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  • Last modified 86 days ago (Aug. 30, 2017)

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Students ‘ride’ the Walking School Bus

The wheels on this school bus go “left, right, left”

Staff writer

Hillsboro Elementary School’s healthiest school bus is not yellow, it has no seatbelts, it does not contribute to the traffic lines of both the buses and parents dropping students off at the school each morning, and it does not use gas.

This bus is student powered.

It’s the Walking School Bus, and it is in its fifth year of operation with about 30 students “riding” the bus, or rather, walking about one mile to get to school.

“The myth that little kids can’t walk a mile is truly a myth,” principal Evan Yoder said. “They certainly can. It’s really something.”

Yoder tries to walk with the students each day alongside Walking School Bus coordinator Ben Schmidt and other volunteers. Yoder said he used to have just 5-10 kids on the bus, and he has enjoyed seeing it grow larger each year.

“This gets a few kids some exercise early in the morning and lessens the congestion of traffic up at the school, which is always good, and that hopefully encourages more kids to ride their bikes or walk because they don’t have to worry about as much traffic,” he said. “And there’s other benefits besides exercise and traffic. Environmentally it is good, and the kids also enjoy getting to walk and talk here with their friends.”

The route starts at Trinity Mennonite Church, but students along the route will “jump” on the bus as it passes their houses.

“I wish we’d get more students on the bus because we walk by a number of houses that have kids or they are a short walk away,” Yoder said. “We’ve even had parents who live out in the country, but instead of bringing their kids to the school they meet us somewhere along the way.”

A few students from Hillsboro Middle/High School also ride the bus.

“I like the exercise and the fresh air,” Rylie Driggers, a sixth grader, said. “I wake up at 6:45. It’s super early, but it’s worth it.”

School starts at 8 a.m. for both elementary and middle/high schools.

Also waking up early for the bus are best friends Sophie Cassidy and Autumn Dykens, both first graders who enjoy holding hands as they walk to school.

“I get to walk to school with my friend,” Sophie said. “I like it.”

Autumn likes the walking, but she prefers when the bus moves a little faster.

“I get to run up front, it’s so much fun,” she said. “And it’s better with my friends.”

Last modified Aug. 30, 2017

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