To help prepare students for the start of school on Aug. 25, the Prince George’s County Public Schools hosted their fifth annual Back-to-School Fair at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro on Aug. 8. Hundreds of students, ranging from elementary to high schools in the county, waited in line with their parents to learn more about schools within Prince George’s County and to receive supplies for the upcoming school year.
The fair had tables set up from every elementary, middle and high school in the county. “Each year attendance at the fair continues to grow,” Segun C. Eubanks, chair of the Board of Education, said in news release. “This is due to the tremendous support we receive from our community partners, whose participation is key to the success of this event.”
In addition to learning about schools and programs in the county, the fair also featured on-site school uniform sales, free immunizations and an annual backpack giveaway.
Donations from community members, county agencies, local businesses, and the Educational Systems Federal Credit Union (ESFCU) yielded 2,500 backpacks filled with donated school supplies for students in the upcoming school year.
Supplies included composition books, glue sticks, pencils, crayons, scissors, facial tissue, 3-ring binders, subject dividers, college-ruled notebook paper, pens, colored pencils, highlighters, rulers, book covers, and protractors. In addition, county residents and schools donated book bags and other supplies.
In order to receive the backpacks, families first received one ticket per child upon entering the fair. With the ticket, families had to visit at least one table of a school within the county. The families then went to a backpack station with their ticket to redeem their backpack full of school supplies inside. According to volunteers, about 3,000 backpacks were given away.
“This is so thoughtful of the county to provide us with supplies for our children,” Stephanie Washington told the AFRO. “I have four kids and this fair saves me, not only money, but time shopping for supplies.”
For the 2015-2016-school year, new school immunizations are a requirement for students entering kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 7, and Grade 8. The Prince George’s County Health Department and the health services department of the county’s public schools partnered with the fair to provide free chickenpox (varicella) vaccines to students entering kindergarten and Grade 1, and free tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, and meningitis vaccines to students entering Grades 7 and 8.
This was a great experience for my kids,” Briana Jones told the AFRO. “Not only did I learn information about schools I want them to attend, but I also got school supplies for them to start school in two weeks.”