Samuel Booker, one of more than 100 male role models invited to Brenda Hunter Head Start, interacts with students to help celebrate their 100th day of school. (Kara Carrier / American Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 12:46 PM
Dwight Gardner, a family service counselor at Combre Memorial Park, didn’t spend Monday morning as he normally would. Instead of going to his office, Gardner spent the morning playing leap frog, dancing and reading to a class at Brenda Hunter Head Start.
Gardner, whose 3-year-old grandchild attends the school, was one of more than 100 male role models who were invited to Brenda Hunter to celebrate its 100th day of school.
Sarah Brummett, school education facilitator, said research shows that it’s important to have male role models in children’s lives at an early age.
“We decided that we were going to invite 100 men to come in and play with our children, read to our children and interact with our children because we thought it would be a great way to incorporate our 100th day of school,” Brummett said.
Brummett said that as of 1 p.m. Monday the school had exceeded their goal — having 119 men visiting the 238 3-year-old students, including many dads, grandfathers and local community leaders such as police officers, firefighters, school board members, the school superintendent and the mayor of Lake Charles.
“We’ve had some important people here today, but we want to emphasize that the fathers, grandfathers, uncles, people like that, are very important in these kids’ lives,” she said.
Samuel Booker also attended the event to support his granddaughter. Booker said he spent the morning at a table with his granddaughter and two other girls placing elephants on diagrams according to size and color, counting numbers and identifying numbers.
“These young ladies are definitely in charge and are training me,” he said laughing.
Booker, who is retired from the city of Lake Charles Water Division, said he was proud to come because children need masculine support.
“Events like this motivates us as fathers and grandfathers to come out and support our children,” Booker said. “They need father images to let them know we are backing them up.”
Brummett said the school has been preparing for the event for two weeks, and this was the first year the school hosted something like this. Brummett said the entire staff at the school contributed to making the day a success. The school now plans to make this an annual event, she said.