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NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Over 100 Norwich University student-athletes walked to school with local Northfield elementary, middle, and high school students on Wednesday, Oct. 7 as a part of the 11th annual International Walk to School Day.
Norwich University head women’s volleyball coach and Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) chair Ashlynn Nuckols helped coordinate the event with Northfield Elementary School physical education teacher Mike Gonneville.
The walk started at 7:15 a.m. on Wednesday from the Sabine Field gate on the Norwich University campus, with over 200 people embarking on the route along Main Street to the Northfield Elementary School.
Starting in 2004, the Walk to School Day program aims to get kids moving more and be more active. It is part of the Safe Routes to School program, which is a national program to try to encourage communities to create safe environments for kids to walk and now bike to school.
Gonneville praised Norwich for its involvement with the event which helps make Northfield’s International Walk to School event a bit different than most.
“Most of the other schools in the state don’t have one aspect of the International Walk to School Day that Northfield enjoys, the Norwich connection,” he said. “I think our environment is unique, combining our kids with the college kids. Four years ago was the first time we did it with Norwich and the student-athletes and coaches have been heavily involved since.”
Gonneville went on to say that the International Walk to School Day isn’t the only involvement Norwich student-athletes have with the local community.
“We do a lot with the Norwich students in many different aspects of our school,” Gonneville said. Norwich has kids come into the classroom helping our students with reading and other activities. It’s been going on for the 38 years that I have been doing this. We’ve always had a great connection with the college, especially in supporting our elementary students.”
Nuckols, who is in her fourth year at helm of the NU volleyball program, coordinated the Norwich student-athlete participation in the event.
“This was a great event and opportunity for Norwich athletics and the Northfield Community to come together and support physical fitness,” she said. “We’re always looking for ways to give back to the community. I was extremely pleased with the large turnout we had of Norwich student athletes and we’re hoping we can continue to build on this event next year.”