Bike to School Day at Gladys Noon Spellman

Safety Bear walking with the students!

Students reach the top of the hill with Safety Bear!

I am so glad to end the week with Bike to School Day at Gladys Noon Spellman in Cheverly, Maryland! There is so much to tell, I can barely write everything quick enough! Their Safe Routes to School program has all the right component and today showcased how safe, healthy and happy kids are when they can ride or walk to school.

The students all rode, walked or ran from Legion Park up two pretty big hills to get to school. The best part for me was the determination in their faces as they reached the top of the last hill and turned into the school. Big smiles and big eyes greeted us as we cheered the students onto their final destination. Once at school, the campus was buzzing with excited and really happy kids.

Huge thanks to physical education teacher Christine Gilliard-Arthur who champions Safe Routes to School in her classroom through pedestrian and bicycle education and in the school culture. When I arrived at the school, teachers were wearing Safe Routes to School t-shirts and the principal, Mrs. Susan Holiday was wheeling her bike out of school to head down to the Legion Park for the event. Physical Education Instructional Supervisor Amy Wiley was there to support the event from the school district.

County Executive Rushern Baker with Maryland Park Bicycles cyclists, Safety Bear and Christine Arthur-Gilliard and Amy Wiley.

County Executive Rushern Baker with Maryland Park Bicycles cyclists, Safety Bear Amy Wiley and Christine Gilliard-Arthur.

This was not just a school event, it was a community event. Town of Cheverly Mayor Michael Callahan and Council Members RJ Eldridge and Mary Jane Coolen joined the students as well as Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III. County Executive Baker noted the culture at Gladys Noon Spellman was special and the event was a success! Town of Cheverly Policy escorted the about 200 students who took over the streets on their trip to school!

Continuing the community commitment, cyclists from Maryland Park Bicycles also joined the students as escorts to ensure another level of safety. With a group this large, there are never too many eyes!

The Safe Routes to School movement at Gladys Noon Spellman was started in 2010 through the Greater Washington network with Tori Rhoulac-Smith working with the school as the Safe Routes to School coordinator. The initiative was then funded through Maryland Safe Routes to School. As Tori noted this morning, Safe Routes to School is now part of the culture. As the funding wraps up for the coordinator, bike education through physical education class will continue as will the commitment of the school and district staff and the community. We should all be inspired by the story of Gladys Noon Spellman-they have recognized the importance of being healthy and that walking and bicycling to school is part of their health. The entire school community has embraced Safe Routes to School and will sustain the movement!

Congrats again to the entire Gladys Noon Spellman community!

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