There was no live music, children’s games or shoulder-to-shoulder crowds this year — COVID-19 restrictions made sure of that.
Even so, Elizabeth City State University and the Elizabeth City Police Department still found a way to make their ninth annual Back-to-School Bash a success.
This year’s school supply event was a drive-up event held in the parking lot at Roebuck Stadium on the ECSU campus.
Melba Smith, general manager at ECSU radio station WRVS, and Deputy Chief James E. Avens Jr. of the ECPD said community response for the Back-to-School Bash was wonderful. The event distributed school supplies to 400 students.
Christine Timpson said she stopped by the event to pick up school supplies for her grandchildren.
She has one grandchild in the 10th grade at Pasquotank County High School, one in ninth grade at Northeastern High School, and a fifth-grader and a first-grader at Pasquotank Elementary School. A fifth grandchild is in pre-K this year.
Timpson said the principals at the schools have been very helpful and will be providing additional information this week. She said she appreciates the university and the police partnering to hold the Back-to-School Bash.
“I truly believe it’s a blessing,” Timpson said.
She said she believes school officials are doing the right thing starting the school year off with remote instruction rather than trying to bring the students back to school buildings.
“I think there is more safety in doing the remote as far as having the children in school,” Timpson said.
Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools officials agreed to offer remote-only learning for the first nine weeks of the school year that starts Monday.
This year’s event didn’t include complimentary haircuts for students, which have been a popular feature in years past.
Cheerleaders from ECSU weren’t cheering as a group this year but they nonetheless held up signs to welcome students and families as they drove into the parking lot.
The signs read: “Have A Fun School Year,” “School Back in Session,” “Wash & Wear” (a nod to the twin health principles of washing your hands thoroughly and wearing a face covering) and “Stay in Car.”
Vanessa Morgan of Currituck, a junior at ECSU and member of the cheer squad, said their coach encouraged them to help out with Saturday’s event.
“I just love coming out here and seeing the community coming together,” Morgan said. “It’s especially good to see during a time like this.”
Morgan also helped with last year’s Back-to-School Bash.
Last year the cheerleaders did cheers and the band was on hand to provide music. Those things were missing this year.
Morgan noted the cheerleaders haven’t held a practice session so far this year.
But they hope sports will be back by early spring.
“We’re ready to cheer,” Morgan said.
Holding signs alongside Morgan were Viking cheerleaders Shenelle Brown, Aprylee Brown and Lakeisha Cartwright.