High Fives and Fist Bumps

A business–school partnership brings joy to an entire community.

High fives and fist bumps, hugs and hellos.

For three years every Friday morning, these friendly greetings have been a simple way for Glatfelter employees to reach out to the students at Tiffin Elementary and let them know that people in their community care about them and are rooting for their success.

“It’s a great way to start our Fridays,” says Todd Shoemaker, principal at Tiffin Elementary, home to roughly 300 students in an underserved area of Chillicothe, Ohio.

Shoemaker recently decided to reverse the greeter program by encouraging a small group of student leaders to visit the Glatfelter mill entrance on a Friday afternoon. Students enthusiastically greeted workers who were coming off first shift and arriving for second shift.

“Our kids were there giving fist bumps, high-fiving, and telling them to have a great day,” says Shoemaker. “It was fun to see these adult employees walking in with big smiles and talking to the kids.”

Shoemaker describes the ongoing partnership with Glatfelter as valuable in many ways. Whether it’s greeting kids on Friday mornings, assisting with the science fair, bringing in authors to address classes, or scheduling a weekend clean-up/beautification day, the promises of hope and the bonds of friendship that are forming help strengthen the entire community.

Paul Doughty, a mill weighmaster at Glatfelter and Tiffin volunteer, is proud to serve. “Being a Tiffin alumnus, the partnership between Glatfelter and the school really lies close to my heart,” he says. “I understand personally how much it means to these kids to know that someone in the community cares.”