I've commented before on how many mothers with strollers and people with dogs I've seen walking around my neighborhoods now the weather has turned nice. I'm even hitting the pavement more now that I don't need to add six layers of clothing just to avoid losing a limb to frost bite.
Aside from mamas and mutts, one thing that has struck me since I started my current job (and thus started commuting in the opposite direction of before) is the amount of kids who walk to school in one of the more affluent neighborhoods I drive through. Growing up where walking to school simply wasn't an option unless I really wanted the pioneer experience and rose with the dawn, the sight of middle- and high-schoolers walking to school took me aback. I thought that went the way of soda parlors and drive-in movies.
Redding.com notes a school district in California that is pushing for a comeback for strolling to class. I'm not entirely sure what qualifications you need to be a "walking expert" (putting one foot in front of the other with minimal falling over seems to be a given), but the article cites the wisdom of such luminaries in explaining why the enforced exercise not only saves money but turns the children into better students.
The brilliant resiliency of children was highlighted by boston.com today in a story perfectly titled "From Heavy Hearts, a Song Soars." While waiting for his morning school bus, 15 year-old Soheil Turner was shot dead; his killer remains unidentified. His school, Warren-Prescott in Charlestown, is a combined elementary and middle school, and many of the students and teachers had known him for years. While still grieving for the loss of their friend, the school chorus boarded a bus the next day for a choir competition at an amusement park. Their rendition of "What a Wonderful World" blew away the judges and the competition - which consisted of middle and high school choirs much more established and accomplished then Warren-Prescott. Several W-P soloists and musicians won individual awards as well.
Escambia County in Florida recently held its 15th annual Cox Inspirational Hero Celebration honoring 40 kindergarten through high school students for overcoming all sorts of barriers from language to physical disability (you may have to scroll down a bit; the picture is not showing up on my computer so I'm not sure if it works). First of all, it's awesome this is the 15th year they're doing this, and second of all, make sure you read the bios of two of the children who won a big award. They're sweet and sure to bring a smile to your face.
(Photo credit: www.crh.noaa.gov)