• 23°

High-five Fridays spread positive vibes at Priceville Junior High

Friday mornings at Priceville Junior High School are marked by a ritual students and fathers in the community are enjoying.

High Five Fridays began shortly before school let out for winter break, with more than 20 dads showing up and welcoming students to school with encouraging statements and high fives.

Principal Ashley McCulloch said she wanted to start the practice at PJHS after seeing a colleague do the same at a Birmingham area school and see success.

“We are blessed with a phenomenal, supportive community. Typically, we have moms on campus, and this was a way to involve the dads,” she said. “We have a great school, but we still have kids who come from divorced families and single-parent homes; our students really need to see some dads.”

After the first couple of Fridays, McCulloch said she thinks the dads have as much – if not more – fun as the students.

“It offers them a way to build a community of support within themselves, as well,” she said. “The kids love seeing Dad on campus encouraging them – it really has turned into a really great experience for the kids and the dads.”

“That first Friday I had teachers say, ‘I have seen more smiles today than I have any other day,’” McCulloch added. “It puts the kids in a really good mood, and it really changes the atmosphere in the classroom.”

McCulloch said improving the school atmosphere is a key goal of the initiative. “We pour into these kids every day, but sometimes they get tired of hearing us talking and saying the same thing: ‘Hey, be nice to each other, work hard, don’t put your breakfast burrito in the toilet.’”

McCulloch said she asks the dads to she positive mantras with the students as they give out the high fives in the morning – something she attributes to the event’s overall success.

“It absolutely changes the atmosphere on campus. It really has been fantastic,” she said.

Motivational Mondays will begin soon at the junior high school. Athletic and academic groups from Priceville High School will be invited to encourage the younger students at the beginning of the week.

“It takes a village,” McCulloch said.