Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Children at Carver-Lyon Elementary School got quite the surprise Friday morning.
Before students walked through the front doors, members of the Richland County Sheriff's Department greeted them with a smile, and a high five.
But it's not your normal Friday at Carver-Lyon, it's "High Five Friday."
Every Friday, members of the Richland County Sheriff's Department stand in front of a local school and motivate students to have a great day.
"We all have a ball doing this!" said Captain John Ewing of the Richland County Sheriff's Department. "Even the parents that come through, they get the high-fives because everybody deserves to have a good High Five Friday, have a great weekend and we just love doing this."
Eligible schools have school resource officers, many of whom participate in High Five Fridays, like Captain Ewing.
"We don't know what type of night they had. They may have had a bad night," said Ewing. "So when they come in, they see us smiling, they're smiling a lot of times. It just gives us a great day and it gives them an outstanding feeling to know the police are here for you and we can be your friends also."
Five-year-old Jaiden Seabrooks was excited to get a high five from deputies.
"I just gave them a high five," she said. "A low five!"
The school principal, Dr. Teresa Turner, says memories like these will have a profound impact on her students.
"I saw some hesitations when students first stepped out, because sometimes their reality of who officers are in their world is different," Turner said.
Turner wants to help create a different reality. She says the engagement and the purpose of High Five Fridays will help strengthen bonds and create trust between our younger generation and those who protect.
"Let them know there are people everywhere who will love them, care for them and look out for them and their safety," she said. "So we have to partner with our community to break down some of those walls."