Lawrence sidewalks were busier than usual Wednesday morning. Groups of Sunset Hill Elementary School students and their parents abandoned cars and walked to school in support of National Walk to School Day.
The day promotes walking and biking to school to enhance a healthy lifestyle, reduce air pollution, and create safe routes for walkers and bikers.
Walk to School Day is part of an international event. It started out as an experiment in Great Britain in 1994 and today more than 30 countries participate. According to the Walk to School Web site, seven schools in Lawrence participated.
Organizers said Sunset Hill has participated in the event for more than 10 years.
"There's been a great buzz in the school this week about 'Oh my gosh, Wednesday is Walk to School Day. Are you walking with your mom?'" said Geri Hartley, PTO president. "It's really fun for the kids."
Once students reached school they were fed a breakfast of juice and muffins before heading to class.
"If you participate, you get muffins!" said Derek Allen-Dunn, a sixth-grader at Sunset Hill.
Students said they enjoy walking to school with friends.
"It's fun to walk with people and it's good exercise," said fourth-grader Cole Kissinger.
Some parents said the day is important because it promotes safety, and makes Sunset Hill more visible within the community.
"I think people forget that there's a school here," said Stephanie Stulsatz. "There's a lot of traffic on Ninth Street about this time (and most people drive their kids. This is a rarity to see this many kids walk."
Walking to school may be rare on any other day, but on Walk to School Day students would not be caught getting dropped of by car.