When Indianapolis Public Schools invited women throughout the community to help encourage and greet students with a simple high-five, the response was strong and overwhelming.

 

There were no formal invitations sent. All it took was simple word-of-mouth, a few social media, website and news mentions, and women showed up.

 

On Monday, April 15, women communitywide — including several teachers and students from other schools — lined the main hallway inside Anna Brochhausen School 88 as students entered the building that morning.

 

Leading the group was Aleesia Johnson, interim IPS superintendent.

 

While students at the east side IPS school are used to receiving high-fives, it’s usually from community men involved with Urban Initiative, a local program spearheaded by Dr. Preston Adams. Several times throughout the school year, the men of Urban Initiative visit the school to offer up that universal hand sign of encouragement.

 

This time, they wanted women to get their chance.

 

Johnson said having the all-women’s high-five rally offers inspiration to all students but especially young girls, who can look up to them as role models.

 

It also allows girls to see people who look like them, “who are excited for them, cheering them on and rooting for them,” she said. “I’m so excited to just be able to bring this energy into the building.”

 

The smiles on the faces of students, staff and guests — along with the laughs and positive affirmations — were enough to know the event was a success.

 

This was the first of many other all-women high-five rallies. “We’re excited to continue the momentum,” said Johnson.