Last year, it was a stirring sight – the first-ever “Be There” rally greeting West Seattle Elementary students on the first day of school. It’s happening again this year, two weeks from tomorrow, and you are invited to be part of it – with an additional opportunity to be involved beyond the rally. The announcement is from West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA (WSB sponsor) executive director Shalimar Gonzales:
The community is invited to attend the second annual Be There Rally at West Seattle Elementary on Wednesday, September 6, 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.
Last year, over 100 men and women from the Seattle area volunteered at our first rally. 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.
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.
We also seek community volunteers to engage with our “Classic Men & Ladies of West Seattle Elementary” initiative.
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. Teaching experience is not needed, just enthusiasm and a desire to share with students something about your career, your experiences, your hobby, or yourself. We want you to carry some key messages into our program, including the importance of staying in school and the value of each individual student.
The initiative is a perfect opportunity for parents, business leaders, and community members to let our students know we care about them. The idea is simple – sign up at the rally and we will work with what your schedule permits. Our program runs Monday-Friday; 2:05- 5:30 p.m.
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 collaborative school motto for the 2017/2018 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 Jay Smith, Director of Leadership Development at 206-331-1799 or via email at Jeremysmith@seattleymca.org.
West Seattle Elementary is in High Point at 6760 34th SW.