Bonding over daily walks


Eric Hong

The trio of teachers meet up on a daily basis to walk their children to Evergreen.

Ingrid Chan, Staff Writer

Many teachers don’t have the opportunity of spending an extra hour or two of quality time with their children. This is especially worrisome for parents with younger kids who are still in their crucial stages of development. However, Diamond Bar High School teachers Ty Watkins, Peter Kottke, and Scott Usher have found a way to incorporate family bonding into the simple act of taking their kids to school.

All three teachers’ children attend Evergreen Elementary School, making it possible for them to walk to school since the primary school is relatively close to DBHS.

“I plan to continue personally walking with my son, at least while he’s still in elementary school. It’s just because Evergreen is so close and I also get to spend time with him,” Usher said.

Every day, the teachers and their children wake up at around 6 a.m. to get ready. Those parents with older children often drop them off at middle school first before coming to DBHS with their elementary school kids. From there, the three teachers meet up with each other at around 7:30 a.m. — gathering into a group of seven people by the 300 building before proceeding to walk down to Evergreen.

Most of the time, all three fathers will accompany their kids down to Evergreen. The advantage to this arrangement comes into play when one of the fathers happens to be busy or unable to take their own kid to school. When this occurs, the other two parents can simply bring the remaining child along with them. Sometimes, just one teacher will walk all four kids to Evergreen. Another advantage is that the teachers won’t be late to work, as there is no hassle with the heavy traffic in the morning.

“All three of us work in different departments, so it’s kind of nice to collaborate and talk about the school while we walk,” Watkins said.

Generally, the parents make sure their children go to bed on time to ensure it is possible for them to wake up earlier as well as achieve the necessary amount of sleep for a growing child. Most of the children have become accustomed to this schedule, and also get along very well with each other despite their age differences, as their grade levels range from kindergarten to fourth. On average, it’s normally a 30 minute round trip for the fathers, taking 15 minutes going to Evergreen and 15 minutes coming back to DBHS.

Kottke has already been walking his older daughter to school every day in the morning for the past six to seven years. Even though she is now in middle school, he still chaperones his two younger sons, Adam and Luke, to school.

Watkins began joining these morning strolls two years ago with his daughter Shayden, while Usher only recently decided to follow the trend this year, since his son Lincoln just started elementary school. All three teachers plan to continue walking their children to school as long as they’re still attending Evergreen.

As to why he began these everyday morning excursions, Kottke gave one simple reason — “family bonding.”