Douglas Fir (accompanied by City of Surrey transportation engineers Tim Kooistra and Adrian Yau) greets students arriving at Jessie Lee Elementary Wednesday morning

Douglas Fir (accompanied by City of Surrey transportation engineers Tim Kooistra and Adrian Yau) greets students arriving at Jessie Lee Elementary Wednesday morning

South Surrey students on a roll for safety

Dozens of Jessie Lee Elementary students participated in a Walk & Roll to School Week event.

A little bit of rain did not dampen the spirit of participation among dozens of Jessie Lee Elementary students and parents last Wednesday as they biked, scootered or walked to school en masse from Peninsula Village.

Being high-fived by a tree – City of Surrey mascot, Douglas Fir – when they got there was an added bonus.

RCMP hand out stickers“This is the best day,” one student exclaimed before heading onto the school grounds for celebratory snacks and stickers.

The students convened at the shopping centre, in the 15400-block of 24 Avenue, at 8 a.m. Wednesday to travel to school together as part of Walk & Roll to School Week, a initiative that encourages safe and active travel to and from school.

It was also part of the city’s Active Schools Program, which is focused on creating a safe and friendly environment, while building a livelier community and healthier youth.

In addition to Douglas Fir, officers with Surrey RCMP’s youth and bike units participated in the festivities, handing out stickers and chatting with the kids.

School principal Carol Davison described the turnout – 60 to 80 kids – as “great,” noting that about one-third of Jessie Lee’s 303 students had taken the walk-to-school challenge to heart every day that week. Wednesdays will continue to be walk-to-school day throughout the year, she said.

Efforts are ongoing to build confidence in the practice, Davison said.

“We’re trying to break that perception that it’s not safe, and that it takes longer,” she said, noting it took her seven minutes to walk to the school from Peninsula Village – “and I was walking with a kindergartener.”