When you throw a Back-to-School bash for the first time, you worry about many things. Do you have enough activities? Do you have the right supplies and information? Are all of your volunteers prepared and ready for the Bash in our effort to make every APS student Day One ready?
But most of all, you fear that no one will show up. That and all of those other fears were present throughout Atlanta Public Schools in the months of preparation for the inaugural APS Back-to-School bash today at Atlanta Metropolitan State College.
We had nothing to fear. Thousands upon thousands attended, had a great time and got Day One ready. It was simply incredible and awesome!
A line from the glass doors of the Easley Pavilion & Conference Center began to form at 7 a.m. and, by the time those doors opened at 10 a.m., that line had stretched across a brick walkway past the college gates and along Metropolitan Parkway to the main entrance of the college, almost a quarter mile away.
It’s humbling that so many people heard our Day One message and came out.
And the energy and excitement never faltered as Atlanta’s families came together to get everything they needed to be ready for the first day of school. Our counts show that 5,458 people attended the Bash, and we registered almost 400 students for school who had not already done so. We also gave away 5,000 backpacks stuffed to the zippers with school supplies and crates of free books. I feel like I personally handed out half of the backpacks as well as dozens of water bottles to people waiting to get into the Bash!
We raffled off bicycles and car seats and other great prizes.
We had amazing sponsors who made this happen: Georgia Power, UPS, Google, Atlanta Metropolitan State College, Equifax, Amerigroup, Gas South, Georgia Natural Gas and Georgia-Pacific.
We had great outdoor activities provided by Braves Around Town and the Fox5 StormChaser unit and food offered by Sodexo, including new items our students will see on school menus this fall. I might have served you myself!
We had many dignitaries including all of the members of the Atlanta Board of Education, Atlanta City Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell, local broadcaster and author Rashan Ali and entertainers Ronnie and Shamiri DeVoe.
We had dynamic emcees including APS Teacher of the Year Barry Blackmon and great Fox5 talent including anchors Karen Graham and Lisa Rayam and meteorologist Adam Klotz. We had the Douglass High School drumline and cheerleaders ramping up the energy across the bash!
And we had the great APS family out in force from teachers, administrators, staff, students and their families. I absolutely enjoyed meeting so many of our students and their families today and to see their eager, happy faces ready for school!
If you were there, you experienced it yourself and know what I’m talking about. If not, please enjoy these photos taken throughout the day. But most of all … Be There on Day 1 – Wednesday, August 5!