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Bike to School Day

Story Submitted (mtfrontdesk@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: Sep. 13, 2012 | Modified: Sep. 13, 2012

Hardin Park Elementary School is working on making it safer for their students to bike to school.

With more than 80 percent of the students living within a two-mile radius, the school could save on busing costs, while increasing their students’ health and level of physical activity, according to officials with the Appalachian District Health Department.

Hardin Park Elementary School received a new bike rack due to work of three of their seventh-grade students: Levi Marland, Katie MacKnight and Kelsey Marlett. These students ride their bikes to Hardin Park daily, but recognized that there were several other students biking long distances from the school who did not have sufficient places to park their bikes, officials said.

The students asked for a bike rack and got a lot more in the process. They learned the role of asking school administrators for something not accounted for in a budget. Along with that, they got their school principal, Mary Smalling, to support them in their endeavor.

“I was very impressed with these students who wanted to encourage their classmates to get more exercise and also be environmentally friendly,” Smalling said. “The students then took it another step by seeing the need we had in the form of bike racks and met with me to discuss how to make it possible for us to add additional bike racks to the school. They have learned a lot along the way and we love the new bike rack.”

After the students gained their principal’s support, they started taking bigger steps. They spoke with an engineer and designer about costs and dynamics for the bike rack.

With the new bike rack in place, Hardin Park Elementary School will host a Bike to School Day today to celebrate the new bike racks.

The bike rack installation was made possible through the Appalachian District Health Department’s Take Step Two Initiative.

“Take Step Two is focused on making our communities healthier places to live,” said Stephanie Craven, healthy youth policy coordinator. “This bike rack will encourage Hardin Park Elementary students to bike to school and engage in daily physical activity.”

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