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Perspective | The power of community collaboration: ‘Back to School Bash’ provides students with essential supplies

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  • How do you welcome your students and parents back to school? How do you invite your community to support your school? @DonnaBledsoe14 @crepanthers @SurryCoSchools shares how her school organized a "Back to School Bash." #bringthejoy

Cedar Ridge Elementary School hosted an exciting “Back to School Bash” on Monday, July 31, 2023, providing students and families in the Lowgap community with an opportunity to gear up for the upcoming school year while enjoying a night of festivities.

The event took place on the school’s campus and featured various essential items, games, and a complimentary dinner for all attendees.

Courtesy of Surry County Schools

The “Back to School Bash” offered a unique shopping experience for students, allowing them to choose from an assortment of much-needed items, including bookbags, school supplies, books for home libraries, shoes, undergarments, and haircut vouchers.

This initiative aimed to alleviate some of the financial burdens that families often face when preparing for the new academic year.

Families gathered in the school’s courtyard, where an engaging and festive atmosphere awaited them. Children and parents alike enjoyed a variety of games and activities designed to foster a sense of community and camaraderie among attendees. Laughter and excitement filled the air as students participated in interactive games, forming lasting memories with friends and family.

Courtesy of Surry County Schools

Christopher Harriston, a parent of three children at Cedar Ridge Elementary, expressed his appreciation for the event, stating, “Something like this brings everybody together and shows the kids that the school and community care about their education. It makes you feel proud to live here.”

The success of the “Back to School Bash” was a result of the strong support from both the community and individual sponsors. Their generosity and commitment to the well-being of local students exemplified the power of community collaboration.

Courtesy of Surry County Schools

Tiffany Coe, a representative from Mount Airy Walmart, reflected on the community impact, “It means so much to me to come back to a school that I attended and give back. I know a lot of people in the Cedar Ridge community have a hard time at the beginning of the school year trying to afford everything they need for their children to be prepared for school. This is one way that we can support our students but also support families. Seeing the happiness on the faces of children and parents alike today is all the proof we need to know that we are making a positive difference here.”

“The ‘Back to School Bash’ at Cedar Ridge Elementary exemplifies our dedication to equitable practices within our school community. We believe that every student should have an equal opportunity to start the school year with confidence and enthusiasm. This event not only provides essential supplies but also creates a positive and inclusive environment that sets the tone for a successful academic year.”

— Principal Donna Bledsoe

As the evening came to a close, attendees left with not only bags full of supplies but also hearts full of joy and gratitude. The “Back to School Bash” at Cedar Ridge Elementary left an indelible mark on the community, serving as a reminder of the power of unity and the importance of fostering a supportive and nurturing environment for students as they embark on their educational journeys.

“Initiatives like the ‘Back to School Bash’ showcase the collective efforts of community members, sponsors, and educators to support our students and their families. By coming together, we demonstrate the value of collaboration and the positive impact it can have on the educational experience and overall well-being of our students.”

— Principal Donna Bledsoe

Events such as the “Back to School Bash” underscore the profound influence that community involvement and support can have on the success of students within public education school communities. By creating opportunities for students to thrive and by ensuring that all students have access to essential resources, these initiatives contribute to a brighter future for both individuals and the community as a whole.

How do you welcome your students and parents back to school? How do you invite your community to support your school? Post on social using the #bringthejoy!

Donna Bledsoe

Donna Bledsoe is the principal of Cedar Ridge Elementary School in Surry County and the 2023 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year. Before becoming principal of Cedar Ridge in 2015, Bledsoe served as a classroom teacher, instructional specialist, and assistant principal.