Monday afternoon students from throughout Red River Parish converged on the High and Junior High campus for the third annual Back to School BASH. The event is made possible by many civic minded local businesses. It was coordinated through United Way of Northwest Louisiana.
“It is a big help to the community,” was the sentiment of Janeka Solton, a mother of two students. She said, “It means a lot to my family because we cannot afford things that we need.” Solton works at All Things daycare on Highway 71 south of Coushatta. She said, “I just love working with kids.”
Each student left the BASH with a new backpack stuffed with the supplies they would need to start school. There were backpacks for each grade from pre-K and younger to high school seniors. Volunteer workers told The Journal that all items not distributed would be sent to the school for students who did not come on Monday.
There was more to be had at this year’s BASH. The Junior High Gym was filled with local and area organizations providing great information to students and their parents. Some of the booths were from Unlimited Alternatives to Change, CADA, the MLK Health Center, the parish Health Unit, Christus Dental and Rural Health clinics, Red River 4-H, the Council on Aging, and Gingerbread House. Students and parents were required to visit several of the vendors prior to getting the free backpacks.
This year the immunization requirements the state makes for attending public school have changed. The parish Health Unit was there to explain the new requirements. They also were printing out student’s immunization records. If you missed it, parents can get their children’s shot records at the Health Unit on Red Oak Road Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.
And there was food. There was a long line of people waiting to be served hot dogs, chips and cold drinks. The Sheriff’s Department brought their big rig cooking trailer and did the grilling. The dogs and buns were donated by Rivertown Market.
A personal note: This year’s Back to School Bash was much better organized than the prior two. Organizers took note of bottle necks and other situations the first two years. We observed long lines at check-in and to get hot dogs, but they moved quickly. Same for those visiting the information tables in the Junior High Gym and everyone picking up their backpacks in the High School Gym. And this year, for the first, the event attracted the attention of Shreveport TV. KSLA sent a reporter to do interviews and report on the event.