Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Students, parents, staff, and community leaders across Greenville County put on their walking shoes this morning to participate in International Walk to School Day. They joined more than 300 schools across South Carolina and many others around the world to participate in this annual event.

Duncan Chapel Elementary hosted a parade from the Publix parking lot at University Square to the school. The event included the Travelers Rest High School band, Furman University cheerleaders, Councilman Willis Meadows, Representative Dwight Loftis, Interim Deputy Superintendent Leroy Hamilton, Assistant Superintendent Brenda Byrd, and hundreds of parents, students, and staff.

Rodney Oldham, Safe Routes to School Program Coordinator for South Carolina, was on hand for the parade and to announce that Duncan Chapel Elementary was one of only five schools in the state to receive a $400,000 Safe Routes to School Infrastructure Grant.

“The grant will be used to improve the sidewalks, pedestrian signage, and safety around the school,” said Oldham. “In reviewing the applications that came in, we were looking at basic needs, crash test data, and infrastructure as a whole. Duncan Chapel Elementary was one of the schools that was most deserving and will benefit from having these funds to improve the infrastructure.”

The school’s PTA spearheaded the campaign to apply for the grant. Bob Whitehead, who serves on the PTA board, explained that they wanted to do something to improve the safety of students and staff.

“We wrote the grant to include more crosswalks, improve the sidewalks, extend the sidewalks to Old Buncombe Road, and work with Furman University to create a connection to the Swamp Rabbit Trail so students will have a safer route to get to school,” he said.  “It will also give the children a healthier way to get to school, either by biking or walking.”

Oldham said South Carolina ranks third in country with 332 statewide events planned. South Carolina has held the number one spot for the last two years with the rate of participation in the events, meaning one out of every 4 elementary and middle schools in the state have signed up to participate. 

Other Greenville County Schools that participated in International Walk to School Day were A.J. Whittenberg Elementary, Armstrong Elementary, Augusta Circle Elementary, Blythe Academy of Languages, Brook Glenn Elementary, East North Street Elementary, Fountain Inn Elementary, Gateway Elementary, Grove Elementary, Heritage Elementary, League Middle Academy, Monarch Elementary, Monaview Elementary, Pelham Road Elementary, Plain Elementary, Rudolph Gordon Elementary, Simpsonville Elementary, Sterling  School, Stone Elementary Academy, Sue Cleveland Elementary, Summit Drive Elementary, and Westcliffe Elementary.

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