MIDDLEBURG – Dads, stepdads, grandfathers, brothers and other guardians throughout Clay County were invited to take some time off work and visit their child at school last Wednesday during the …
MIDDLEBURG – Dads, stepdads, grandfathers, brothers and other guardians throughout Clay County were invited to take some time off work and visit their child at school last Wednesday during the school district’s version of the national Dads Take Your Child to School Day campaign.
Most elementary schools, and some junior high schools, hosted events to promote fathers visiting their children. Many of the schools planned events during the students’ lunch periods, while others invited dads to drop their kids off, especially if it isn’t part of the dad’s daily routine to drop the kids off at school.
Middleburg Elementary School hosted lunchtime activities including a photo booth where dads could pose with their student, and an outdoor obstacle course where dads could race their students over a balance beam, hurdles and cones.
“You should’ve seen them when they walked in and saw their dads,” said Principal Becky Wilkerson. “We really wanted dads to feel like they’re just as important and needed as our moms.”
Wilkerson said she received 88 responses from dads interested in attending the special event. Some dads worked double, or even triple duty, with multiple kids in multiple grade levels, and stuck around for consecutive lunch periods. Some dads brought their kids a favorite meal, and others tried out the school’s menu for themselves.
“I’m here with her and I’ve got another one later today with her older brother,” Owen Fagan said while standing with his five-year-old kindergartener Elise. “It’s nice to be able to get away [from work] and see her.”
“It’s very, very fun,” Elise said about seeing her dad at school. Her favorite part of the lunch period was, in her words, “just talking to him.”
Wilkerson said they have a lot of military families at their school, so, dads who currently serve in the military were asked to wear their uniforms if they wanted. The school works hard to recognize military parents and coordinate with their evolving and sometimes busy schedules.
“When [a child’s] dad serves in the military, the family serves too,” Wilkerson said.
After lunch, dads posed for photos with their kids and then everyone headed outside to enjoy a brief after-lunch recess. Most dads talked while their kids stumbled their way through the obstacle course, their kindergarteners’ legs tangling up in hurdle blocks and hopscotch ladders. Other dads spent one-on-one time with their child, especially the first-time dads.
Jake Boyles and his five-year-old son Jacob walked over to a swing set and challenged each other to see who could swing higher. They laughed and talked until the bell rang to send Jacob back to class, and his father back to work.
“I’m normally at work and can’t see him at school, or even take him to school,” Boyles said. “It’s nice to be able to spend time with him.”
The event saw participation throughout the school district, and even led some parents to ask why their specific school didn’t participate. With the event still in its infancy, there is still room to grow and unify the effort in future years. The event will continue to be held annually in September in coordination with the national event, so interested dads should keep an eye out next school year for a glimpse into the lives of their students.