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QC men offer kids high fives to start their school day

QC men offer kids high fives to start their school day
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The event was part of the “Million Father March” initiative that encourages men to be positive role models in children’s lives.

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois — Quad Cities men came together to support schoolchildren at Rock Island Academy elementary school by offering high fives and words of encouragement before the school day began on Friday, Sept. 23.

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The event is part of the Million Father March initiative that encourages men to “display their commitment to their children’s educational lives throughout the school year by escorting children to school on this day.”

“It’s an opportunity for all men in the community, whether you’re educators, police, firefighters, pastors, community organizations. It’s an opportunity for men to come out and just welcome our kids back to school,” Dr. Reginald Lawrence, Superintendent of the Rock Island-Milan School District.

Dozens of men and teenagers attended, including those from the Rock Island Police and Fire Department, Augustana College, St. Ambrose University, the YMCA, Martin Luther King Jr. Center, the Rock Island High School basketball team and staff from the Rock Island-Milan School District.

The men lined up in front of the school on the steps leading to the main entrance, applauding, cheering and giving high fives and fists.

“Our students are excited to have the chance to walk through the gauntlet if you want, to get fists and shake hands,” said Dr. Lawrence.

The event is held annually as long as Dr. Lawrence with the district for a minimum of four years.

“It’s great for the kids. Sometimes they look, you know, a little scared. And then once they get that first punch, that first high five, it’s all over, man, they love it,” Tom Ryan , director at Rock Island Academy, said.

“You often hear that sometimes they don’t have the father figures and the male figures, role models in their lives. So this is an opportunity for Rock Island Academy students to see men from all over Rock Island who care about them… to say, we are here to support you.” dr. Lawrence said.

mr. Ryan said this is a message they are trying to send in the schoolhouse and across the district. “We’re here for you. We want you to be here. We want you to be safe. We want you to know that all these people care about you,” Ryan said.

“It’s just incredible how the community represents itself. I mean, if you went ahead and found out where all these individuals came from, you’d be amazed,” Ryan said.

After the reception line, the community joined the students inside for a continental breakfast and continued conversation.

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