RAYLAND - Rain couldn't dampen the enthusiasm Sunday nor prevent pupils and students from converging at Buckeye Local High School for the fifth-annual back-to-school bash.
The districtwide bash included hundreds of parents, pupils and students packing the building for the fun and games. Although the inclement weather forced the event indoors, there was no shortage of people taking advantage of activities for the bash, which included food, inflatable games, information on upcoming school activities and even a helicopter from STAT Medevac landing in the field in front of the school. Despite the cramped quarters. the event was a success, according to Mark Miller, district superintendent.
"Last year we gave out 659 bags of school supplies (during the bash). That's how we keep track of how many have attended," said Miller, who estimated more pupils and students attended the event Sunday.
Miller said the idea for the bash came about after realizing pupils and students need something fun to look forward to as they prepare for the upcoming school year.
"It was this idea to do something for the kids and let them have a good time," said Miller, adding the event also included sports activities and vendors related to education. "Each year we try to add one of two new things. This year we had a helicopter landing (on school property.
"We used to go from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., but we extended it because it was so popular," continued Miller. "It's really grown. We expect to have 700 here this year."
Vendors lined along the hallways distributed information for parents, students and pupils, while others sold T-shirts and other items to raise funds for pupil and student activities. Parent Joann Dailey, also president of the cheerleaders' boosters, said she was trying to raise funds for cheerleaders by selling school-related items.
"Typically we usually make lemon shakes, but we couldn't do that inside," said Dailey, adding there are three divisions of cheerleading squads, including varsity, reserves and freshmen. "My daughter, Chelsey Strain, is a junior, and she's on the competition squad and also cheers for basketball."
Kim Ohler manned the table at Nutrition Group, the company that provides pupil and student meals for the district. Ohler said she was passing out information on new federal nutrition guidelines and other information.
"I'm the regional manager for Nutrition Group," said Ohler, adding this will be the first year the meal provider serves the district. "With us being new here, (pupils and students) are going to have more choices with fruits and vegetables."
Ohler said federal guidelines for school-provided meals recently changed, and the district needs to be compliant with the coming changes.
"We'll also be beginning Wellness Wednesday," she said. "We'll set up a special table in the cafeteria, and it will be once a month. We'll have recipes featuring fruits and vegetables for all the kids to sample. We're also hoping to increase (pupil and student) participation in school meals this year."
The company also will be meeting with the district youth advisory board concerning meals, as well as hosting elementary school nutrition classes, said Ohler.
Senior Marlee Piergallini - also a cheerleader - said she looks forward to the annual bash.
"I take care of the (cheerleader) drawings and go around and socialize," she said. "My favorite part are the bouncy toys.
"I also like jousting as well," continued Piergallini, adding she hangs out with other cheerleaders during the event. "I've been cheerleading every year. I'll be on the varsity squad this year. I enjoy cheering football the most, partly because my brother played football. It's my sport - it's more exciting. I like standing on the field and cheering on our boys in blue."