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'Look at the passion' | Hartford students welcomed back to school with celebration and encouragement

The local organization "Calling All Brothers" greeted students outside Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School with cheers and messages of encouragement.

Students in Hartford returned to the classrooms Tuesday morning, but before they hit the books, they were treated to a morning of motivation and celebration.

The local organization "Calling All Brothers" greeted students outside Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School with cheers and messages of encouragement. 

“'Calling All Brothers' is a collective of local men from the community. We all got together in 2015 and started doing this school greeting," said  DeVaughn Ward, an attorney and "Calling All Brothers" member

“When you come from a challenged environment, to be encouraged, rise above things that are going on in our community right now," said Daryl Roberts, former Hartford police chief and "Calling All Brothers " member.

Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez was also on hand to spread the excitement.

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“The one thing I’m hearing from staff, from families, is that it feels more stable and so we’ll take that when you reflect back on the last couple of years," said Torres-Rodriguez. "We continue with our tutorial support, [and] extended learning opportunities. We have our after-school programs, inter session, which is our February and April breaks."

Chronic absenteeism is another issue. New data from the state shows improvements last school year in getting those numbers down across Connecticut, but they are still significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels.

“It entails a lot of this. It entails partnerships. It entails developing those deeper relationships with our families," said Torres-Rodriguez.

“I hope any of those kids who are hesitant about going back to school say, ‘Look, these kids at Martin Luther King are really happy to be back. Look at the energy. Look at the passion,'" said Gov. Ned Lamont.

Angelo Bavaro is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at abavaro@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook and X.

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