GSD to hold back-to-school community event
Isaac Newton's first law of physics states that an object at rest will stay at rest, unless acted upon by an outside force. That is perhaps doubly true for students returning to the halls of academia after several months of work, play or vacation.
That's why the Gervais School District and Gervais Community Progress Team are getting together this weekend to hold a Back 2 School Bash, providing a family-friendly event on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Gervais High School where parents and students can start the 2019-20 school year on the right track.
The event will provide a one-stop place for community members to take advantage of a variety of services prior to the first day of school in September.
"We're trying to make the school a welcome presence," said high school secretary Julie Powers, the event's primary organizer. "We're the only community center we have in Gervais, and we want to make it a welcome place to be."
School principals will be out in front of the high school cooking and serving barbecue for lunch, and folks will receive complimentary snow cones as they leave.
But the majority of the event is there to provide much-needed health and behavioral services in one place to make it easier for parents in the rush heading into the start of the school year.
Among the services included are:
— Free immunization clinic
— Free vision and hearing screenings
— Behavioral support specialists
— Oregon Health Plan (OHP) representatives
— Back-to-school supplies
"We're trying to get people excited about coming back to school," Powers said. "One of our biggest problems is trying to make sure all the students who ended their year with us last year, start the year with us."
The Gervais Community Progress Team is donating 20 backbacks filled with school supplies that will be given away at the event, and 20 more supply-filled backs have been reserved for the district to give directly to students who could not otherwise afford them.
Echoing Powers' sentiments, CPT member and City Councilor Micky Wagner sees the school district as a central hub for the community.
"We try to stay involved, because the school is where the students are and the students are going to be the future," Wagner said. "If we can bring them up and give them positive influence, that's going to stay with them for quite some time."
A beautician has volunteered to provide haircuts to a select number of students during the event, and school supply donations are still being accepted. The Gervais Dollar General has a bin outside its store front for community members to purchase supplies and donate, which will go toward the school.
"We try to give out as much as possible," Wagner said. "It's a lot of community involvement. A lot of people donate their time, they donate items. It's just the community coming together — a lot like National Night Out."
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