The balloon arches were up, the music was blasting, and the mascot, a wolf named Waldo, danced and snapped selfies with excited kids. Sounds like a pretty fun party, right? Well, the occasion was actually the first day of school, at Webster Elementary!

After a full day of meeting their teachers, catching up with friends, and getting ready for the school year, Webster students were treated to visits from a few special guests! Both Mayor Jim Kenney and Superintendent Dr. Tony Watlington made surprise appearances for the students, visiting classrooms and taking pictures with teachers and families.

“The first day of school is always a very exciting, energetic day with lots of emotion,” said Maxwell Akuamoah-Boateng, Director of Community Schools. “By having fun moments during the day, and having guests like Mayor Kenney and Superintendent Watlington, we’re showing the students that learning is an exciting thing and that schools like Webster are a place to feel safe and happy.”

John Webster Elementary, located in the Kensington section of the city, is one of 20 city-designated Community Schools.

The Community Schools program is a partnership between the City of Philadelphia, the School District of Philadelphia, and school communities to remove barriers to learning and support the success of each student. At Webster, Colin Hartzell serves as the Community School Coordinator.

There are currently 20 City-designated Community Schools, serving nearly 10,000 students. Community Schools are supported by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax.