Sunday, August 27, was not only a day of worship but it was also the day when Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan visited several churches. The purpose of his visits was to encourage and create excitement for the opening of Chicago’s public schools on Sept. 5.

On Duncan’s stop was Mandell United Methodist Church, 5000 Congress Parkway, in Austin. Rev. Gregory Livingston, pastor of Mandell, emphasized that he expects perfect attendance for the first day.

“We’re asking parents to get involved and partnership with teachers,” he said.

Duncan, Rev. Livingston, Ald. Isaac Carothers (29th) and Rev. Dale Kelley, executive director of Austin YMCA, went door to door handing out book bags in the 5000 Block of West Congress on Saturday. Community residents were cordial and welcomed the Duncan. Alderman and clergy, many taking their own personal photos, were also a part of the group.

Livingston, Kelley and Carothers agreed that events like this are very important and shows the students and community that they care. Chicago Public Schools start classes after Labor Day on Tuesday, Sept 5.