Community cheers on students, makes them smile on first day of class

Community cheers on students, makes them smile on first day of class

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Community leaders gathered at Berclair Elementary School to make the first day of school a fun one for students.

Alejandra Martinez was one of hundreds of students who were greeted at school by signs and smiles.

"There's always anxiety starting school for the first time," Charlton Lyons said. "In addition to that--with all the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents coming in--there's a lot of additional anxiety."

Berclair Elementary School has one of the highest percentages of Spanish-speaking students, according to school representatives.

"We thought being out here and showing a warm welcome and an inviting environment would make a happy day for the kids," Lyons said.

People who organized the rally at Berclair said they planned to do similar shows of support at schools across Memphis.

"Just stand in line and watch some of the kids who might be tearing up a little bit start to smile," Calvary Church Director Scott Walters said about the impact their rally had on the children.

For Martinez, she said she was scared and nervous to start first grade. However, after seeing the smiling faces cheering her on, she said she felt ready to take on the challenge.

She had two powerful words for the men and women who dedicated their time to make her feel better: "Thank you."

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