Some lucky Atlanta students got a huge surprise last week. Mentors encouraged them as they walked into school for the very first time this year.

During the welcome, approximately 370 boys at BEST Academy of Atlanta, an all boys school for grades 6 through 12, were greeted with cheers, handshakes, high-fives, hugs and encouraging words from over 70 men.

The heartfelt welcome was thanks to a partnership by several Atlanta non-profit organizations, including 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Emerging 100 of Atlanta, The Collegiate 100 and the 100 Black Men of America

Ray Singer, the program director for 100 Black Men of Atlanta and the liaison for the school, said the morning also benefited the mentors.

He told ABC News:

“At the end of the day, all of our volunteers walked away with just as much as experience as the student. It gives them an opportunity to have some real dialogue with students about careers … and they walk away feeling uplifted.”

It’s part of the non-profit organization’s larger partnership with the school, which they adopted 11 years ago when the school initially opened.

Dr. Timothy Jones, the school’s principle, was thankful his students got such a great start to the school year.

“When they see these men high-fiving them and circling them, it’s really saying, ‘Hey, this is who I aspire to be and it’s possible. They become like symbols … symbols of hope and light.”

Article Source: WSBTV.com