Students entering Hillside High School Monday had company --dads and other men who serve as father figures.
They responded to Superintendent Dr. Eric Becoats' call for men willing to volunteer at least 10 hours at the school as part of a nationwide movement called the "Million Fathers March."
"Introducing the kids to the school that's new, and also to bring the veteran ones back, but also to get the people in the community involved," said Mike Hargrave, whose nephew Isaiah is a student at Hillside.
"It's important to me because my dad is .. he's around, but not around as much as my uncle is," Isaiah said. "He's like a second father to me."
Some men with grown children, like Abe McCoy, even volunteered to step up for kids they don't know.
"They need some positive role models," McCoy said. "It's an unfortunate situation, I feel it's almost an epidemic with the lack of men in the family, and I'm just here to give support."
Another message sent Monday came from faculty and staff wearing red -- a signal that they appreciate educators at a time when North Carolina teachers are in the news and speaking out for more money and better treatment by legislative leaders who control state funding.
"In light of the recent action taken by the legislature, I think that we have to show our teachers support," Dr. Becoats said. "We also have to show our teachers that we will continue to support them, regardless of what happens in Raleigh."