Families flock to Nashua Back to School event

NASHUA – For the 13th year in a row, the annual Nashua Goes Back to School night was presented to a sprawling crowd of eager parents and students outside the Nashua Public Library.

“It’s a celebration,” said George Katis, one of the founders of the long-running event that links city business benefactors with area students. “We want to start the children off on the right foot.”

City organizations worked hard to make that happen as scores of vendors handed out rulers, glue sticks, pencil sharpeners and other classroom necessities at the popular event.

The Nashua Goes Back to School festivities started in 2004 with a partnership between the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce and the city’s Nashua Stays in School Committee. The event, which took place in front of the Nashua Public Library, took on the atmosphere of a street fair.

“We think this has turned into the best event in the city of Nashua,” Katis said.

He described the collection of groups and agencies set up to provide information to the children and their parents about educational programs and resources, and the importance of fostering a sense of involvement among parents, their children and education.

A long line of people stretched from the library to a nearby city parking lot, all waiting to pick up one of the 1,500 bags filled with school supplies. Music played from a stage and snow-cone treats were served to raucous youngsters facing their last days of summer.

This is the fifth year for Tatiana Fowler, who brought her children JT, 6, Seraphim, 10, and 1-year-old Morrigan. Fowler said she was able to find some health care information and said the free school supplies “are a big plus.”

“It’s just a good community event to get some of the things we need and maybe find some resources we weren’t aware of,” Fowler said.

Cecilia Ulibari, of the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce and the back-to-school committee, watched the crowd grow Thursday night. She said it’s great that “a lot of our members are contributing to this so we can purchase all these supplies that are going to these students.”

Nashua’s new superintendent Connie Brown, who is looking at her first year as the city’s chief school administrator, said the outpouring of community support is overwhelming.

“It’s unmatched. I’ve worked in a lot of communities, and to see the number of groups that came together, including the library and elected and appointed officials, is truly amazing,” she said.

Don Himsel can be reached at 594-6590, dhimsel@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DonH.