With three different locations for parents and students to gather for back to school supplies and information, the Back to School Bash produced a large turnout.
The La Joya Independent School District held their 4th annual Back to School Bash last week at Palmview High School, Juarez-Lincoln High School and La Joya High School. Each location included booths and faculty from the middle and elementary schools that feed into each high school were present.
The Back to School Bash provided immunizations, access to online registration, free haircuts, school supplies and backpacks. Various departments within the district such as transportation, migrant, special education and parental involvement were also available in case parents or students had any questions about the upcoming year.
LJISD Board of Trustees members Johnn Alaniz and Alejandro “Alex” Cantu were present at the Palmview High School Back to School Bash. They both spoke about the importance of the event in the district.
“We understand the times we are living in right now,” Alaniz said. “Not everyone can afford all of these things, and we want to make sure that everybody has the same opportunities as anybody else.”
“As a community, we take pride in having everybody united,” Cantu added. “For the community to come out and support our district and our kids, it really goes a long way, especially in providing the resources necessary to start off the new school year. It helps a lot of families out.”
The Back to School Bash was made possible through donations and sponsors from all over the La Joya and Palmview communities.
“This is just a small token, and it has nothing to do with LJISD, we just help organize this,” Alaniz said. “I’d like to thank all the sponsors for putting this all together. It’s something to do for the community and bring everyone together.”
This being the fourth year the event has taken place in La Joya ISD, both board members said it has definitely grown over time.
“It’s been growing every year, it’s been getting better and better,” Cantu said. “We get a lot more response from the community. I think the closer the community is, the more results we see from our students, our staff and everybody surrounding our district.”
Victor Garza, the LJISD Director for the Sports and Learning Complex, was also present at the PHS location. He said there is a need for the Back to School Bash annually.
“We do have a lot of families, a lot of children who maybe don’t have the resources,” Garza said. “And by having these types of opportunities, they’ll be at least as prepared as any of the other students who might have the resources that first day of school.”
Last year’s Back to School Bash at Palmview High School was held in the cafeteria, but due to the turnout it was moved into the gym.
“We were just overcrowded and we needed a bigger facility,” Garza said. “We have people waiting in the hallways, keeping them in the air conditioning and in a safe environment.”
Palmview Principal Yvonne Ayala was active during the event, handing out backpacks and moving around the gym to ensure it was moving smoothly.
“We serve a group of students who are highly in need,” Ayala said. “Anything we can do to help them out and help out the parents, we’re here in any way.”
Ayala said they were trying to get everyone excited for the new year.
“We want to make sure that we spread out that excitement to the rest of the community,” Ayala said. “We want the parents and the students to know that we are happy and excited to welcome them back for the new year.”
Mary Lily Garza-Ibarra, the principal of Enrique Camarena Elementary School, was helping greet students and parents and passed out supplies.
“I believe in it and we love it,” Garza-Ibarra said. “It’s great to see the kids who need the backpacks get them and the joy in their faces.”
Garza-Ibarra continued to say that this event evens out the playing field for students.
“It’s just a little help that gives kids the right start at the beginning of the year.”
She added that as the event has been implemented, there has been a change in how students take on the first day back.
“Being able to help kids be prepared for their first day is a wonderful thing. I’m very proud of the district,” Garza-Ibarra said. “We see kids feel great about themselves on the first day of school because they come to school ready.”