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Bronxville Students, Parents Walk to School This Week

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – Bronxville Elementary first-grader Isabela Fenner walks the half-mile to her school daily and encourages her classmates to do so this week. The four children of the Conneally family, Bronxville residents whose ages range from 7 to 11, also vowed to do so Wednesday morning.  Fellow resident Eileen Marshall multi-tasked Tuesday afternoon by walking her dog, Teddy, while escorting her children and their friend back home from school.

The Bronxville School District is encouraging its students to “Walk to School” all this week with the hopes of breaking dependency on vehicles to benefit the environment and promote healthy habits. Village officials, the Bronxville Police Department and the PTA are all backing the effort, which for the first time is a week-long initiative.

“We’ve extended it to a week rather than just one day as in the past to give parents an opportunity to play with different ways to get to school,” elementary school Principal Thomas Wilson said. “Part of the idea is to look for some change in behavior that is sustainable over time.”

From neighborhood “walking trains,” where a few parents escort a group of students, to parents accompanying just their own children, “people very much want to be a part of it,” he added.

Bronxville Police Chief Christopher Satriale said officers will be present each morning at the major intersections surrounding the school to assist with the campaign.

“The police department is encouraging all residents to participate in Walk to School week. The reduction in vehicle emissions coupled with the beneficial exercise should inspire all to take part in this valuable initiative,” he said.

“Do it to save the planet,” said sixth-grader Eddy Connors, 11, as he walked the half-mile back home with schoolmates Eileen Marshall, 10, and John Marshall, 11.

“We do it occasionally, but will definitely do it more often now,” said Eileen Marshall, who shares he name with her daughter. “It’s good exercise and is a good way to spend time with the children. It’s more relaxing.”

David Fenner, father of Isabela, agreed and added, “It’s a good opportunity to talk quietly with your child.”

Josephine Conneally, whose four children are in first, second and fifth grade, said Monday’s rain and Tuesday’s cold wind dissuaded them from participating in the school-wide effort, but “they will definitely be walking” Wednesday from their home near Concordia College.  While it seems far, she said, they follow short-cuts that make it a 10-minute walking commute.

Wilson estimated this week at least 70 percent of school families are participating in the morning walks to school and approximately 40 percent are walking back home in the afternoon.  He speculated after-school activities or other events that were a further distance contributed to the drop off in the homeward strolls.

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