More than a walk in the park

Published 7:00 pm Saturday, October 1, 2011

Billie Jo Wicks, a teacher at Austin Catholic Elementary School, holds a bag open so her sons Robby, right, and Ray Wicks can throw away garbage they found during the school's walkathon Friday afternoon at Mill Pond. - Eric Johnson/
















It’s good to have tradition.

That’s what Pacelli Catholic Schools staff and students believe.

That’s why there’s an annual walkathon where students pick up trash and litter downtown. That’s why Pacelli students were doing just that Friday.

“It’s a great opportunity to come together as a school,” said Father Greg Parrott. “We prepare the kids to hopefully be good members of society.”

Pacelli students have walked Austin’s streets every year since the 1970s, raising money and promoting community service and the benefits of Catholic education.

“It shows our school spirit,” said Max Brennan, Pacelli senior.

Austin Catholic Elementary Schools and Pacelli students along with teachers and parents took part in Friday afternoon's walkathon to Mill Pond. - Eric Johnson/

Many students enjoy the work, helping to clean Austin up for all of its residents.

“We’re trying to pick up all of the trash to help make things better for all the animals,” said Whitney Walkup, fourth-grader. “It’s pretty great.”

“And for all the humans, too,” said Adamari Cruz, fourth-grader.

Pacelli students began this year’s walkathon with a short prayer service where they could make petitions, according to Pacelli Elementary Principal Mary Holtorf. The most common petition was world peace.

Pacelli staff didn’t have an exact count on its donations as of Friday afternoon, but that’s not why the walkathon still exists. It’s more for the students’ benefit than the community’s well-being.

“It’s awesome,” Holtorf said. “When you watch all the kids walk down the street wearing their uniforms proudly, it’s great.”