50-Mile march to Janesville nearly complete, students energized - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

50-Mile march to Janesville nearly complete, students energized

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ROCK COUNTY (WKOW) -- Students from across Wisconsin are less than three miles away from their lofty goal.

The 50 Miles More March will end in Janesville Wednesday afternoon. The young activists left Madison Sunday morning and they're marching to House Speaker Paul Ryan's office. 

After three full days walking, they say they're a bit sore, but energized by what they've seen traveling through communities along the way. 

"We're marching through all different communities and they have different political beliefs, so it's really cool that we have lots of cars driving by and they'll honk their horns and they'll stick out their thumbs and give us a thumbs up," said organizer Brendan Fardella, a senior at Shorewood High School.

The students are using the momentum of the national March for Our Lives rallies over the weekend, calling for Speaker Ryan to take action on gun reform.

"A conversation between people who believe different things because that's kind of what's important at this point now is the time to talk about it," Fardella told 27 News.

Ken Forbeck, who went to Janesville Craig High School for a time and now lives in Beloit, is hoping his neighbors in Rock County will be motivated to take action.

"I've had some great support from my friends & family in the area that have said that we're an inspiration to them," Forbeck said. 

School officials and parents helped organize the effort to make sure the students stay safe. A police escort kept them safe in traffic on rural roads and schools like Evansville gave them a place to rest and have lunch. Most communities along the way have been supportive. 

"We haven't had any issues other than people saying some things but beyond that everyone's been very respectful," said Bryan Davis, superintendent for Shorewood schools.

The group will finish the 2.5 miles left in the march on Wednesday morning, then rally at Traxler Park in Janesville at noon.   

27 News reached out to Speaker Ryan's office over the weekend for a response to the effort. In an email, spokesperson Jordan Dunn said, “The congressman appreciates those making their voices heard.”

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