Portsmouth city leaders greet students with encouragement on first day of school


PORTSMOUTH, Va.  (WAVY) — Portsmouth community leaders wanted to send students back to school on the right foot.

More than two dozen people greeted kids at Park View Elementary School on Tuesday morning.

“First day, they’re getting over the summer slide so we got to get them back in gear,” said Cardell Patillo, who’s on the Portsmouth School Board.

Patillo says he’s been greeting students from the district for four years and wants the children to know they want them to succeed in the classroom.

“If you have a great start to the school year, you’ll have a successful finish. We wanted to do our part and responsibility to make sure students got a great start to the school year,” Patillo said.

Portsmouth Sheriff Michael Moore and Police Chief Tonya Chapman joined the school board and city representatives.

Their officers and deputies passed out candy and good wishes to those headed to the classroom.

“I believe it’s important to them. I don’t know if it impacts them at a full extent because they’re small. They’re younger kids but having the candy gives them encouraging as well,”  Chapman said.

Chapman says doing this is a part of community engagement and visiting the school is special to her department.

“Last year, we tutored for the first time at Park View. So, I saw my little mentee this morning,” she said.

Chapman says that 19 officers tutor between Park View and John Tyler Elementary School.

Patillo says being involved and being seen by the kids helps them know they care.

“It’s great to see city leadership behind you pushing you 100 percent. You may see them on TV or their names posted somewhere, but very rarely do you see them at your school the first day pushing you, telling you they’re behind you,” he said.

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