Apprentices and Community Partners at Work

The rising sun shone brightly on the morning of Wednesday, October 6th -- perfect weather for Grinnell’s second annual participation in International Walk To School Day. Hailing from 64 different classes in 5 different schools, a total of 622 students walked to school.

Traveling as family, friends, or enjoying the morning scents in quiet solitude, walkers and cyclists were found all throughout Grinnell. For those unable to walk from home, the Grinnell Area Arts Council (old Stewart Library) was designated as the central meeting point. From here, walking school buses were “driven” by college student volunteers and local celebrities – including Grinnell College’s own Russ Motta, President Raynard Kington, and Rachel Bly – to Fairview, Bailey, Davis and the Middle School.

One particularly enthusiastic teacher from Bailey Park Elementary made a very special occasion of the event: Lisa Coffman invited both students as well as parents to hop onto her class’s walking school bus and then celebrate with a "tailgate" party at the school. “This event was successful because parents were involved and students were rewarded for participating … everyone celebrated by having donuts and juice boxes in the room,” says Mrs. Coffman. Not surprisingly, Mrs. Coffman’s class had the highest participation rate at Bailey Park. The classroom at each school with the highest percentage of walkers/cyclists earned $100 in Chamber Bucks for the teachers, a pizza party and and extra prizes for the classroom.

In addition to Coffman’s kindergarten class, the winning classes were Ms. Mann’s 3rd grade at Davis Elementary, Ms. Shaffer’s 2nd grade at Fairview Elementary, Ms. Brandt’s 5th grade at the Middle School, and both Mrs. Barker’s 1st hour English (a particularly small class) and Mr. David’s 1st hour Industrial Tech at the High School.

Grinnell College’s six Apprentices in Non-Profit Management organized the Walk to School Day logistics and prize distributions:  Ruth Solow (Grinnell Area Arts Council), Kate Eno (Imagine Grinnell), Alexa Reynolds (Grinnell Chamber of Commerce), Maia Olsen (Ahrens Foundation), Phillip Brogdon (POW I-80), and Tyler Banas (Grinnell College Community Enhancement).

The organizers would like to credit all event sponsors: Imagine Grinnell, Grinnell Parks and Recreation, Grinnell College, Grinnell Police Department, Grinnell Chamber of Commerce, Grinnell Area Arts Council, The Claude W. & Dolly Ahrens Foundation, Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company, Grinnell Regional Medical Center and Poweshiek Iowa Development.  Special thanks go to Grinnell Police Department for managing traffic and safety, Total Choice Shipping for event banners, Iowa Department of Transportation for student giveaways, retail stores for donating prizes, celebrity volunteers and college students for leading walking buses, teachers and schools for participating, and lastly, all those who walked!

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