PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of students in the Pascagoula School District joined in with others around the country Wednesday for the annual Walk to School Day. The goal is to encourage kids to walk or ride their bikes instead of being driven to school.
Colmer Middle School cheerleaders pumped up the crowd as they walked to Jackson Elementary. Pascagoula High Band members trekked behind adding some musical fun.
"We are getting our kids out here ready, walking and getting that movement going this morning for real," staff member Shannon Triplett said.
This year's turnout was one of the largest ever for the walk. Those who participated say getting your blooding pumping and heart rate up can help combat obesity, something many children and adults in our state have struggled with for years.
"They talk about it in the news and nationwide. We want to really promote healthy lifestyle with our children," Triplett said.
The kids also see how taking a few steps a day can make a big difference. Currently, more than half of the students at Jackson either bike or walk to school.
"You really need a lot of exercise because it helps you process the food that you eat," student Devin Fortenberry said.
The back to school event is part of an even bigger project. The school recently received a $120,000 Mississippi Department of Transportation Grant to provide sidewalks and signage to keep kids safe.
"When you walk to school, some kids aren't paying attention to where they are supposed to and they walk in the middle of the road," student Kyla Smith said.
"We are going to have our sidewalks out here, so the kids aren't running back and forth across the street. The cars will be able to see the kids out here walking,' Triplett said.
The walkers at Wednesday's event said they are looking forward to the street makeover to help keep everyone moving safely in the right direction.
Jackson Elementary is the second school in the Pascagoula School District to receive a Safe Routes Grant.