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Buddy walk returns to Noxon


October 18, 2018

Shana Neesvig

BUDDY WALK – Noxon students Dave Ehinger, Judah Dulaney and Carter McNaughton connect hands while strolling on a chilly Monday morning this week.

History sometimes repeats itself. In Noxon, Delaney Weltz, high school student council president, is bringing back the good ol' days.

She recalled being in either fourth or fifth grade when students went walking every Monday and Wednesday morning for 10 minutes before class. Her fondness of being buddied up with an upper classman and strolling around the parking lot made her want to bring back the event after a hiatus of more than half a decade.

Sixth grader Haylee Wiedeman said, "We do this every Monday and Wednesday and we have partners. We have the same partner unless they are gone." She added that this last Monday morning was going to be a challenge for her. "It's cold out there!" she said laughing and shivering at the same time. She was right, it was a cold one.

"We like to talk about what we did for fun over the weekend, or just whatever we want," freshman Kylee Erwin commented on what the best part of walking with her buddy is.

Technology teacher Dana Grupenhoff is the event coordinator. She stated that the idea came from the students, like Weltz, who enjoyed sharing time with upper classmen when they were younger. "They remembered the walk from when they were little and wanted to bring it back," Grupenhoff said while strolling around the loop.

No matter what the weather, students will join in getting their brains and bodies ready for a day of learning while building friendships, and they have been reminded to bring warm clothing and umbrellas. Grupenhoff pairs students up so they can be matched for years to come. For example, she explained she matches a kindergartener with a seventh-grade student, so they can have a progressive friendship over the years.

Principal Rhonda Horner expressed the walk "stimulates the brain, body and builds a sense of community by pairing the older students with the littles." She also recalled Teri Wilkinson, Health and Physical Education teacher, as the founder of this program in the earlier years.

The walking "buddies" are also paired up for reading sessions throughout the school year as well. "It is great because it fosters a relationship between the two," paraprofessional Kristin Chaboya said.

After Monday's walk, the students showed they knew the drill. Like a well-oiled machine, they immediately lined up at the base of the flag pole, waited for Weltz to arrive, and recited The Pledge of Allegiance. Just as they do every Monday, with their buddies.


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