A group of about 63 Marion Elementary School students, faculty, parents, and emergency responders gathered before school Oct. 9 on southeast corner of Main and Freeborn Sts. for International Walk to School Day.
International Walk to School Day is global event that involves communities from more than 40 countries walking and biking to school on the same day.
Participants ate breakfast pizza, drank juice, and answered questions about walking to school safely.
Police Chief Tyler Mermis used large cards — made by Safe Kids coordinator Sondra Mayfield — as a visual aid.
Participants raised hands and shouted out answers about visibility, right-of-way, proper clothing, and the correct side of the street for a pedestrian to walk.
After the Q-and-A, several “Stop for Pedestrian” signs printed in both English and Spanish, and a couple different banners stating “Walk this Way” were given to students, who were not shy to wave their signs at passing motorists.
Wearing a neon green reflective vest, Mermis led the group north across Main Street after pausing to look both ways and on further up Freeborn where there were special road signs set up for the kids to identify as they walked to school.
Marion Elementary Principal Justin Wasmuth said student and parent participation had increased from last year.
“The kids get a kick out of being together,” Wasmuth said. “Most of them are usually dropped off at school by their parents. Maybe this will help change their idea about distance.”