The Mississippi Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School Coordinator, Cookie Leffler, recently e-mailed Bell's coordinator for the event, Leah Ferretti, to deliver news of the school’s recognition.
“We are very excited about your school’s outstanding efforts and participation in the event and proud of your students and their families who made first place a reality,” wrote Leffler.
The winner of the Golden Sneaker represents the school with the highest student, parent and community involvement in the walk.
"I'm so blessed to have such support from the community and parents to make events like this a big success," said Ferretti, also a science lab specialist and health and wellness chairperson at Bell.
MDOT will honor the school by presenting the award on March 8 at 1 p.m.
Last year's walk, held on Oct. 5, marked the second year Bell took part in the affair.
"We had about 400 parents, students and community members safely walk to school, beginning from the Boyle Walking Trail," said Ferretti. "We also had the East Side Marching Band, the mayor of Cleveland, Delta State University athletes, mascots and a number of community members."
Local emergency response crews and the Boyle Police Department also took part by protecting the participants as they made their one-mile walk through Boyle and across U.S. Highway 61.
Ferretti, who was required to register with MDOT before the event and document participation afterwards, likened the award to another well-known Mississippi trophy.
"We are very fortunate to come out on top," said Ferretti. "It's kind of like the battle for the Golden Egg — we get to hold the title for a year and we hope to keep her next year too."
Mississippi is one of seven jurisdictions participating in the Safe Routes to School state network project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The RWJF has provided a three-year renewal grant of $2,999,725 to the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, a diverse, nationwide coalition of more than 550 organizations.
The grant will support the National Partnership’s efforts to advance safe, convenient and fun opportunities for U.S. children to walk and bicycle to and from school.
Mississippi has been a network state since 2010.