St. Agnes School Dedicates New Walking Track; Receives More Than $110,000 in Grants for Project

 By Martina Hart CHARLESTON— St. Agnes School in Charleston dedicated the first section of its walking track Oct. 3 after receiving more than $110,000 in grant money to support the project. The majority of funds came from a federal Safe Routes to School Grant of $105,000 the school received from the West Virginia Department of Highways. St. Agnes was also awarded a $1,000 Health Initiative Grant from the diocese and a $5,000 grant from West Virginia on the Move. Martina Hart Photo Students at St. Agnes School in Charleston joyfully break in the school’s new walking track during the dedication of the track Oct. 3. “We definitely plan on putting the walking track to good use at St. Agnes to promote fitness and overall well- being,” said Theresa O’Leary, principal of St. Agnes. “It is exciting for the whole community and will open their eyes to the beauty of St. Agnes campus. The grants open up endless possibilities and we have many ideas to incorporate it into our curriculum.” The 8-foot wide, 1/8-mile long asphalt track circles the school’s playground and was completed in June. Terr Imani, a parent volunteer who served as interim development director for the school and helped secure the grants, said the track was installed in an effort to provide a safe environment for children and others in the community to exercise. In cooperation with the City of Charleston, the school plans to expand the walking track to be 1 mile in the future. The dedication of the track was part of St. Agnes’ annual participation in the International Walk to School initiative, which aims to enhance children’s health, reduce air pollution and create safer routes for walking and biking. Students in grades three through five, together with teachers and parents, walked 0.7 miles to the school, accompanied by a police escort, finishing on the walking track. After the dedication, a healthy breakfast was served in the school cafeteria. Mia Moran-Cooper, director of development for St. Agnes, sees the new addition as a way to attract new students. “The addition of walking and biking trails around our soccer field,” she said, “only enhances our green campus further and I expect many parents will take these new assets into consideration when selecting a school for their children.”