Getting the need met… Annual Back to School Bash helps to meet needs of students, families

Published 6:00 am Monday, July 29, 2019



Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

With the beginning of school just around the bend, the annual Elizabethton Back to School Bash is slated for next Saturday, Aug. 3, at Elizabethton High School from 9 to 11 a.m.

In its fourth year of existence, the bash continues to grow in the number of students who show up to pick up a new backpack for the school year filled with supplies while parents and guardians will have over 30 booths to visit to find various types of assistance throughout the year.

“It’s going to be basically the same as it has been the last two years,” said the events coordinator Dr. Myra Newman. “We have added more booths with more community agencies for our families to come and be a part of and to see what’s going on and maybe find support and ways to help them throughout the year.

“We have the inflatables of course and the police department is in partnership with us and they will have the obstacle course and bike course so we are excited about that partnership.

“We will have different types of vehicles for children and families to look into like an ambulance, a fire truck, and I think that we even have a STEM bus coming and our ‘Betsy Book Bus will be there,” Newman continued.

“We are excited about exposing children and families to those types of things as well.”

One of the bash’s main goals is to make sure students are adequately equipped to begin a new school year.

For that reason, there haven’t been any restrictions placed on who can and cannot obtain a backpack and enjoy the fun morning of activities.

“Right now, we have it open to any student that comes through,” added Newman. “We are not trying to limit it to anyone. First, we want to serve our own students but if we have enough, we will give to any student who comes through.”

Efforts have been made to stock the backpacks for the three different levels of school from elementary to high school and for that reason, the supplies will vary based upon the grade of the student.

“What we have done is we have taken the school’s supply list and things that they have in common or use more often and that is what we have gotten to put into the backpacks,” Newman stated.

“The elementary school’s backpack may be different than the middle school and the high school will be different as well. That’s why we will have three different lines for the students to go through because they are not all the same.”

There will be food available and agencies will be more than happy to provide any assistance they possibly can to assist those in attendance.

“We will be serving hot dogs and chips so there will be a meal there. All the community partnerships and agencies that support our families throughout the year will be there so we are super excited to be able to do this for our community,” Newman stated.

The event has seen growth since its inception and Newman expects there to be even more in the way of attendance this year as well.

“This is my fourth year with the back to school bash and my first year with the Elizabethton school was the first year we did it,” Newman commented.

“It was exciting to be a part of it from the beginning. The first year we still had a big crowd but we have seen an increase throughout the years with people coming.

“Our agencies and booths have increased. We are up to like 30 to 35 booths this year and that is an increase from 25 last year so we are excited about having more of those type of people available for our community to see.

“It just seems like every year we have more students to show up,” continued Newman. “I am not sure about how many backpacks we gave away last year. We always try to order 1,000 backpacks with supplies each year.

“We have a little left over to give to the schools so if we have any other students who come in that didn’t get to come to the back to school bash, we have some supplies to offer them.”

Newman said that the event would in no way be possible if it wasn’t for all the sponsors and partnerships that have come together to make an event of this magnitude possible.

“We couldn’t do it without the community support because it’s so important. East River Park Christian Church has really stepped up and brings tons of volunteers to come and cook the food and hand out the backpacks and we couldn’t do it without them,” Newman said.

“We have several sponsors like Calvary Baptist Church who have given financially and partners such as Academy Sports who have helped out so much to make it possible for us to purchase the backpacks.”

There will be many Elizabethton school staff members present on the day of the bash and they will be readily available to answer any questions parents or students may have. They will be wearing special shirts with name tags so they can be readily accessible.

Those staff members will be working the event from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to make sure everything flows smoothly and that the grounds are cleaned up at the completion.

Newman said it had touched her personally to see just how the community has bonded together to help meet the needs of students and their families.

“It’s very overwhelming at times to see the number of people who come and how we are meeting a need and how the community is pulling together to meet that need,” Newman said about the overall impact of the event.

“It’s just the whole community that is meeting the student’s needs. It’s a blessing to see. Sometimes we have parents beat me there and parents are ready for the doors to open. It’s an amazing feeling.

“We just thank our partners who help us purchase the backpacks and all of our sponsors who make this event possible.”