Students walk down Church Street in Shaftsbury on their way to Shaftsbury Elementary School.
Students walk down Church Street in Shaftsbury on their way to Shaftsbury Elementary School. (Derek Carson)

SHAFTSBURY -- Shaftsbury Elementary School students participated in Vermont's third annual "Walk and Roll to School Day," marching from T&M Enterprises on Church Street to the school on Wednesday morning.

Safe Routes to School coordinator and Select Board chairman Tim Scoggins, one of the organizers of the event, said that kids who participated would be given a prize at the end of the walk. Prizes included pencils and stickers. Scoggins said SRTS provided punch cards that students could carry with them, and if they walk or bike to school 10 times in a year, they get an extra prize, such as backpack blinkers or bracelets.

Many students were dropped off by their parents, and three school buses dropped kids off at T&M so that they could participate. Students were escorted by parents, as well as after school program coordinator Megan Donckers and physical education teacher Howard Herrington. Scoggins waited at the doors of the school to hand out prizes.

A similar walk-to-school event had been planned for March, but after being postponed twice due to weather, Scoggins decided to wait until spring.

According to SRTS, the purpose of the event is to "help initiate conversations with your community about how walking and biking can enhance your health by increasing the amount of physical activity, improve air quality by reducing automobile emissions in your school zone, make the streets safer by relieving traffic congestion, help students arrive to school alert and ready to learn, foster community connection among neighbors, and promote independence in youth."

Scoggins has been involved in the Shaftsbury schools since moving to town four years ago. Scoggins, who began attending school board meetings in order to "take an interest and make sure my daughter was getting the best education possible." One of the first suggestions he made to the school board was to become involved with the SRTS program which he believed would make the town eligible for more in terms of government grants, and would promote safety for the kids. Scoggins says he hopes to organize another walk to school day in the fall.

Manchester Elementary Middle School recently joined the SRTS program, and had their own walk to school day on May 1.

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at dcarson@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB