PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - School superintendent Wayne Rodolfich is a strong believer in extending a personal welcome back to the students and teachers on the first day of school.
That's why the leader of the Pascagoula School District personally visited more than 500 classrooms in the district on Thursday.
"I came here to personally welcome you back to school this year," Rodolfich said, visiting classroom after classroom, repeating the refrain.
It is a long running tradition for the superintendent. For the last 12 years, Rodolfich has made it his mission to visit each and every classroom on the first day of school.
"You know, I think it's very important that as leaders of this school district, that we all get out and we go see all of our children and our teachers. These folks work so hard every year, and the least we can do as leaders is go to every classroom and welcome every child and every teacher back to school," said Rodolfich.
Each year, a different school leader accompanies Rodolfich on his visits.
"He's got a quick pace, and you've got to run pretty hard to keep up with him. But, he's going to get the mission done," said Assistant Superintendent Boyd West. "It means a lot to the kids. I think when they see us, the teachers know that they're supported by the superintendent and they're going to work hard for us. It's a tough job being a teacher," said West.
After the long walk, the superintendent admits his feet might be a little sore. He bought new running shoes for the tradition, but says he hasn't had a chance to break them in yet.
"It's very rewarding to see all of our young people. It's very exciting to see them," said Rodolfich.