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'Green' school draws couple to Hudson

It is not too often one is given the choice to live anywhere in a whole region of the United States. That is exactly what happened to Andrew and Tiffany Walton when he was advised he would be relocating to the Midwest.

"We did not know anything about the Midwest," said Tiffany. "Most of the places we looked at were in Wisconsin."

"We were researching online when I found out about River Crest Elementary School being LEED certified," said Tiffany. "And my husband found the area's environment very appealing when he came to visit."

The couple learned that all the schools in the Midwest were doing better than the West Coast schools in terms of test scores. Research caused them to narrow the search to the state of Wisconsin because the test scores were better here than other states in the region.

"I was very drawn to Hudson. I couldn't pull myself away once I learned about the school," said Tiffany Walton, who together with Andrew moved to Hudson from Portland, Ore., in August, because of River Crest Elementary School.

"It was a very focused search," said Tiffany, who gathered district information from online sources. "The district had great scores, and parent feedback was fabulous."

Oregon, known for its green, environmentally friendly culture, had influenced the couple. She was originally from California and Andrew was a Portland native. Together they embraced a need to teach their children -- kindergartner Zachary and preschooler Julia -- some basics in environmentally sound living.

"I want to make sure the kids get as much as they can," said Tiffany. "We work on earth awareness, the kids have a garden, learn about growing things, about composting and respecting nature.

"In the middle of August I flew here to check out Hudson. I didn't have a house, I just really wanted to be in the school's boundaries," said Walton, who filled out the paperwork for Zachary to attend River Crest and found a house all within two weeks of school starting.

"I am trying to be a better example for Zachary and Julia so they can learn by my actions from recycling to composting," said Tiffany, who couldn't be happier about ending up in Hudson.

She will be on hand to celebrate the dedication of River Crest Elementary School this Saturday with the knowledge that a journey of 1,756 miles ended exactly where she and her husband wanted it to, in a quality school district with an eye to an environmentally sound future.