Schools notebook // Lyndale students join walking bus

Lyndale students join walking bus

LYNDALE — Families at Lyndale Community School started a twice-weekly walking bus this spring with help from a $1,000 Safe Routes to School mini-grant.

Lyndale parent Scott Bordon organized four walking bus routes led by parent volunteers that pick up students within several blocks of the school. Bordon applied for and won the mini-grant, one of just 25 awarded nationally this spring by the National Center for Safe Routes to School.

Bordon said he was encouraged to apply for the mini-grant by Julie Danzl of the district’s Student Support Services Department after he organized a walking bus for October’s International Walk to School Day.

The first walking buses set off on Earth Day with a total about 60 walkers, a number that grew to about 80 on the next trip. Parent volunteers were outfitted with hand-held stop signs and safety vests purchased with the mini-grant funds, which also paid for T-shirts for the student walkers.

Muhubo Malin and her daughter Sumaya, 6, on April 29 joined a walking bus route that started at West 27th Street and Pillsbury Avenue and picked up students along the eight-block route to Lyndale, 312 W. 34th St. Malin said her daughter usually took a bus to school, but the two regularly joined the walking bus on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Julie Fluker said she and her daughter Amari, 9, almost never walked to school before the walking bus started.

“It’s convenient because it’s always coming past my house, but it’s [also] good to walk,” Fluker said. “I actually never tried walking because I always thought it would take so long.”

Bordon said he was taking attendance on the walks and planned to compile the data at the end of the school year.

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Southwest student wins state science fair honors

LINDEN HILLS — Southwest High School senior Mark Ulrich was among the top finishers at the Minnesota State Science and Engineering Fair held March 26–28 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in St. Paul.

Ulrich was named a first alternate to travel to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair held in May in San Jose, Calif., for his project, “The Mind Surfer: Using Accelerometers as User Input Devices.” Ulrich modified a motion-sensing Nintendo Wii remote to control a robot, identifying the potential of such a system to aid the disabled, Minneapolis Public Schools reported.

His project earned silver in the Grand Awards competition as well as a Seagate First Year Award. He was one of two seniors in the statewide competition to earn a trip to the National Youth Science Camp in West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest.

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Vote to help Southwest win football gear

LINDEN HILLS — A few mouse clicks on behalf of Southwest High School could earn the football team $50,000.

The Southwest High School Football Booster Club entered the Pepsi Refresh Project for a shot at the grant, which would be used to purchase new uniforms and equipment for 75 players and to install lights on the team’s home field. Southwest’s field currently has no lights and can’t host night games.

Jodi Wishart, a 1990 graduate and member of the school’s alumni foundation, said the ability to host night games “would make the team self-sufficient.”

She said the Southwest Lakers play home games on Friday afternoons, which makes it difficult for working parents and alumni to attend. Smaller crowds mean smaller concession revenues.

“You end up not only losing out on people coming because of timing, but the people who don’t come are the parents,” Wishart said.

The Pepsi Refresh Project allows individuals, organizations or corporations to submit grant ideas, which then are put to a vote on the Project website. The grant ideas that earn the most votes win.

The Southwest football team proposal was in 110th place in early May out of 1,343 ideas. To vote for their grant, go to refresheverything.com/southwestfootball.