On August 1, 370 boys walked into the BEST Academy of Atlanta to begin their first day school. What they weren’t expecting was the warm welcome they received upon their arrival.
Grades 6 through 12 were greeted with loud cheers, handshakes, high-fives, hugs, and encouraging words from over 70 men. The inspirational welcome came in partnership with various Atlanta non-profit organizations, including 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Emerging 100 of Atlanta, The Collegiate 100 and the 100 Black Men of America.
“When they see these men high-fiving them and circling them, it’s really saying, ‘Hey, this is who I aspire to be and it’s possible,'” Dr. Timothy Jones, the school’s principle, told ABC News. “They become like symbols … symbols of hope and light.”
One graduating senior said he received an extra boost of encouragement when one man pulled him aside to let him know about the success he saw in him.
“[He said] ‘You look like you’re going somewhere … you’ll be famous soon,'” the 17-year-old student said. “That was kind of special because not too many people think that of me. It was a boost in morale.”
Check out the video below.