Sacred Heart College students take Active Transport Programme in stride

Sacred Heart College Head Girl Timea Cracknell (left), Deputy Head Girl Lucy Harvey and Community Leader & Board of Trustees Student Representative Eva Deihl.

Sacred Heart College students have been walking the talk and using alternative modes of transport to and from school as part of an Active Transport Programme.

“Walk the Talk, Hike the Hill” was developed by students at the college in Napier in conjunction with Napier City Council and research company FOLKL whom council engaged.

Community leader and Board of Trustees Student Representative Eva Deihl, in year 13, says the campaign has already proven to be a success since it started in June.

The aim, she says, is to increase active transport journeys (walking, running or biking) to school and calm traffic on Bluff Hill, making it a much safer place for everyone.

The programme, and associated safety changes at key intersections around the school, came about after council was awarded more than $400,000 of funding through the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Innovating Streets for People Programme.

Earlier this year a safer crossing area and speed bumps were installed on Shakespeare Road to calm traffic on Bluff Hill.

Eva says it has slowed down traffic and created a safer environment for students to walk to and from school.

“We have had good feedback from the community about the safer environment.”

An Active Transport team, made up of students from a range of year levels, and the team at FOLKL came up with an inter-house competition that encourage students to walk or bike to and from school and in doing so, reduce traffic in the area.

As a designated leader of the group, she has taken the lead on promoting the initiative around school. Other roles include ambassadors, marketing and data gathering.

Using the Strava app, students record their activity under their house team (Marian, Aubert, Barbier or Holderness) and receive points. The house with the most points at the end of the year wins.

Eva says their slogan: ‘Action what you advocate, make your walk to school an adventure,’ was a good way of making an everyday journey exciting, and students have taken it in their stride.

“Many students are now walking to school or being dropped at the bottom of the hill. Not only is this good for exercise but also better and safer for the community and environment.”

Students are also rewarded with a custom ‘Hike the Hill’ badge when they complete five journeys and a tote bag at 15 journeys.

When they couldn’t physically go to school due to COVID-19, they continued to encourage students to remain active. The Strava app meant students could continue to record their activity – this time around their neighbourhoods. 

Principal Maria Neville-Foster says it is fantastic to see the school community rally together and support this initiative. 

Article added: Tuesday 26 October 2021


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