Students walk for health


By Anne Marie Amacher

All Saints Catholic School in Davenport was one of several schools that participated in the Healthiest State Walk Oct. 3. Eighth-grader Brad Heinrichs walks with his prayer buddy, kindergartner Allison Argo, while fellow classmate Lily Dieckmann walks with her prayer buddy, Angela Dinh.

Looking at the clock, All Saints Catholic School Principal Jeanne VonFeldt noticed it was time to get outside. She took off her sandals, put on walking shoes and socks, grabbed her cell phone and headed outside.
She joined students from the Davenport school’s preschool, kindergarten, seventh and eighth grades as they participated in the Healthiest State Walk Oct 3. The preschoolers were partnered with seventh-grade prayer buddies and kindergartners with eighth-grade prayer buddies.
As students neared the one-mile mark, which was eight times around the playground, VonFeldt called the office to prepare the next set of walkers to head outside.
VonFeldt said Pauline Thomsen’s middle-school science class measured the “track” to see how many laps it took to complete a mile. The school participated in the walk last year and agreed to do it again this year.
“It’s all about being healthy,” VonFeldt said as she visited with students while walking. “We promote wellness and being healthy.”
Healthiest State Initiative is a privately led public initiative intended to inspire Iowans and their communities to improve their health and happiness, according to the initiative’s website. To achieve that goal, individuals, families, businesses, faith-based organizations, not-for-profits and the public sector united Oct. 3 in an effort to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation by 2016.
Last year was the kick-off of the five-year Healthiest State Initiative. More than 290,000 people participated in last year’s walk, according to a news release from Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s office.
This year, most registered participants planned to walk around noon and were encouraged to walk a kilometer, approximately a 12-minute stroll.
St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School in Davenport had its older students walk with younger prayer buddies, said Principal Julie Delaney. This was the second year the school has participated.
“We know many students rarely get the chance to go for a mile-long walk, so this is a wonderful opportunity to show them how easy and fun it is to go for a walk with friends or family,” Delaney said. Students walked through the neighborhood along varying routes determined by the teachers.
St. Joseph Catholic School in DeWitt had its pre-kindergarten through eighth grade students, teachers and staff participate. Principal Sharon Roling said everyone walked 30 minutes through the St. Joseph neighborhood toward the end of the school day. The event was planned by the wellness committee.
“We were thankful for the beautiful day.”
Lourdes Catholic School students in Bettendorf spent their 20-minute recess Oct. 3 walking the school’s parking lot. Principal David Hobin reported all grades were participating.
St. Ambrose University in Davenport also participated. Students, faculty and staff walked at noon at the Center for Health Sciences Education building or from 4-5 p.m. outside the Rogalski Center.

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