'Successful' International Walk to School Day in North Myrtle Be - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

'Successful' International Walk to School Day in North Myrtle Beach

 NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Wednesday is International Walk to School Day. Around the world, kids and parents took some time away from driving to enjoy the great outdoors and advocate a more walker friendly society.

At Ocean Drive Elementary school in North Myrtle Beach, parents parked about a half mile from the school and walked with their kids as they were guided by public safety officials and school staff.

This was the first year the school participated. Physical Education teacher Jon Hoffnagle had full support from the administration to sign the school up, but he wasn't sure whether parents would be keen to ditch the car a half mile away and walk.

"I kind of had a feeling this would go okay, but I didn't know it would go this well," Hoffnagle said.

Normally, parents sit in traffic that wraps around the side of the school entrance. "Traffic goes all the way down 11th avenue almost to [Highway] 17, but today there was no traffic,” only steady foot traffic between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.

Ocean Drive wasn't the only local school that participated. Schools from Conway, Florence, Dillon and Hartsville were some of 332 schools across South Carolina, which had the third highest participation in the nation.


“We're talking about exercising, health and nutrition and PE,” Hoffnagle said. “This was a great way to get moms and dads to participate with their kids. And we also talk about saving the planet because they're not driving that extra half a mile.

Many local communities are pushing governments to add more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly sidewalks and paths. The website for International Walk to School Day says on top of reducing congestion and helping the environment, it gets kids and adults the physical activity they need. And it also helps build support for infrastructure improvements in the community, like those sidewalks and paths.
At the end of the walk, even high-schoolers were out to cheer on the students participating.
"We'll definitely be doing this in the future," Hoffnagle said.

Normally over 300 cars drop kids off at Ocean Drive Elementary School each morning, but the count Wednesday morning was around 32.

Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved.
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