All About the Children

Across Manatee, students celebrate dads and male role models

Eight-year-old Ava Kozmits loves to complete homework assignments from her dad, Rob.

That’s because the homework isn’t really “homework.” Instead, Rob will make a drawing for Ava, who he calls his little artist, and then she’ll try to re-create the drawing. She’s recently learned a new trick to make her homework easier.

“Sometimes, I go on the back and trace it over,” she said Wednesday morning as she, her dad and her two brothers, 9-year-old Maddox and 6-year-old Evan ate breakfast together at Ballard Elementary School.

Ballard, and other schools across Manatee, celebrated dads and other male role models Wednesday, as part of the Florida Department of Education’s designated “Dads Take Your Child to School Day.” Ballard combined the event with its monthly All Pro Dad program, so students and their dads shared a breakfast of donuts and juice and also learned about “teachability.”

Students and dads shared something they had struggled with. They also took time to tell each other why they were proud of one another. Finally, as part of the All Pro Dad program, there was a raffle. And that was an exciting part for 6-year-old Brody Hill and his dad, Jeffrey White.

Brody, a first-grade student, won a hat in the second to last raffle. He immediately tried to put it on, learned it was too big and handed it off for dad to adjust it to the right size.

Outside of school, Brody and dad like to play football. Brody said he’s good at throwing the ball already.

“He’s learning how to catch it now,” White said, as Brody told a story about how his dad threw the ball up very, very high one time.

At Braden River Elementary, school officials encouraged dads to spend “smore” time with their students by handing out smores-making kits for children to bring home.

At Haile Middle School, dads and other male figures had a breakfast and learned Haile’s top 10 strategies to help students be successful.

Meghin Delaney: 941-745-7081, @MeghinDelaney