LOCKHART — The Union County School District celebrated International Walk to School Day on Wednesday, with each school hosting activities to encourage walking and bicycle safety.
Approximately 300 students, parents, faculty and staff of Lockhart School participated in a program in the school gymnasium before walking around the school. Special guests at the program included Superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall, school board member B.J. McMorris, District Safety and Security Coordinator Randy Crocker, Sheriff David Taylor and Capt. Robbie Hines.
“We invited parents to come in because we wanted to focus on the idea of traditional family, as well as school family, being important factors in teaching our students safety and responsibility,” said Principal Betsy Trakas.
Trakas credited Coach Mike Massey with organizing Wednesday’s program.
Each class made a banner to illustrate International Walk to School Day, and awards were presented for Best Banner. For grades K-5, the award went to Ms. Vaughan’s first-grade, and for grades 6-8, the award went to Ms. Smith’s eighth-grade homeroom.
Golden Shoe awards were also presented to the class with the most guests in attendance. Ms. Vaughan’s first-grade won the Golden Shoe for grades K-5 and Ms. Crocker’s sixth grade won the Golden Shoe for grades 6-8.
Taylor spoke during Lockhart’s pre-walk program, focusing on a theme of responsibility.
“It’s very important to know that you will have to be responsible for the things you do,” Taylor said to the children.
Taylor asked several of the students individually what they want to be when they grow up, and they answered with occupations including doctor, nurse and teacher.
“You can’t get arrested and get in trouble with the law and have those jobs,” he said.
Taylor also talked about being responsible to be safe, explaining some of the rules regarding pedestrians and bicyclists. He made sure the students were aware that traffic signs must be obeyed, even on a bicycle. He also told them that it’s not smart to have earphones in both ears when walking or bicycling, as it could prevent them from hearing oncoming trains or sirens.
Taylor also reminded students that Halloween is coming up and they should celebrate responsibly. He said vandalism can be a popular activity during Halloween, due mostly to peer pressure.
“Don’t let people influence you to do negative things you know you shouldn’t be doing,” Taylor said. “Your parents trust you, and the only person who can break that trust is you.”
He also addressed the parents in attendance.
“Parents and grandparents, if you smoke, you’re an influence. If you cuss, you’re an influence. If you go to jail, you’re an influence.”
Statewide, more than 194 schools and over 78,000 students, parents, educators and neighbors were expected to participate in International Walk to School Day on Wednesday and throughout the month.
International Walk to School Day is a global event where communities from over 40 countries walk and bike to school on a single day. It began as a simple idea — children and parents as well as school and local officials walking to school together on a designated day.
The S.C. Department of Transportation’s (SCDOT) Safe Routes to School Program provides materials and support to South Carolina’s International Walk to School Day events through the South Carolina Safe Routes to School Resource Center.
Walk to School events work to create safer routes for walking and bicycling and emphasize the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, reducing traffic congestion, creating concern for the environment and building connections between families, schools and the broader community.