The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

February 6, 2013

Event brings fathers to support children

By Brian Graves, Staff Writer

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 — There was an outpouring of fatherly affection showing Friday morning in the halls and classrooms of Central Elementary.

It was a showing of “Dad Power.”

The students of the school were allowed to host their fathers for the school’s sixth annual “Doughnuts for Dads”, and judging by the numbers of participants, and smiles, it was a huge success.

“We actually ran out,” Principal Melissa Smith said.

“We used the numbers from last year to plan, but the interest this year was more than we anticipated. But, we couldn’t be happier.”

Fathers, grandfathers or just father-figures to the students gathered with their kids in the cafeteria while there were many who waited in the hallways for their children to depart from their bus rides.

“We want to get that male figure here and do something in an educational manner in terms of eating breakfast with your child, reading a book, doing math games or just special time with that dad or special male in school,” Smith said.

“We are all about family. Those are our partners and we want those significant people to feel welcome.”

Smith said the parent-teacher organization sponsors the event while the faculty provides the “academic leg.”

“We figure there were 400-500 this year where we have normally pulled 300-400,” Smith said.

“Something happened this year,” she said.

“I think with the events that have transpired in terms of safety and us communicating more with the families, this has empowered them to feel we are partners and we need to let the children know that they are important.”

Smith called it “an example of greatness.”

“This is not a mediocre event,” she said.

“This is superior. They do what they are supposed to here at Central as families, but then they do more. They just don’t settle for what the requirement is and I appreciate that.”

Smith said her staff purposely greets everyone then steps back to allow the father and child to have that moment together.

Throughout the classrooms, kids and their fathers could be seen playing games and reading books.

In many cases, there were arms around the young ones as an excited child showed off what they had learned.

“You could feel the energy in this building,” Smith said.

“Usually you get complaints about the parking or buses, but today, there were no complaints. This was about compassion.”

“We do this to heighten the awareness that we are partners in their children’s education and they are welcome,” Smith said.

“These are our children, too.”