HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Holding their children’s hands, dads marched through the hallways of Holyoke Community Charter School to let everyone know that they’re dedicated to making education a priority in their homes.
“It shows that parent involvement is big, and it’s getting better,” said Benjamin Castellano, whose son is in second grade at the school.
School administrators and parents were pleasantly surprised by how many fathers participated in their second annual Million Father March. It’s been a national movement since 2004, with the goal of encouraging dads to get involved in their children’s lives.
“They are the future. Probably here we have the next mayor, the next doctor…” Ricardo Rosado told 22News. He was there to support his daughter who is in fifth grade.
About 100 fathers represented not only different parts of the country, but also different cultural backgrounds. Flags are in the lobby at Holyoke Community Charter School representing each of the countries that students’ families are originally from. Those include Italy, Ireland, Puerto Rico, and other countries in Latin America.
“Our drive is to be connected with the community because we know how important if we have the parents involved, and homes involved, and community support, we know how much more prepared our students will be in the long run,” said Kyle Callender, the student management coordinator at Holyoke Community Charter School. His job is to deal with any discipline problems at the school, and he ran the event Monday morning.
After the dads marched, they paused to pledge. They repeated after Callender a list of promises to show their dedication to their children’s education. Callender said, “I will pick up my child’s grade report when required.” The fathers repeated, “I will pick up my child’s grade report when required.”
Together, the fathers also made these promises:
“I will take turns to bring my child to school.”
“I will encourage all children to do their best every day at school.”
“I will be responsible for the education of my child.”
“I will volunteer at my child’s school as requested.”
“I will meet with my child’s teachers at least two times this year and support them to educate my child.”
“I will mentor my child or another young person who needs guidance.”
“I will teach children the values of education and family as well as the value of life.”
“I will work with my child’s mother or guardian to support my child even if I do not reside with my child.”