BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - With police escort and crossing guards prepared, hundreds of students lined the side walks and paths on Wednesday to kick off the Berkeley Heights district-wide Walk to School events scheduled in October. Although the raindrops may have kept some students from participating, the schools were pleased with the a success of the town-wide initiative to raise awareness for Safe Routes to Schools.  

Children who walk or bike to school arrive awake, alert and ready to learn. Studies show that physical fitness contributes to academic success. Everyone benefits when more families choose to get an active start to the morning: with fewer drivers on the road, there are safer streets, and less car exhaust around your school for everyone walking and biking. And when you bike with your child to school, you’re also getting that natural energy boost from starting your day.

"The families who facilitate their child​ren walking to school are setting their kids up for a life of better health, independence and happiness," said Mountain Park Principal Jon Morisseau.

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Mountain Park Elementary School had 147 students participate; Hughes School 49; and Woodruff School had 111 students. And a pack of Columbia Middle School students met on Roosevelt Avenue with Principal Frank Geiger, who led the students across Plainfield Avenue with the crossing guard.

Hughes Principal Jessica Nardi believes the weather had a factor in the number of participants, but she said that much more students walk home daily. 

In addition to walking to school, students at Woodruff Elementary School walked around the neighborhood. "It was a tremendous success even with the raindrops," said Woodruff Principal Patti Gasparini.