Readifest rolls into College Park
“There’s a shark in the park!” Christy Carter yelled to kids in cars.
The family resources center coordinator for Shearer Elementary meant to amuse, not alarm.
She was referring to the school’s mascot, a volunteer in a plastic shark costume at Readifest.
This year’s back-to-school party was more of a parade.
Because of coronavirus concerns, the Summer Involvement Program and the schools’ family resource and youth service centers moved the event this year from Bluegrass Community and Technical College to College Park and had parents drive their kids around. They were greeted by teachers and other volunteers who handed out free school supplies and goodies.
The event started Friday at 4 p.m. and by 4:30, the line of cars stretched from Fitch Avenue to Wheeler and College Street past Burns Avenue.
“It’s been a steady stream,” Shearer Principal Kevin Kennedy said.
Some decorated their cars with streamers or balloons. One car was decorated to be a shark. The front of another was a woman’s face with a COVID mask.
One of the volunteers was 14-year-old Campbell Junior High student Silas Coogle.
“I think it’s great that we’re engaging, even during the pandemic,” he said.
Ros Gay, family resource coordinator for Strode Station Elementary and volunteer for the SIP program, said things had to be done differently this year.
“We decided to stick together and figure out what we could do to meet our families where they are, especially at this time,” she said, explaining how the drive-by idea came about. “We used the power of Facebook … community resources, pulling together, word of mouth, and donations started pouring in.”
Children in preschool through high school were invited. Each got a family bag, like they’ve gotten each week during SIP, and school supplies.
“Clark County has always been very supportive of our school-age kids,” Gay said.