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Students brave weather on Walk to School Day
Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy students and parents, from left, Mandy Clark, Chris Romberg, Mary Griffin Romberg, Sarah Clark, Hannah Cadenhead, Anna Diaz and Sara Cook, walk along Enota Avenue on Wednesday as they participate in the annual international Walk to School Day. - photo by Tom Reed

Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy students braved the rain and hoofed it to school Wednesday morning to celebrate Walk to School Day.

About 75 students gathered at Green’s Grocery and the Elks Club before school and trekked to Enota, school parent Cindy Bryant said.

This is the fifth year Enota students have participated in the international Walk to School Day that promotes exercise and environmentally friendly alternatives to carpooling. Gainesville Mayor Myrtle Figueras and other city officials accompanied students on the walk.

Enota was one of about 3,000 schools nationwide to participate.

Curtis McNeely, a parent of two sons who attend Enota, walked Wednesday with his kids to school. He said since his family lives within a couple of blocks of school, he’s all for walking to school when his 4-year-old son starts school at Enota next fall.

“Next year, we’ll be walking to school everyday,” he said. “We walk every other night anyway. We’ll save gas and get exercise. And we all can use some exercise.”

Bryant said less than half of students who live within a mile of school walk or bike to school even once a week. It shows, too. Between 1976 and 2004, the percentage of overweight children ages 6 to 11 almost tripled, she said.

There are benefits for folks who don’t have kids in school, too.

Studies in some cities show that 17 to 26 percent of morning rush-hour traffic can be school related, Bryant reported.

She said she often walks her daughter, Adeline, who is in second grade, to Enota.

Bryant said there’s also a group of Enota parents who live far from the school but do a walking bus. She said about six families participate in the walking bus where they park their cars in the neighborhood and then walk a few blocks to school.

She said it’s a great time for parents to spend quality time with their kids.

“We have more time to talk,” Bryant said. “And kids like it.”