SIMSBURY — Wednesday, Oct. 2 was the perfect fall day at Simsbury’s Latimer Lane Elementary School to hold a
Walk/Bike to School Day, and hundreds of students, parents, teachers, and
community leaders came out to support the effort. The event was planned to
coincide with October’s being International Walk to School Month as well as part
of the national Safe Routes to School initiative dedicated to improving the
environment around schools so that more children can safely walk and bike to
Board of Education Chair Lydia Tedone, First Selectman Mary Glassman, State Representative John Hampton, Deputy First Selectman Lisa Heavner and Selectman Shannon Knall donned their walking shoes and joined a group walking from the Latimer Lane rail trail parking lot to the school. Parent chaperones also led walk and bike groups to the school from 11 other neighborhood locations. The Simsbury Police Department provided outstanding support at multiple locations.
At Latimer Lane School, Superintendent Matt Curtis, Assistant Superintendent Sue Lemke, and Business Manager Burke LaClair greeted walkers and bikers with words of congratulations and coupons for treats, such as frozen yoghurt from TCBY. Local bike sponsors, such as The Bicycle Cellar, Ridgeline Bikes of Avon, and Bikers Edge, along with several other organizations, generously donated prizes for a drawing, including bike helmets and lights. Some students rang their bicycle bells, a reminder about one of the main objectives of the Safe Routes to School program—safety. Other goals of Safe Routes programs include promoting physical activity and educating students about the environmental impact of our transportation choices.
Said Superintendent Matt Curtis, “What a great opportunity for the school community to come together and promote a positive message about making healthy lifestyle choices.”
Added Curtis, “When our students walk or bike to school, they are setting a great example for all of us.”
Latimer Lane PTO President Rose Niehay stood alongside Safe Routes to School Chair Debbie Thibodeau at the greeting table basked in the glow of the students’ smiling faces and morning sun. They had been expecting 300 total participants—and they were not disappointed with the turnout. In fact, 62 percent of Latimer Lane’s student body participated.
Said Thibodeau, “For last year’s two events we had rain, and our participation rate was 50 percent. [This year] we’re so excited because we’ve gotten a sunny day and even higher participation.”