Walking school bus rolls through Kilauea

KILAUEA — “We’re doing well because we haven’t fallen once,” a Kilauea Elementary School student told Bev Brody, the Get Fit Kaua‘i coordinator, Wednesday.

The student was one of more than a hundred students, parents and staff who turned out for Kilauea School’s first walking school bus.

“This event is now known as Walking Wednesdays,” Brody said. “The fourth Wednesday of the month is designated Walking Wednesday, and in addition to Kilauea School, the Kapa‘a Elementary School, Koloa School, Kapa‘a High School, and possibly Kalaheo Elementary School are hosting walking school buses.”

Brody said she wasn’t sure about O‘ahu or Maui, but there were several schools on the Big Island who were attempting to do walking school buses too.

Stifled just a degree by jet lag from her trip to Minneapolis and the National Safe Routes to School convention, Brody was joined by Jenn Linton, the Get Fit Kaua‘i Safe Routes to School coordinator; Bill Arakaki, the Kaua‘i Area Complex superintendent; and Larry Dill, the county engineer, representing Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.

“We have a lot of new ideas to work with for Safe Routes to School,” Brody said. “The biggest news is we have Lyle Tabata, the county’s deputy engineer, being the county liaison for the Safe Routes to School. He went to the convention with us with Get Fit Kaua‘i paying for his trip.”

The designation of Tabata as the county’s Safe Routes liaison coincided with the mayor’s community update on his Holo Holo 2020 vision, Tuesday night in Lihu‘e, where departments and personnel would be dedicated toward a project, the Safe Routes being one of the 38 objective projects in Holo Holo 2020.

Linton was pleased with the turnout of students and parents, noting there were 110 students participating from the 313 students who attend Kilauea School.

Jody Drisko of Get Fit Kaua‘i said in addition to the students who walked from the Kilauea Neighborhood Center to the school along Kilauea Road, turning onto Kolo Road, there were a bunch of students who were walking on the school grounds.

Participants were treated to a healthy breakfast snack following the walk which took less than half an hour, the walking school bus receiving a lot of help from Kaua‘i Police Department officers as well as Bill Troutman, a Kilauea resident, who accompanied the group on his bicycle and making the trip across Kilauea Road to pick up students waiting to join the walking school bus.

“I believe this is one of the schools where we had the largest number of pick-ups,” Linton said.

Uluwehi Pavao-Cypher, a kindergarten student, was the winner of the bicycle given away.

Linton said another bike will be given away when Kalaheo School is highlighted Sept. 28 on Walking Wednesday.

The Kalaheo School walking school bus will leave the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center with the school as its final destination.

The Safe Routes to School programs enable community leaders, schools and parents across the United States to improve safety and encourage more children, including those with disabilities, to safely walk and bicycle to school while helping to reduce traffic congestion near the school, and improve health and the environment.

Visit www.getfitkauai.com for more information.

• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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