Walking School Bus Gets a Mascot

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COLUMBIA - The Pednet Coalition along with the Columbia Public Schools and the Columbia/Boone County Department of Health and Human Services presented the name of the new mascot for the Walking School Bus Program.

The name "Shoester" was decided through a student contest throughout the schools involved with the program within the Columbia Public School District.

Russell Boulevard Elementary School hosted a walkathon earlier today to announce the winner of the contest.

3rd grader from Russell Sophie Dierker created the name for the mascot.

She is a user of the Walking School Bus Program.

The Walking School Bus was created in hopes of giving children a safe walk to school as well as providing them with a cardiovascular workout.

"This is just a great opportunity for kids to get out and get some extra activity. You know one in three kids are approaching overweight and obesity in this country. We are no different here in Columbia," said Stephanie Browning from the Boone County/Columbia Department of Public Health and Human Services.

This past semester, 11 schools used the program with 32 different walking routes.

There are no routes further than 2 miles away from a school, and most of them are within a mile.

The program finished for this semester yesterday and plans on continuing at the beginning of the next school year.

Karen Keltner is the parent in charge of the Paxton Keeley Elementary School's Walking School Bus said that they plan to continue their route well into May, because the students really enjoyed it.