The Knoxville Community School District held its third annual Back to School Bash on July 31 at the Knoxville High School commons.

The Back to School Bash served as a type of one-stop-shop for families to prepare for the upcoming school year. Parents were able to register their children for school, while also interacting with community partners at various booths.

“We know there are other things they need,” Superintendent Cassi Pearson said of parents preparing for school, “so we invited community partners in so that they can kind of check a few things off their list all at the same time.”

This year, there were 22 community partners present at the Back to School Bash. Representatives from Marion County Public Health provided on-site immunizations, while members of the First United Methodist Church handed out backpacks and school supplies to those who needed them.

The Knoxville Food Youth Initiative, which was the summer food program, served a full Thanksgiving meal to anyone who attended the Back to School Bash. The police department was also present with games for the kids and safety tips for the parents.

“Our community partners are just amazing,” says Pearson. “Every year it has gotten bigger and better. It is very cool.”

The Back to School Bash was a concept the district’s wellness committee took on three years ago. Ever since its first year, the event has continued growing and bringing in more families and community partners. This year marked the largest Back to School Bash yet.

“I think in the last couple years we have worked so hard looking for opportunities to work with our community to serve our families,” said Pearson. “This was just one of those pieces.”

New to the Back to School Bash this year was the school’s food pantry. The food pantry opened for the first time last October. This event was the first opportunity to have the food pantry open on the same day as the Back to School Bash.

This year’s Back to School Bash began at 2 p.m. Students and parents alike were excited for the event, starting to wait outside the door at 1 p.m.

“It kind of felt like Black Friday shopping,” said Pearson with a laugh. “It warms my heart thinking that kids are ready to go back to school and parents are ready to send them back to school.”

The first day of school for Knoxville students is Friday, August 23. Pearson says she is looking forward to the upcoming year, acknowledging that it will be here before we know it.

“I love when the kids come back, and even the staff. It’s so fulfilling,” she says. “We have learning and growing happening every day, and every day is different, every hallway is different. I think the true nature of the business, educating kids, is exciting and watching all that they get accomplished, and all that they’ve truly learned and the doors that it opens for them as they get older.”

With only a few weeks left until the school year starts again, the Back to School Bash was a great way to start off the new year.

“It’s just very exciting,” says Pearson. “We look forward to seeing what happens every single year. It just gets better.”

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