Malcolm X Elementary School took a bow in the public spotlight Thursday, March 23, when the Alameda County Transportation Commission presented the school with the annual Platinum Sneaker award for green travel to school.
Of the nearly 100 schools participating across the county, Malcolm X achieved the highest percent increase in students walking, cycling, skating or using shared rides to get to school.
This is the first year that a Berkeley school has won the award, the top honor in the county’s Golden Sneaker contest, which is sponsored by the Safe Routes to Schools program. Adding to the kids’ excitement this year, the gold-painted sneakers were, for the first time, shoes that had been individually owned (and worn in many cases) by the Golden State Warriors. They were donated by the Warriors Community Foundation.
Unlike the Platinum Sneaker honor, which goes to only one school in the county, each participating school receives a Golden Sneaker, given to the class at the school with the highest green travel participation.
“The students were very excited,” said Malcolm X Vice Principal Susanne Reed, who accepted the Platinum award — along with parent Tim O’Keefe, the school’s volunteer coordinator for the Safe Routes to Schools Program — in a special presentation at the Transportation Commission’s meeting in Oakland.
O’Keefe said the green travel habits adopted by the students during the two-week Golden Sneaker contest period (Feb. 27-March 10) appear to have persisted, with many students picking up valuable lessons. He reported the following responses from the first three students he called upon when he asked a group what the contest meant to them:
1st student: “It’s great for the environment — it reduces pollution.”
2nd student: “It makes getting to school safer because there are fewer cars driving around the school.”
3rd student: “It’s healthy for our bodies.”
Here are the Golden Sneaker winners from the five BUSD schools that participated:
Jefferson Jonah Cohn
LeConte Edwin Casallas
Malcolm X Carol Huntington
Washington Oscar Zarate
Willard Ryan Chinn
Congratulations to all!
See more about the Platinum Sneaker award in the Transportation Commission’s press release.