ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Students at one Rockford school were welcomed back on Thursday by some familiar and friendly faces.

It was the “Wildcats Welcome Back Walk” at Kennedy Middle School. Teachers, staff, parents, community members and leaders lined the front walk, where kids were met with cheering and signs of encouragement.

Kourtni Gray, principal of Kennedy Middle School, said it was a way to show students that they are part of a bigger community.

“I think it starts out the students with being excited for coming every day and knowing there’s a place that they belong and there’s adults they can trust and really want them to do well,” she said.

Administrators said that the school is hoping to aspire to a slogan of “Intelligence Plus Character.”