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With the school year kicking off next week, the city of Hardeeville hosted a back-to-school event for the community to spark excitement in parents and students.
Saturday’s event started at 6 p.m. with dozens of kids flocking to the inflatable slides. Hardeeville brought out two KidzPlay giant slides, one water slide and one dry slide, and kids of all ages spent the evening whizzing down the slides soaking up some summer fun. The city cooked hot dogs, made popcorn, provided drinks, and brought out a water-ice truck for the families.
The goal was unquestionably to build excitement for the school year.
To help do that, the city officials invited different organizations from the Lowcountry: New Life Center, Royal Live Oaks charter school, the Savannah Wildlife Refugee Center, among others.
Parents and kids could walk down the line of organizations and get everything from information pamphlets to sunglasses, to draw-string bags stuffed with goodies.
To close out the evening, the city held a raffle. Each raffle winner won a backpack stuffed with school supplies. Ten backpacks were donated from Omega Tsi Phi, Hardeeville’s media director Juan Singleton’s fraternity, along with two backpacks donated by Tselane Smith of Branchville.
“We as a city try to support the school system in any way we can,” said Hardeeville Mayor Harry Williams. “The biggest way we contributed is by running the Fill the Bus campaign.”
Even before the city hosted its kickoff party they were working diligently on a “Fill the Bus” campaign.
The campaign encouraged residents to donate school supplies — paper, pencils, pens, crayons, notebooks, backpacks, calculators, — and the city took those supplies to the schools in Hardeeville. The city delivered the supplies the Thursday prior to Saturday’s kickoff.
“We delivered thousands and thousands of individual items to Hardeeville Elementary, Hardeeville Middle School and Royal Live Oaks. It was an overwhelming response from the community,” Williams said.
The city did that same fundraising campaign last year, but Williams said this year’s turnout surpassed last year’s, as well as surpassed expectations.
“By doing that, hopefully we are supporting the students — making sure they get the supplies they need and take some of that financial burden off the family,” Williams said.
The city brought out elected officials as well as board members from the school district to talk with parents about the upcoming year, ease concerns, and prepare everyone for school.