Super Mario and school supplies: BCTC back to school event and movie night a success

Published 12:30 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2023

So crowded was the street along Winchester’s Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC) on Friday night that police were present.

Fortunately, there was no cause for concern, as they directed a large gathering of individuals who had come for a fun and exciting night.

Beginning at 7:00 p.m., Moonlight Movie Night took place, with Super Mario Brothers being featured on the outdoor lawn beginning at 9:00 p.m.

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However, there was just as much to see beforehand.

The Back to School Bash and Mario Kart race captivated audiences and let others learn more about educational opportunities and happenings in Clark County.

“This is our ninth annual event. We’re just so happy that we have a great turnout here,” said Bruce Manley, the campus director of Winchester’s BCTC campus. “To get people in the industrial park [and] to our campus, I think, brings us awareness to where we can talk to parents.”

Plenty of opportunities presented themselves to talk with parents and entertain kids.

From Dancer’s Pointe, Danielle Bridgewater brought several of her students, who performed early in the night as others trekked along the outdoor walkway behind BCTC’s main building – surrounded by grass – and viewed several local educational programs offered.

The family resource youth services center (FRC), Victory Heights Montessori and BCTC’s Kentucky Adult Education Program were among them.

A second-grade teacher, Susan Wallace, represented St. Agatha Academy on Main Street.

“We have an amazing staff, amazing faculty, and [are] adding extracurriculars all the time,” Wallace said. “When you walk through you can feel the difference…we have a teacher certified in the Great Books curriculum [and] helping our students learn that. It’s just an amazing place.”

Individuals such as Clark County Preschool Principal Jill Blanton and Human Resources Director Tammy Parrish was present to represent Clark County Public Schools.

“Our student enrollment has increased significantly,” Parris said. “We’re trying to do a lot of great things not just to make Clark County the best place for kids but for staff as well.”

New incentives for employees include extra sick leave, a complimentary $50,000 life insurance policy, and a 5% retirement contribution for being an employee.

The Clark County Migrant Program (CCMP) also made an appearance.

“We serve [students] with tutoring services, and we also help the parents throughout the community [by] connecting them with community resources,” said Maria Villasana, a recruiter advocate for CCMP. “We offer bilingual services. Currently, we have around sixty families and close to one-hundred students.”

Many of the organizations passed out flyers, as well as school supplies.

Destiny Peace, whose elementary-aged daughter is a student in the Clark County Public Schools system, mentioned a positive experience.

“There’s a lot of [opportunities] here that I [didn’t] realize,” Peace said. “It’s a good place to learn new things.”

Other organizations also had booths to advertise education opportunities.

For example, the Winchester Police Department was present to talk about the Police Explorers Program.

Designed for students ages 14-21 with an interest in law enforcement, several students have already participated.

“You get to learn everything from how to handle the basics, traffic stops, [and] max shooter drills,” said Caden Matthews, an incoming senior at George Rogers Clark High School. “The best part that I like about [tonight] is coming out here in the community and being seen and helping out.”

Following the back-to-school bash, young ones and more could continue being entertained thanks to P.J.’s Laugh Factory.

The performance, which frequently involved the audience, included a comedy act featuring the story of “The Big Bad Wolf,” a conversation with a puppet friend named “Splat,” and more.

To cap off the night, following movie trivia and tossing shirts into the audience, the “Super Mario Bros. Movie” played.

While the night ended at approximately 11:00 p.m., hopes are high for another event in the future.

“I like seeing the crowd,” Manley added. “[We] look forward to it every year and appreciate everybody stopping by.”