Just around 8 a.m. today, Wednesday, Oct. 3, first came Max Carboni, then Molly Howe and her friend, Evvie Boas who brought her mom and sister, Sadie. Soon Neyla Cakmak and Ian Qiu were there and so was Michael Coyne, Thomas Boyle and siblings Krista and Owen Chan.
They and so many more Wellington Elementary School students arrived at the corner of Horace and Brettwood roads to meet up with second grade teacher Kellye O’Brien to do something that students generations ago did without much thought: walk to school.
What had this group of two dozen students who were walking along Brettwood and hundreds of pupils from the Wellington, Butler and Burbank schools on the road was that Belmont had joined more than 110 communities in Massachusetts and 6,000 worldwide participating in the International Walk to School Day.
In coordination with the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School program, the event is to promote a healthy way to get to school and start the day.
"I do think it's a great way to start the day," said O'Brien, who didn't walk that much to school herself as she lived on military bases growing up.
Lori Chan – who walked to school as early as the second grade in Brighton – does try to get her two Wellington kids on the sidewalks three times a week because they enjoy the fresh air "but we do find ourselves scrambling sometimes because we leave it to the last minute."
The group got to the intersection of Orchard and Common streets where crossing guard Jackie Day met them with a smile and a stop sign. Soon, they joined their colleagues who took the challenge of keeping the car in the driveway – at least for one day – and have an enjoyable morning walk.