WAYNESBORO, MS (WDAM) - Think of it as an academic pep rally, where the athletes are kids and the cheerleaders are their dads. That's what happened at Waynesboro Middle School. The game students are focused on, is playing out in the classroom. Their opponents are state tests.
"I was looking for just anything to motivate them and just really push them," said Principal Shronda Turner, who came up with the idea of having dads, like Jerrell Rankins line the walkway as their own kids and fellow students walk in the doors. If you ask Turner, a homemade sign, a high five and a hand shake can go a long way.
"I really think it had a positive effect," said Turner. "Having the dads show up that day and just be here to cheer the students on, I think the students really enjoyed that and they were really surprised to see them there that morning."
Amping kids up for tests takes a lot of energy, because let's face it, tests are just not fun. Despite it, these dads were up for the challenge, even if it meant possibly embarrassing their own kids.
"Some of them acted like they were shy and embarrassed," said Rankins. "I know my daughter did."
Rankins' daughter is in eighth grade and says as a parent, he felt his responsibility was to show up.
"If you love your child, you want them to do better than what you do," said Rankins. "In order for our children to be successful in this competitive environment which we live in, we must be actively involved in their education."
A few more days of testing still remain for these students and their cheering section is more than eager to step in if needed.
"It shows that we were supportive of them, said Rankins. "Not only do we talk, we also back up our talk with action."