Walking to School

MANCHESTER - Manchester Elementary/Middle School participated in the first Vermont "Walk and Roll to School" Day on May 1. It was a beautiful morning with over 75 students, plus parents,siblings, strollers, bicycles, and even a few dogs enjoying the fresh air and sunshine while getting exercise.

A Manchester Police Department car led one of the groups, ensuring that other vehicles stopped at the crosswalks allowing attendees to cross safely.

A Manchester resident remarked to MEMS principal Sarah Merrill that it was great to see the sidewalks so congested.

Thanks to Stacy DeCesare, BSN student from SVC and Manchester resident, for helping to make the walk so successful. She fulfilled a 45 hour community project working with Carol Baringer, MEMS School Nurse, on promoting walking to school through newspaper articles and MEMS web newsletters, helping the PE teachers with Pedestrian Safety Curriculum activities for the K-4 students, attending the Safe Routes to School annual meeting, leading one of the walking groups, calling parents, and much more.

The day was so successful that MEMS is keeping the momentum going with "Walking Wednesdays" for the remainder of the school year. The plan is to continue with "Walking Wednesdays" in the fall. MEMS PE teacher, Pat Whalen, hopes to lead a group of student bicyclists from Riley Rink through the Manchester Recreation Center, to MEMS as a weekly event in the fall. A group was formed recently to create a "Travel Plan" with the help of VT SRTS Outreach Manager Abby Mattera. Other members of the group include Sarah Merrill, MEMS Principal, Gary Mears, Facilities and Transportation Director @ MEMS, Paul McGann, Manchester Police Department, Lee Krohn, Manchester Town Planner, Mark Anders, Regional Planner, Transportation Program @ BCRC, Carol Baringer, MEMS School Nurse, Brian Jennings, MEMS PE teacher, Andrew Putney, MEMS parent and Manchester resident, Stacy DeCesare, Manchester resident and former MEMS parent, and Nate Severance, MEMS student. The Travel Plan summarizes baseline information on the school and community, identifies challenges and opportunities to increase walking and bicycling to school, and prioritizes solutions for all 5 "E's," Education, Engineering, Encouragement, and Enforcement, and Evaluation.

For more information, contact Carol Baringer, MEMS School Nurse at 362-1597, extension 1127.


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