Every now and then, we could all use a bit of encouragement. Although it doesn’t always get recognized, each and every day, we are all making strides towards the life of our dreams. And while we’re embarking on the path towards our goals, there’s nothing like a bit of motivation along the way to help push us beyond what we thought possible. No matter who we are or what we do, a friendly smile and a “way to go!” can be the fuel we need to keep forging ahead. And when it comes to cheering on the voice of the future, there is no one more worthy or deserving of our praise than Trenton’s remarkable youth.

On an early Friday morning, gentlemen from throughout the community gathered at Foundation Academies for a day these students won’t soon forget. Each year, in celebration of the 100th day of school, Foundation Academies hosts their annual “100 Man Welcome” to cheer on their students and congratulate them on this remarkable achievement. In the early hours of the morning, men from throughout the community gathered to make signs, line the halls, and clap and cheer as the students started their day. The men present at this event represented leadership from a myriad of industries, including business, education, non-profits, and more. And while these gentlemen may have come from a number of different backgrounds, they did share one valiant goal in common: to cheer on these scholars in the pursuit of their dreams.

Before the students officially entered the halls, attendees had the opportunity to hear from John Paxton Jr., Foundation Academy’s Dean of Culture and Special Projects. In his heartfelt speech, Mr. Haskins shared “As men, we often feel like we don’t have enough time. This is a special day for each of these young people who are about to walk into this building. 100 days. That’s 100 days of commitment. That’s 100 days of reflection. That’s 100 days of promise. And it signifies what you’ve done in your last 100 days. There’s not a person standing in this room that hasn’t had a challenge to overcome, something to push through, to impact each other.”

Continuing, he noted “Let’s pass that energy to them when them come in. They might look at you weird, they don’t know you, it’s high school right? But I know how they felt last year. I know how they feel. Give them that energy that they deserve, and celebrate, and lean into that energy for yourself as well, as it does take a tremendous amount of effort to show up every ay, to show up even when you’re not at your best.” After these words of encouragement concluded, the men in attendance lined the halls, and it was officially time to welcome the students for their 100th day of school. Met by clapping hands and smiling faces, one by one, students were individually greeted and celebrated as they embarked on day 100 of the year.

While this event took but a morning of time for the exceptional men who took the time to appear, the impact it will have in the lives of these scholars will no doubt reverberate throughout the generations. When we show up for one another and watch each other grow, there’s no telling just how far our community will go. Congratulations to the FA scholars on their 100th day of school, and here’s to finishing the year stronger than ever!

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