SOMERS, N.Y. - The fathers of Deirdre Cardonas’ first-grade students squeezed into tiny seats next to their children to enjoy bagels and orange juice side-by-side at the third annual “Proud Papas Peacemakers Breakfast” on Friday, Oct. 14.

The tradition started years ago when Cardonas taught kindergarten and completed the bear unit. It was a way to involve her students’ fathers (or other male guardians or influencers) in their curriculums and the alliteration in the name made it more fun, she said. Now, the breakfast is held after the first graders learn about the Constitution, laws, rules and democracy. The students drafted a class constitution, which included rules such as “show respect” and they all added their signatures to the bottom. They then participated further in democracy by voting on a new mascot, eventually settling on the “scarecrow.”

Cardonas believes in the importance of ensuring students’ male guardians are involved in their academic lives.

“Dads really influence a child’s learning,” Cardonas said. “It’s been proven that their influence is even more important than the moms’. So if they’re involved and show interest, their child remains interested, too.”