Community welcomes back students with cheers and handshakes

TOLEDO (WTVG) - Some kids in our area's biggest district started the new year with handshakes and cheers of encouragement.

Students at Martin Luther King Jr. Academy for Boys and Ella P. Stewart Academy for Girls were welcomed back by business professionals and other community members.

"It's becoming a tradition," said Willie Ward, principal at Martin Luther King Jr. Academy. "The boys recognize on the first day of school they are going to get a greeting from the community, that says that you can do this."

District leaders say is the goal is for students to feel the support from the community.

"Men who are in business, faith-bases, come out and encourage the kids every year on the first day of school," said Toledo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Romules Durant.

Over at Ella P. Stewart Academy, female professionals and community members waved pom-poms and cheered as the young girls walked through the hallways.

"This is just an enriching and humbling experience as they begin the school year," said Teresa Quinn, principal at Ella P. Stewart.

"It made me feel special," said Genesis Newsom, a fifth grader at Ella P. Stewart.

This marks the third year for the welcome back celebration.