(West Seattle Elementary School – photo via seattleschools.org)
Just announced by the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor):
The community is invited to attend the first annual Be There Rally at West Seattle Elementary on Wednesday, September 7, from 7:00 am to 8:00 am. The school, in partnership with the West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA, is rolling out the red carpet and asking community leaders, school supporters, family and friends to line up to cheer, clap and high-five students as they enter into the new school year.
The West Seattle Elementary Be There Rally draws inspiration from an event held in Hartford, Connecticut where over 100 Black men in suits got together to greet and encourage children on the first day of school. They did it because they wanted to show children of color positive images of Black people in their community instead of the negative and damaging images commonly portrayed in the media. That event sparked a couple of Seattle Public Schools to keep that momentum going. From the Seattle High Five held at Leschi Elementary last August, to the over 200 Black men at South Shore PK-8 in February, the goals at West Seattle Elementary are the same.
The Be There Rally will be following these blueprints but with a slight change. Research shows that children whose fathers take an active role in their educational lives earn better grades, score higher on tests, enjoy school more and are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college. Leaders are calling for 100 men to support those who may not have a male role model by volunteering at the Be There Rally.
After careful consideration and speaking with the members of the High Point community, leaders decided to adjust to fit the needs of the neighborhood by also calling for 100 women. It is imperative that girls also have the opportunity to see successful women who they can identify with.
In an effort to dispel myths, breakdown stereotypes and change the narrative that surrounds West Seattle Elementary, please come dressed for success. The purpose of the dress attire is to allow students to see mirror images of themselves and combat any internalized biases damaging to themselves. This event will also serve as the official kick-off for a new initiative that will be followed by a clothing drive. The “Classic Men & Ladies of West Seattle Elementary” is an empowerment program to instill hope, purpose, self-pride and a love for themselves and our community. West Seattle Elementary will be collecting youth dress shirts, ties, pants, skirts and blouses to be worn once a week for our meetings.
The West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA is sponsoring the rally in partnership with West Seattle Elementary. Although the event is aimed to represent the demographics of the school, all people regardless of ethnic identification are encouraged to come. West Seattle Elementary’s collaborative school motto for the 2016/2017 school year is “Whatever it takes for each and every kid!”
Your presence at the school on the first day will support efforts to build valuable partnerships with families and members of the community to support student learning and positive academic outcomes.
To confirm your attendance or for more information, please contact Jeremy Smith, Director of Leadership Development at (206) 331-1799 or via email at Jeremysmith@seattleymca.org.