ORANGE CITY—Asking a child for a high-five is a sure way to get a smile, and that’s exactly the point of a Friday morning routine at Orange City Elementary.
High-Five Fridays are one way the school seeks to promote positivity not only among its students but with the community at large.
Every Friday this fall, groups have come to the elementary to greet the students with a high-five as they enter the school in the morning. The volunteering group could be from a local business or an athletic team from the MOC-Floyd Valley High school or from Northwestern College.
Elementary counselor Jackie Olson said members of the MOC-Floyd Valley and Northwestern football teams even came a bit earlier to play with the students on the playground before school started.
“Just saying ‘Good morning,’ that human touch, can do a lot for someone,” Olson said. “The kids love it. The smiles say it all as they’re going into the building.”
She also has heard from the high-fiving greeters how much they have enjoyed their time welcoming the students.
That, too, is part of the goal, and it facilitates as a way to build relationships within the community.
“It’s great for the kids to see these people here before school in the morning, and then they might see them out in the community somewhere else,” Olson said.
The students always are curious who will be there the next week.
It also has brightened the days of the teachers, Olson said.
High-Five Friday has been going on since 2018, when Olson had to split her time between Orange City Elementary and Hospers Elementary.
“I tried to do it once a month, and because it was going so well, I tried to do it every other Friday,” Olson said.
Since she is only at Orange City Elementary this year, she has been coordinating it for every Friday.
Olson credited the idea to Eric Thompson, a counselor at Okoboji Middle School in Milford, who was among her instructors at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake when she was pursuing her master’s degree.
“He had been doing this for a couple of years, and he shared the idea with us,” Olson said.
At first, it was up to her to seek out and invite different groups to act as greeters, but people since have been reaching out to her to be a part of it.
Olson has no plans to quit High-Five Fridays anytime soon, she said.
“Their smiles and excitement tell me they love it,” Olson said.