A Memphis teacher has gone from an inspiration in his classroom to a nationwide icon for Gap Kids’ latest back-to-school campaign.
In 2019 David Jamison made national headlines with his dozens of different handshakes that were given to his fifth-grade students at Hickory Ridge Elementary School every day. Last year, they were adapted as non-touch greetings due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Since he started teaching, Jamison has come up with more than 200 different handshakes, according to a company news release.
Jamison became a teacher after he said he grew up with no Black male teachers, which taught him that representation matters.
“When I was a kid, I was always in trouble at school,” he said in a Gap news release. “I realized that part of the reason why is because I didn’t have teachers who looked like me. I didn’t have someone I could relate to. When I decided to become a teacher, I not only felt called to help change representation in education, but to be a role model kids need. Experiences in early childhood education shape who we are the rest of our lives. I am honored to play a role in the lives of my students and our handshakes are just a small piece of the change I hope to create. It’s our job as a community to nurture all children so they can flourish and reach their greatest potential.”
Jamison’s connection with his students is being featured in the company’s fall advertising program, which was unveiled during an in-person pep rally that was held to welcome students back to in-person learning.
The advertisements show how Jamison considers each of his students as individuals.
Gap also donated school uniforms to help the students at Hickory Ridge Elementary School.
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