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Friday, August 22, 2014

Annual back to school celebration held in Nashua

The city of Nashua and local businesses came together on behalf of local students to host the 10th annual “Back to School Night” yesterday. The celebration drew its largest crowd yet, transforming the Nashua Public Library into a party scene.

Back to School Night celebrates the new academic year, but it also gives students and parents a chance to meet with their school principals, gather information from community agencies and receive a bundle of school supplies. ...

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The city of Nashua and local businesses came together on behalf of local students to host the 10th annual “Back to School Night” yesterday. The celebration drew its largest crowd yet, transforming the Nashua Public Library into a party scene.

Back to School Night celebrates the new academic year, but it also gives students and parents a chance to meet with their school principals, gather information from community agencies and receive a bundle of school supplies.

“This has really become part of our fabric … it’s how we kick off the year,” said Superintendent Mark Conrad. He said aside from students reuniting with their principals and getting excited for school, a big focus is on school supplies. “The distribution of school supplies is really important. It can be a big deal for families financially. The fundraising that goes into that – plus the work by the Soup Kitchen handing out backpacks – our families are really well supported,” said Conrad. This year donations over $10,500 funded the bags of school supplies for Nashua students.

Nashua organizations and businesses had a strong presence.

“Over 40 agencies are here supporting the event – up from 28 last year. It keeps getting bigger every year,” said George Katis, Chairman of the Fundraising Committee at the Nashua Chamber of Commerce and President of Nashua Wallpaper.

Businesses set up booths for parents and students to browse. Chick-Fil-A had a representative in its iconic cow costume greeting children. Other local businesses advertised services, programs and jobs.

“Nashua is a great community with great support for our schools, and I can’t think of a better example than this,” Conrad said when he addressed the crowd.

The atmosphere was energetic. A DJ played music from a stage in front of the library where students took turns on stage performing choreographed dances. Volunteers served snacks, snow-cones and drinks.

Student turnout easily beat out the 2013 Back-to-School crowd. “It’s at least a 20 percent increase over last year,” said Chris Williams, Chamber of Commerce President. Williams said staff counting people in line to enter the library estimated 3,000 participants. The line for the library entrance stretched most of the way down Park toward Main Street. Inside the library, each Nashua school had a table set up manned by the school principal.

“It gives parents and students a chance to connect with their principal and superintendent,” said Katis.

He said they encourage parents to stay connected and engaged with their children’s education throughout the year.

The Lions Club was also inside the library providing free vision tests along with city health department representatives who administered free vaccinations.