James Mason is a new hero of mine. James is a 3rd grader at Milwaukee Public School’s Fernwood Montessori. I recently found out from his mom that he had a goal to walk to school every single day of the current school year and sat down with James and his mom Leslie at school for an interview as he reaches the home stretch.
Bike Fed: What made you decide to commit to walking everyday?
James: When I would get to school [by car] I was tired and I wanted to feel more energized. I like having big goals.
BF: How far do you walk and how long does it take you? Do you walk home too?
J: Usually about 15 min depending on how fast we walk, its about 1/2 mile. Not everyday sometimes my mom drives me home.
BF: How often did you walk to school before this year?
J: I only walked about half the time and home only maybe 10%. it was really up to my mom when we did.
BF: Have you noticed any improvement in your health or mood?
J: I am not in a bad mood in the mornings anymore.
BF: What about any change in school work or grades?
J: When I’m tired I don’t do well at school. [Walking has made me] ready to work as soon as I get to school.
Leslie (his mom): I’ve noticed a mood improvement in him. He also likes to use the time to prepare and talk about the day. James is kind of introverted and I think the walking has helped him to open up and talk more to me in the morning. It is a good chance for us to connect and communicate.
BF: Have you influences any other family or friends to walk or bike more?
J: My mom. She walks more now.
BF: What is something interesting you have seen while walking to school?
J: [after a fresh snow] We saw bunny tracks zig zagging all over then it stopped and there were no footprints. I don’t know where it went after that.
BF: Like it flew away? The tracks were just gone?
Leslie: We also say Hi to people along the way some we know and some we don’t. We get to see the drop off process in the morning from a different angle. and see how crazy it looks with the cars all lined up as we walk past.
BF: Any tips for someone who may want to challenge themselves to walk or bike everyday?
J: Dress good. It it’s cold put snow pants on and a jacket. Thinking about how good it will feel to reach the goal will help.
BF: Anything either of you want to add?
L: It has become habit forming. The positive effects I see are great.
Thanks to James and Leslie for letting me interview them. Good luck the rest of the way, James! We are all rooting for you!
I challenge all of you to give it a go as well!