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An extra special welcome for students in Fort Myers on their first day back to school

Kids at Franklin Park Elementary and Fort Myers Middle Academy were greeted by community members on the first day of school
Posted at 10:35 AM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-15 10:35:13-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The first day of school can be an exciting day for any student, but, at two Fort Myers schools the excitement is cranked up even more of the first day back.

For seven years now, Franklin Park Elementary school has welcomed kids with what they call the Gentlemen's Welcome. Community members are invited to line the entrance of the school and cheer for the students as they arrive. The kids are given high fives, fist bumps and words of encouragement to set the tone for the school year. Principal, Michelle Freeman, says it's important for the kids to see successful members of their local community supporting them.

"They get an opportunity to see people that look like them that are doing great things and that's what I tell them you can be anything you want to be," Freeman explains.

Just down the road at Fort Myers Middle Academy it was a similar scene. Teachers, administrators and community members cheering on middle school students as they arrived for class of the first day.

This is the first year FMMA has kicked off the school year with what they're calling the Ripples Welcome. The principal at FMMA, Lynn Edward, tells Fox 4 they got the idea from Franklin Park, which is their sister school, and loved the energy it brought to the first day.

"We thought why not try it with middle school kids because that's what middle school students love, being celebrated and welcomed to a new school year! What a better way to get started," Edward said.

This is a yearly tradition, so, mark your calendar for the start of school next year and take part in welcoming the students! It'll put a big smile on your face!