Saving the environment one pedal and foot at a time

Deepa Kollipara

1100 students expected to participate in the 5th annual Bike or Walk to School day.

More than a projected thousand students will embark on a journey on Wednesday, May 20 — a journey to school. The PTA, Environmental Commission, and parent volunteers will be hosting the 5th annual Bike or Walk to School day from 8:30 to 9:15 am.

This event was planned jointly by members of the MV Environmental Commission and Ms. Sarah Jensen in the Community Leadership class. According to PTA member Loy-Oppus Moe, AP Biology teacher Debbie Frazier was credited for originally starting the event. However, it was held solely by the PTA before the Community Leadership class became involved two years ago. Now, Bike or Walk to School Day has become an annual joint effort in which Environmental Commission officers publicize the event around school, Facebook, and School Loop while the PTA, along with parent volunteers, collect tickets and hand out food.

"Especially with the nice weather now, it’s a good way to help the environment. And I think it’s really fun to walk to school with your friends on a relaxing late start Wednesday," Environmental Commission member junior Shilpa Sure said.

Along with the other members of the Environmental Commission, Sure started planning for the event around March. Many changes will be witnessed this year, including Lincoln Elementary School and Kennedy Middle School’s combined involvement.

"We invited Kennedy and Lincoln to participate so it’s more of a community thing rather than just MVHS participating," Moe said. "We do see a lot of traffic congestion around Monta Vista, Lincoln, and Kennedy neighborhoods and the Bike or Walk to school program would mean less pollution and gas expenses, more individual responsibility, and less congestion."

Also new to this year, a third period class competition will replace the raffles of previous years. Students will collect tickets from parent volunteers dressed conspicuously in football jerseys, and will record their names and third period teachers while they enjoy the free breakfast at the rally court. The class with the largest ticket count will receive a free pizza party.

"It’s a good way to build teamwork with your class," Sure said.

Students who live farther away can be dropped off a block or two from school, as this still minimizes congestion around the school. Students are welcome to arrive in style by skateboard, scooter, or roller blades.

"As an added bonus, it’s good preparation for college where walking to classes from your dorms is no easy job. Now, when my kids come home from college, they actually want to walk [to MVHS]," Moe said.

Moe, on the behalf of the PTA and Leadership class, would like to thank Whole Foods, Noah’s Bagels, Lucky, Tartini’s, Amici’s, and Marie Callendars for their generous food donations and support.