It's a tradition here," she said. "We get really excited about it. What we're really celebrating is fitness."

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