Some Durham dads return to school for 'Million Father March'

Posted August 25, 2014 5:31 p.m. EDT
Updated August 25, 2014 6:50 p.m. EDT

— More than 33,000 Durham Public Schools students returned to class Monday morning, and at Hillside High School, so did some of their dads.

Principal William Morgan estimated that more than 100 fathers and men serving as father figures renewed their commitment from last year to be more involved in their children's schooling.

It's part of a nationwide initiative called the Million Father March, in which men pledge to spend at least 10 hours of time volunteering or mentoring at the school.

With the program only in its second year at Hillside, Logan says it's difficult right now to quantify its success. Since becoming principal three years ago, however, he has seen improvements in test scores overall.

Being a single father himself, he wants to make sure there is always a positive male presence for his students.

Shelby Miles' father took the pledge last year and was among those who recommitted Monday for a second.

"I feel like it's important to have fathers and to have that motivation to start off the year," Miles said. "So, I think that it's great to have a strong figure like my father help me and bring me into school."

Logan says the impact can be far-reaching.

"I think, if we work in a partnership between the school and the home, we can see a lot of potential become unlocked," he said.

However, he wants to be clear that these fathers need to do a lot more than just sign the pledge.

He wants to see action.

"Sometimes, you have to tag-team and trade off and do some of the things that mom traditionally does – as far as helping out with homework or even checking to see what homework is there," he said.