(HELENA) Oct. 4 was International Walk to School Day this year. In the Helena Valley, Rossiter Elementary students, parents and staff braved frosty conditions and morning mist to take part.

The group gathered at the West Valley fire station on Forestvale Road, then took footpaths across to the school. West Valley firefighters were on hand to stop traffic when the walkers needed to cross Montana Avenue.

Rossiter has been celebrating Walk to School Day for years. Heidi Van Diest, a third-grade teacher, said the event have been held each of the nine years she’s worked at the school.

“The kids look forward to it; the families look forward to it,” she said. “We get up a little earlier on this morning and breathe some fresh air, and it starts our day really nicely.”

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Heather Perlinski walked with her son Brady, a fourth-grader.

“We just know we’re going to go to the fire station and see the fire trucks and then walk over as a group,” she said. “We always know it’s going to be cold out, but it’s fun to bundle up and come over.”

Van Diest said this event provides a valuable opportunity for families at Rossiter.

“It’s hard in the Valley for a lot of kids to walk to school because there just aren’t safe pathways,” she said.

She said she’s hopeful some new paths will be built in the coming years, so more students are able to walk to school regularly.

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