Hector Rodriguez sat with his daughters, Jocelyn, a kindergartner, and Aaliyah, a fifth-grader, munching on breakfast sandwiches and sipping juice.
“I wish Pappi was here for us all day!”Jocelyn said.
Rodriguez said he, too, wished he could stay all day at Southwood Elementary School, because attending the annual Bring Your Fathers to School Day is a special time. “It’s something I love doing for them,” he said. “I like coming to these things to be there for my kids. I like to be there for them as much as possible.”
The fourth annual event brought more than 1,000 dads, uncles, grandfathers and other male role models to the district’s 10 elementary schools to enjoy breakfast with their children, listen to speakers and celebrate paternal involvement. At Southwood alone, more than 200 male guests attended.
Principal Jeff Overkleeft said involved fathers have a huge positive impact on children’s lives, including behavior, attendance and grades. “It directly impacts their academic success,” he said.
“I think the message that we continue to hear and see is it’s important to have parents and fathers engaged in students’ education,” said Michael Pickard, the district’s executive director of elementary instruction and federal programs.
This year’s theme was leaving a legacy for your child. Speakers were local business owners whose lives were impacted by parents, teachers or other role models.
Before the event, dad Michael Parks walked into school with his daughter, Mya, a fifth-grader.
“It’s just fun to spend time with him,” Mya said.