Breakfast with dad

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A.R. Rucker encourages school involvement by fathers

By Reece Murphy

As anyone with a busy family knows, the morning rush is usually not the most conducive time of day to stop and have a little quality time with the kids.

Especially for working dads.

Offering dads an opportunity to do just that was only part of the reason behind A.R. Rucker Middle School’s National Fathers Take Your Children to School Day breakfast Tuesday.

But it was an important reason nonetheless for fathers such as Sam Prete of Lancaster.

“It’s just extra time I get to spend with Katelyn,” Prete said of sharing breakfast with his seventh-grade daughter. “Usually, I’m out the door by the time they’re getting up, so it’s nice to be able to take part of this aspect of her life.”

Like Prete, Jay Moore said he doesn’t often get the chance to spend time with his sixth-grade daughter, Jaylyn, in the mornings since he is usually leaving by the time she wakes up for school.

Moore said carving out time from his day to have breakfast with his daughter was well worth it. And Jaylyn thought so too.

“We don’t get to much,” Jaylyn said. “I like it!” 

According to organizer and A.R. Rucker instructional facilitator Angela Steele, approximately 150 dads and their children attended this year's event.

Steele said another aspect of the event, which is sponsored nationally by the Black Star Project best known for their Million Father March, is to encourage more school volunteerism among fathers. By the time the event was over, she had a small stack of volunteer forms filled out by dads.

“We really want fathers involved in their students’ school,” Steele said. “Mothers are usually the ones who are helping their children at school, helping them with their homework, getting involved.

“But being the role model that fathers are, it’s important their children see through their fathers’ examples that education is important in the home,” she said.

Among the fathers at the breakfast were Fred Thompson, who brought his sons Frederick and Kendrick to school, and Rodney Watts, who brought his son Jaren to school.

Thompson, a deputy with the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, said while teens may not want their fathers around, those years when a child is becoming an adult – and already thinks they’re an adult – are exactly the time when dads need to be around most.

Watts, an intervention specialist with the Lancaster Fatherhood Project, said statistics show the importance of fathers being involved in their children’s lives.

“Statistically, a child with a father in his life is a much more productive child in society,” Watts said. “They have better discipline, respect for others, not as prone to drug use or teen pregnancies.

“It’s just a wonderful thing for a child to know their father is there for them,” he said.


Contact reporter Reece Murphy at (803) 283-1151