A fifth grade English teacher at Ashley Park Elementary School in Charlotte, North Carolina, is getting national attention for personalized handshakes he has with each student.
ABC News reported that Barry White, Jr., has created special handshakes with each of his students, and has been greeting them that way for months.
A video of some of the gestures, posted in October by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools on Facebook, has more than 900,000 views.
"I started with one simple handshake last year with a fourth grader," White said. "This year I started making handshakes with the kids at recess. It was just one or two students and then it became contagious," he added. "I saw how much it meant to them, so I said, ‘Come on. Everyone come on.’ Then it was my full class, then it was kids from other classes. Now I have third graders wanting to do it, too."
White said he was inspired by LeBron James, who plays for his favorite NBA team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. He saw James do individual handshakes for each of his teammates and decided to to the same with his students.
"You see that bond and how close they are," he said. "I wanted to bring that feeling into the entire fifth grade."
Principal Meaghan Loftus appreciates the moves.
"The only way to help our scholars achieve at high levels every day is to embrace the need for a meaningful and deep relationships," Loftus said. "Barry’s handshakes represent his own authentic take on building those relationships. When I walk into my teachers’ rooms, I see the impact of those strong and trusting relationships.
"When kids know their teacher cares, they are attentive, engaged and driven to be successful. That’s the culture we are building at Ashley Park."
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