Walk to School Day at Local Elementary School Sponsored by Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Sept. 26, 2007 – The Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation at Southeast Missouri State University in cooperation with the PTA of Alma Schrader Elementary School is sponsoring “International Walk to School Day ” Oct. 3 at Alma Schrader Elementary School in Cape Girardeau.

International Walk to School Day is now in its 11th year and is expected to include more than 5,000 schools from all 50 states. The idea is to walk to school together with a purposeᾰto promote health through physical activity, safety and concern for the environment. Walkers from across the country will join children and adults in 40 countries around the world. The Wednesday event is part of a week of festivities celebrating International Walk to School Week Oct. 1-5.

University faculty and students from Southeast’s Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation will join in the walk to promote healthful walking for students and their families. The various programs of the Department such as health management, physical education, recreation, and sports management all emphasize and promote active lifestyles.

“This event is a great way to emphasize the healthy aspects of walking to school and highlight ways to help make walking more attractive as a way to get to school,” said Dr. Mark  Langenfeld, professor of health, human performance and recreation, and biology.

Langenfeld made a presentation in 2006 at the International Congress on Obesity in Sydney, Australia, discussing the successes of the local event and the Walk to School movement.

“Promoting walking to school is one worthy strategy to help increase the levels of physical activity among our children,” Langenfeld said. “It was wonderful to be able to highlight our Cape Schools and Cape Girardeau at an international forum.”

Alma Schrader Elementary School has another reason to celebrate International Walk to School Day this year. The local event will celebrate the new neighborhood sidewalks along the school’s property and along primary approach streets. The inaugural event in 2005 highlighted the lack of sidewalks near the school. The new sidewalks completed last year provide safe routes to school for the children of Alma Schrader Elementary School as well as enhance the walkability of the entire neighborhood, Langenfeld said.

Students are being encouraged to walk to school on Oct. 3, along with teachers, parents, grandparents, and other community members who wish to participate. The nearby Dennis Scivally Park will be the gathering point for walkers. Walkers can begin gathering at 7:30 a.m. in the park at the shelter house. School staff, PTA members, and others will be present as people arrive together. A police officer also will be present and will assist traffic control as parents drop their children off at the park. All assembled walkers will leave the park at 7:45 a.m. and walk to Alma Schrader School on the new sidewalks along Masters Drive and Randol Avenue. The group will arrive at the school shortly before 8 a.m.