Students in Tucson, Arizona, are back in classrooms Thursday. But the day before, when educators and school officials are typically putting the finishing touches on classrooms and pouring over schedules, a more important mission underway.

On Wednesday, at 8 a.m., as temperatures surged into the 90s, 26 teams of educators and community leaders – including the mayor, the school superintendent, local celebrities, University of Arizona star athletes and others – hit the streets, knocking on 196 doors in hopes of re-enrolling students who had dropped out of school the year before.

“We’re pretty persistent,” says Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, who heads up the mission along with the school district superintendent. “Sometimes you have to knock on the door more than once. What we’re trying to do is make these young people feel important and that they’re really a value to our community.”

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