On Tuesday September 19, 2017, Multnomah Elementary School observed the national Million Father March event by inviting  fathers, grandfathers, and other strong role model figures  to participate in a morning student greeting event. Father’s and other strong parent figures began assembling in front of the school around 7:15am where they formed two long lines on both sides of the walkway leading into the main playground.  As students and parents began to arrive and walk through the two lines, they were greeted with a wealth of enthusiastic high fives and warm smiles.  The gleaming smiles on the small faces of  arriving students and their parents warmed even the coolest of mornings.  Even local firefighters from Fire Station 16 were able to share some of their precious time to participate in this special occasion.  Principal Narajphan Asavasopon and Multhnomah staff such as Brenda Lopez did a tremendous job of organizing and outreaching to parents and volunteers as was evident with the overwhelming support and father participation. 

     The annual Million Father March event was started by the Black Star Project, a Chicago-based non-profit, to encourage black fathers to show their commitment to the educational lives of their children. It is generally observed on the first day of school in nearly 600 cities across the country. It has become a day for fathers and strong role models to provide an escort of safety, support, and encouragement to their children, families, and communities.

       Research shows that children whose fathers take an active role in their educational lives earn better grades, score higher on tests, enjoy school more, and are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college. Additionally, children have fewer behavior problems when fathers play an active role in their lives.

       Principal Narajphan’s decision to hold such an event was similar in goal, in that it sought to lift her student’s self-esteem and of importance by having strong father figures demonstrate their commitment to their child’s social and educational life.  The event marks the beginning of a year-long commitment by fathers in their children’s educational success. 

            The morning culminated with every Multnomah classroom assembling on the main yard to acknowledge and thank all the fathers, uncles, grandfathers, and other volunteers who took time to come and make this morning such a memorable event.  Principal Narajphan’s  message to her students was “You are important and you matter. When you come to school and you commit yourself to learning, then anything is possible.”  All the many fathers and other participants who were gathered on the outdoor stage that morning attested to that  belief.  Much thanks to Principal Narajphan, Brenda Lopez, and all other staff involved in organizing and making this a memorable and inspiring day for the students of Multnomah Elementary School. IMG_4232