Fathers gathered at schools across the Jackson Public School District in Mississippi to cheer on students as they arrived to take standardized exams. The fathers high-fived students, cheering and sharing words of encouragement to boost students’ morale.

The event, “WATCH D.O.G.S. Support Scholars Test Rally,” was organized by the national WATCH D.O.G.S program which aims to get fathers more involved in their children’s education and safety.

Fredrick Nolan, the school district’s coordinator for the program, explained that the presence of the fathers motivates students.

“Sometimes, just knowing that others care about the success of our scholars is the motivation they need to cross the finish line into academic achievement,” Nolan said.

Fathers, grandfathers, uncles, step-fathers, father-figures, and other men in the community participated to show support for the students’ education.

At McWillie Elementary School, fathers formed a tunnel, high-fiving and fist-bumping students as they walked into the school.

Not only were the students encouraged, the fathers felt more involved and learned about the their students’ progress.

“It was a great atmosphere,” Nolan. “It’s amazing how men will rally around a common cause and that morning it was about our children.”

Jowelle M. is a college student interested in sociology, political science, and Spanish. Aside from academics, Jowelle enjoys blogging, reading, music, and spending time with family. She is happiest when she is working with others to improve the community.