Hundreds of students, teachers and families flooded Elepaio Road Thursday during the combined Walk to School with Kekaha School and St. Theresa School.
“This is the first time Kekaha Elementary School is participating,” said Marilyn Asahi, Kekaha School principal, who joined the corps of teachers flanking the sea of gold- and green-shirted students. “Last year, we were called, but it was just too busy. This year, I wanted to make sure we had full participation. There are children who have breakfasts, and they’re being walked over following their meal because I don’t want them left behind.”
The school also added incentives such as bicycle giveaways and class celebrations to encourage student and teacher participation from the 320-student population.
One of the aspects of the Walk to School program, coordinated by the Safe Routes to School and Get Fit Kauai programs, is to raise awareness of student safety.
“Last year, we had a student hit by a car,” Asahi said. “Since then, there has been a crosswalk installed on Kekaha Road. I spoke with the mayor this morning, and he said the equipment is here, they just need to schedule the installation for the flashing lights. This is one of the safety concerns parents have had.”
The route started at the lot fronting Kekaha Neighborhood Center, where students from both schools collected. Both schools traversed the Elepaio and Alae Road intersection and trooped along Elepaio Road before the Kekaha School group turned off at Io Road to Iwipolena Road and completed the loop at the school’s back yard.
The St. Theresa group continued on Elepaio to their school, turning off at the Kala Road junction.
“We’ve got the students doing the Morning Mile once they reach the campus,” Asahi said. “This is a program created by one of our teachers where the students do a lap around the back field. They stop for water and head to the cafeteria for morning assembly.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.