Human tunnels of encouragement greeting Lakota students

More Lakota school students will be facing crowds of loud adults as they enter their buildings this school year.

And it’s all by design.

The new school events — dubbed “Fanfares” — were started at the beginning of the current school year and have proven so popular they are being expanded to more Lakota schools through the spring.

Based on a Hopewell Junior School event back in August that had school staffers, Lakota officials, parents, residents and local business people form a human tunnel of affirmation to greet students starting the school year.

“We saw the reaction we got from students just by greeting them on their way into school with a tunnel of high fives and smiles all around and decided it was something that all of our students should have the chance to experience,” said Lakota Schools’ spokeswoman Lauren Boettcher.

“It’s an easy way our community can play some part in helping set our students up for success. And so, from December through May, we’ve filled the district calendar with dates that coincide with events like the first day back from winter break or the 100th day of kindergarten or the start of state testing — all times when students could use a reminder of the massive circle of support they have within their own community,” said Boettcher.

That support was further bolstered with the help of officials from the West Chester and Liberty Chamber Alliance, which represents many businesses in the two townships encompassed by Lakota’s school district borders.

“We are grateful for the partnership with the West Chester Liberty Chamber Alliance to help draw individuals from the local business community,” she said.

One of those who recently participated in the Fanfare at Shawnee Early Childhood Center and came away impressed and ready to do it again.

“As a business representative in the community, I received the invitation to join the Fanfare through the West Chester Liberty Chamber Alliance. It was such an enjoyable and rewarding experience meeting the school administration, teachers and most importantly the children,” said Margaret Del Favero, family placement manager for College Nannies, Sitters + Tutors of West Chester and Mason.

“As they walked through our welcome tunnel we acclaimed ‘welcome back, give me a high five, and have a wonderful day,’ all with smiles and much enthusiasm,” said Del Favero. “Their faces lit up and their responses were priceless. I plan to carve out time in my schedule to do more Fanfares.”

Boettcher said “anyone — parents, staff, businesses and residents — are welcome to participate in any one of the events. There’s nothing to prepare and the task is simple – spend 15 minutes at the start of your day clapping, smiling and wishing students well. It’s a small gesture that goes a long way.”

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Future fanfare events at Lakota Schools:

Jan. 30, 2017 @ 9 a.m. Liberty Early Childhood School

Feb. 13, 2017 @ 8:15 a.m. Endeavor Elementary

Feb. 21, 2017 @ 9 a.m. Union Elementary

Feb. 24, 2017 @ 9 a.m. Creekside Early Childhood School

Feb. 27, 2017 @ 8:15 a.m. Hopewell Elementary

March 10, 2017 @ 8:30 a.m. VanGorden Elementary

March 17, 2017 @ 9 a.m. Cherokee Elementary

March 20, 2017 @ 8:15 a.m. Adena Elementary

March 22, 2017 @ 7 a.m. Plains Junior

March 24, 2017 @ 7 a.m. Ridge Junior

March 27, 2017 @ 8:15 a.m. Woodland Elementary

March 27, 2017 @ 7 a.m. Liberty Junior

April 7, 2017 @ 9 a.m. Independence Elementary

April 18, 2017 @ 9 a.m. Heritage Elementary

May 22, 2017 @ 9 a.m. Wyandot Early Childhood

May 24, 2017 @ 6:45 a.m. Lakota West Freshman Campus

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