Norte once again invites families across Northern Michigan to join others from around the world to celebrate International Walk to School Day on Wednesday, October 7. Last year, approximately 1,100 students across the region laced up their tennis shoes and participated in the annual event.

This year’s celebration will forego a large gathering for each school due to the public health concern and the need for social distancing. Instead, Norte invites students, families, teachers and school administrators to organize into small teams, choose their meeting point and route and independently hit the paths and sidewalks.  

Students who are attending school online are encouraged to include a walk as part of the school day. They may do so as part of a team or on their own. As always, if students take the school bus, they may count the walk to the bus stop. Park and strolls also count—parents who drive their children to school are encouraged to park a few blocks away and finish the commute with a walk.

“We love Walk to School Day because a walk is a great way to start the day on any day,” says Norte Executive Director Ty Schmidt. “Instead of queuing up in a long, tedious car line, let’s kick start the day with a 10- or 15-minute walk with friends and family. I promise you’ll arrive fired up to learn.”

Norte asks participants to commit to the walk at their website and to report back how many walked in their team. From the results, the organization will crown the school with the biggest turnout The Most Walk-tastic for 2020. Last year’s award recipient was Northport Public School. Norte is also looking for route maps drawn by students that show off their favorite walk or bike route to school.

Northern Michigan Walk to School Day is made possible with generous support from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, TBA Credit Union and Traverse City Track Club. Their contributions helped inspire hundreds of students from more than two dozen schools across Northern Michigan to participate in the 2019 event. The goal for 2020 is to surpass 1,500.

There is no age requirement to participate. Every student in pre-K to 12th grade and all teachers, staff and principals in Northern Michigan are welcome to join the celebration.

To commit to walk on October 7 and register a school and team, please visit Norte’s website. If you are a parent or teacher interested in further information or need assistance with a route, contact Abby Havil via email or call 231-883-2453.