Wednesday, April 25, 2012 | 2:06 p.m.
Goynes Elementary School
There was an extra bounce in students’ steps Wednesday morning as they walked — or in some cases, pedaled or scooted their way — to Goynes Elementary School, celebrating Nevada Moves Day and forgoing gas-guzzling modes of transportation.
Bicycles and scooters filled racks, and a nearby park’s grass appeared a bit trampled after hundreds of students arrived en masse and put on their dancing shoes.
The “Cupid Shuffle” blared through speakers as students mimicked the lyrics, moving to the left and to the right, burning extra energy before students in upper grades began standardized Criterion Reference Tests.
“They’re sitting for so long taking those tests,” fifth-grade teacher Marilyn Koppelman said. “It’s a good way to activate their brains.”
For school officials, the event also served as an opportunity to promote traffic safety in addition to physical activity.
“We believe very strongly that (the way) to learn how to walk and bicycle safely to school is to do it,” said Cheryl Wagner, coordinator for the district’s Safe Routes to School program. “We don’t want to have any children here be hurt.”
Goynes Elementary School sits nestled among residential streets in Aliante, a master-planned community in North Las Vegas dotted with parks and sidewalks.
“This is definitely a walkable school,” Wagner said, referring to its surroundings. “We need to encourage even more walking.”
It’s a message fifth-grader Amari Washington takes to heart. She participates in track and cheerleading programs after school, depending on the time of the year.
“I think it’s important because a lot of kids are getting obese,” she said. “We just need a day of moving.”
Her classmates, Kahea Nihipall and Mason Rupp, said they preferred outdoor activities after school.
“Right after homework, we beg our mom, ‘Can we go outside?’” Nihipall said.
Many parents joined the walking brigade Wednesday morning, including Kim Enriquez who walked briskly to keep up with her active 6-year-old son, Shane.
“I just think we need to keep them away from TV and video games as much as possible,” she said. “He doesn’t even have a (Nintendo) DS.”