MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — They walk the halls of Potomack Intermediate, making sure operations run smoothly with watchful eyes.

They aren't paid for their time, but they serve a powerful purpose.

Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students), is the revitalized program at Potomack Intermediate. The program has encouraged fathers to be more involved during a students' day and throughout the school.

Watch Dads of Great Students is a national program that started in 1998 in Arkansas and it brings fathers and father figures into school classrooms and hallways across the country.

Now seven years old, the program is a way to include positive male figures - including fathers, uncles, grandfathers and stepfathers - into student's lives. While at the schools, participants can help with bus duty, walk hallways and interact with youngsters along the way.

Potomack Intermediate kicked off the new program by hosting a 'Donuts with Dad' event, on Oct. 13.

Josh Hykes, of Hedgesville, participated in Potomack Intermediate's first Watch D.O.G.S. event.

Hykes and nearly 500 other fathers, uncles, grandfathers and other men filled the school cafeteria along with their children, munching on donuts and juice while learning about the program.

"I have two daughters attending Potomack Intermediate School," Hykes said. "I think this program, it shows kids that dads do think education is important. It also gives an extra set of eyes and ears in the hallways, helps reduce bullying and increases security."

Hykes said the idea behind the revitalized program is to get positive male role models involved in the school at least one day per school year, if not more.

"In the program, dads can read to the class; work in a center with a group; work with flashcards; help a student complete their work by helping them stay on task; help a student take a makeup spelling test; participate in specials classes; help with recess time; help prepare a craft; be a one-on-one support for a particular student; help load/unload buses; play with the kids during recess; help with lunch duty and so much more," Hykes said.

Hykes said that the response to Watch D.O.G.S. at Potomack Intermediate was overwhelming.

"Our school has over 830 students between grades third through fifth, and we were originally thinking a great response would be between 100-150 RSVP for our Donuts with Dad event," Hykes said. "We had over 500 kids and dads RSVP and had over 550 donuts eaten that morning.

"We are just amazed at the attendance and support of our event. I also want to give thanks to Matt Webber, store manager of the Falling Waters Food Lion for helping us with the cost of the donuts as well as to the Spring Mills Sheetz for supplying the coffee. Also thank you to all the staff that came in early to help make the event a success as well."

Steve Shaeffer, art teacher at Potomack Intermediate, agreed with Hykes.

"I really think this opportunity is important for dads in the community, Shaeffer said. "This is the first year I have actually participated in something like this, but the I really hope we do more activities in the future. I believe the Watch D.O.G.S. program encourages positive male role models in our community. You don't see many activities catered to just dads, so this is important. It's also important not just to the dads, but the kids as well. They get to spend more time with their kids, talk to them, interact with them at school, show them that we care about them and their education. I'm definitely hoping that we will see more dads come out and volunteer in the future."

For more information about the Watch D.O.G.S. program, visit: http://www.fathers.com/watchdogs

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Information from: The Journal, http://journal-news.net/