RANTOUL — Rantoul Township High School Principal Todd Wilson had been wanting to hold a welcome-back-to-school event for several years. Last Monday it happened.

The community was invited to come out and give the welcome.

Wilson told of the impetus for the event: “I was re-energized by a conference I went to this summer about school culture and climate. One of the speaker’s catch phrases was ‘We need to make the positive so loud that the negative is almost impossible to hear.’ Another speaker talked about telling your own story as a school. He said, ‘Education is not broke; we just are not in charge of the story.’”  

Shine a light

Wilson said he thought the event would shine a positive light on RTHS and the community.

“First, I saw a post on Facebook by one of the Army recruiters who comes to our school. I reached out to him first to ask if he wanted to come and bring some of the other recruiters,” Wilson said. “Those guys love to be in the schools to support the kids.

“Next I thought I would invite some first responders as well, so I reached out to Jeremy Larson to see if he could rally some firefighters. Then came the police department. I asked (Superintendent Scott) Amerio to spread the word at Exchange Club and Rotary as well.  When the event drew closer I started putting more information on social media.”

Thanks for participants

Wilson said he was thankful for all the people who showed up.

“We had parents and other relatives, retired teachers, board members and so many others from the community who just showed up and gave the kids a boost as they walked in. It is important for our kids to know that people care for them and support them.”