Rain and cold threatened a walk to school for a group of students from Russell Boulevard Elementary School. But Jyquintha Lambert loved it. Not allowing anything to spoil her first time on the school’s monthly walk, the fifth-grader from New Orleans trudged on the mile-long trek with about 20 of her classmates, enjoying every minute of it.
“It’s very exciting to walk,” Jyquintha said. “It gets you ready for your day.”
The 12-year-old and her family came to Columbia last fall after Hurricane Katrina. Jyquintha said she likes everything about the city, including her new school and even cold temperatures she had rarely experienced in New Orleans.
Walks from the Activity and Recreation Center are part of Russell’s program to promote physical fitness and community-building.
“I think it’s cool, because it gets people exercising,” said 11-year-old Justice Boyes.
Principal Ed Schumacher said he has received favorable feedback from students and parents, who are invited to join their children on the walks from the ARC to school.
“It’s been very positive,” Schumacher said. “It’s worth doing every month.”
At the request of parents and community advocates for physical fitness, Russell is involved in other activities to boost fitness and a sense of togetherness.
In the last year, the school has sponsored a bike ride, a dance and a night dedicated to jumping rope, among other events. Schumacher said holding a variety of activities offers children and parents a choice of how to spend their time.
“It’s a chance to come in and do something for about an hour that involves family,” he said.