Students from every school in Brawley met up at parks and streets to walk to school with their friends, parents, and teachers. The event was created to show the importance of a healthy lifestyle along with the significance of community unity.
Phil Swing School, with the longest trek for students in the district, took it a step further. Their mile long walk began at Brawley Union High School early in the morning before school, and took the children on a trip down River Drive toward Phil Swing. Brawley police officers and Brawley fire department personnel joined the children on the walk along with other city officials, teachers, and families.
Members of the Brawley Union High School band led the younger students down the mile walk all the way to the school gate, and the Brawley police kept the road clear for students as they made their way down River Drive.
Brawley Police Department Commander Brett Houser said this year many students were asking him and his officers questions as they walked along with them to school. Houser said he and his officers responded with answers and advice on how to keep safe in the streets, although he added that Brawley is a safe city for the children already.
“We have a really safe city to walk to school,” said Houser. “The kids had a great time.”
Adriana Velasco, a sixth grade teacher at Phil Swing and a parent as well, said the whole experience has been good for the children. “It gives the school a sense of family atmosphere with parents joining us, so I think it’s real important for the students,” said Velasco.
“It was awesome, we all had a good time,” said fifth grader Ehran Martinez.
“I like it, it brings a lot of people together for the walk,” said Cassandra Ibarra, a sixth grader.
Brawley Mayor Sam Couchman made the walk with his granddaughter and was one of many residents who decided to walk with their children Wednesday morning.
“It’s a celebration. It teaches the kids about fitness, about comradeship and working together,” said Couchman.
Walk to School Day was established in 1997 in Chicago and Los Angeles when the first events were led by both city mayors. The annual event highlights the benefits of walking and the priority for safety, offering communities and elected officials a chance to highlight the importance of safe options for walking or biking for the trip to school and beyond.
According to walkbiketoschool.org, over 5,100 schools in all 50 states and Washington D.C. registered this year in record breaking numbers for Walk to School Day events. October is also designated as Walk to School Month.