Neon paper airplanes whizzed in all directions, one lodging itself in the ceiling, as excited youngsters took turns launching their creations across the Northside Elementary cafeteria Thursday night.

The experiment, which was a joint effort among dozens of El Campo ISD students, parents and family members, demonstrated educational concepts at the Strong Fathers - Strong Families Science Night.

“Our goal with bringing the Strong Fathers’ program to our district was to reach out to families, especially the fathers or father figures in our students’ lives, and increase the level of engagement they have in their child’s education,” ECISD Director of Federal Programs and Accountability Alicia Stary said.

Speaker Mike Hall taught the listening families about science topics using interactive demonstrations. Using a giant plastic bag, he explained how a vacuum works using negative air pressure.

He addressed the audience in English and Spanish.

El Campo ISD has been hosting events with Hall for two years. The events have different educational themes, such as science and math, but also include messages about family engagement.

“Since implementing Strong Fathers, we have seen more parents attend events and work with teachers to ensure their child is on track for success,” Stary said.

Parent involvement is proven to improve a child’s education, according to

“When fathers are involved in the lives of their children, especially their education, children learn more, perform better in school, and exhibit healthier behavior,” according to

Strong Fathers - Strong Families is a non-profit organization. Hall has worked with 200,000 fathers in 45 states, according to He was chosen as the 2012 White House Fatherhood Champion of Change.

The next Strong Fathers Strong Families night will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 25 at Hutchins Elementary, 1006 Roberts. The theme is Math Night, and is free and open to all ECISD elementary school students and their families.

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