Cranberry Elementary School staff went beyond the customary "hello" greeting to arriving students on Wednesday morning.
Every student in kindergarten through sixth grade was met with a hearty welcome and a crisp yellow lei as part of a new initiative known as "Start With Hello."
The campaign is part of a national observance of "Start With Hello Week" that focuses on promoting inclusion and addressing social isolation.
It was organized by Sandy Hook Promise, a national nonprofit group out of Newtown, Connecticut. It is led by relatives and friends of the children killed in the 2012 mass shooting at the school.
At Cranberry, the event featured numerous staff members wearing yellow, the placing of brightly colored lei wreaths on the youngsters as they got off their school buses and a hearty "hello."
Joining the staff in greeting the students were administrators, school board members and Pennsylvania State Trooper Michelle Magee.
The students' arrival at school for the program was filmed by high school journalism teacher Trisha Dixon's students. Their work included interviews as well as photographs.
Julie Kosker, elementary school counselor at Cranberry, took on the "Start With Hello" campaign.
"I brought the idea to the principal and everyone was in favor of doing it," said Kosker, whose arm was filled with dangling leis ready for presentation. "And, we picked yellow for the theme because it's a happy color."
At the heart of the program is the goal to connect students with each other as well as staff members in a fashion that fosters inclusion, said Kosker.
"It is teaching kids how powerful it can be to greet them, to notice them. And it's so simple," she said. "We hope to do it multiple times with other guests serving as greeters."