Despite the light rain falling Wednesday morning, Mexico elementary school students, family and teachers opened up their umbrellas and walked or rode their bikes to school.

Wednesday was International Walk/Bike to School Day and the Mexico schools have included it in their School Health Index Plan. This was decided after the school nurses started their Johnson & Johnson Fellowship and completed a community needs assessment.

"When looking at the results of that along with SHI assessment, they (nurses) felt the need to help our students and community by increasing our physical activity," said Heather Cope, Hawthorne Elementary school nurse.

"Our goal is to help create awareness about health habits that can last a lifetime," said Cope.

Cope said walking to school can give the children time for physical activity, a sense of responsibility, and independence. It also creates an opportunity to be outdoors and provides time to connect with parents, friends and neighbors.

Hawthorne was the pilot school in 2014 with Eugene Field and McMillan joining in the following year.

All three schools gathered at 7 a.m. Wednesday at their beginning destination and began their walk at 7:15 a.m. Eugene Field students began their walk from near the boat dock at Lakeview Park; McMillan began at the parking lot of MMA gymtorium; and Hawthorne began at the high school football field parking lot.

Each school had a drawing for a pair of shoes (donated by Shoe Sensation) for one boy and one girl.

Cope said the event is held twice a year, one in October and the other one in May.