Thursday, April 27 will remain in many Amarillo Independent School District staff, students, and parents minds as a phenomenal day. Out of 20 Amarillo area schools, Lamar Elementary was chosen for the center of attention for this first annual Texas Bike & Walk to School Day.
PTA parents were assigned four staging areas to gather students for the walk and bike ride procession to school. Helium-filled balloons were handed out as children of all ages gave a hardy “come join us” greeting. Their march to school was exhilarating on this chillier than usual Amarillo spring morning. The crowd of students joined Texas Bicycle Coalition Outreach Coordinators Fernando Martinez and Joyce Cunningham, school staff and parent welcome committee to receive their juice and bike safety workbook rewards at the front of the school.
The City of Amarillo was represented by Community Relations Coordinator Lyndy Forrester, and Director of Community Services Vicki Covey. Community Services is the department responsible for the bike lanes that are showing up around schools throughout Amarillo.
Of the 370 Lamar Elementary students, 170 participants crowded around as News Channel 10 and Pro-News 7 broadcast the event on local television. Everyone wanted to get into the act as kids waved and shouted for the cameras throughout their arrival. One teacher and one student, both wheelchair-bound, enjoyed the extra company but didn’t quite see what all the fuss was about since this is their usual mode of arrival. Special thanks to Blockbuster and Wal-Mart for donating balloons and juice.
This event is an important component of Texas Bicycle Coalition’s BikeTexas Safe Routes to School program. The program’s goal is to unite communities toward the common goal of establishing and maintaining safe, active and healthy lifestyles for children and safer, healthier communities for everyone. Adult guidance on Six Simple Steps for Staying Safe re-enforced some do’s and don’ts on the trip to school for Lamar students.
Participation by other area schools was enhanced by the availability of free promotional materials on the BikeTexas website. Please join us next year in celebrating Texas Bike & Walk to School Day across the Amarillo area!