Back to school party set

COVINGTON - It's inevitable: School must start again. But rather than mourning the end of summer, local students are getting the chance to celebrate a return to reading, writing and arithmetic.

The 2009 Back 2 School Block Party will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. July 26 on the Square in downtown Covington.

"It's a party to celebrate the children returning to school and also an opportunity for parents to learn about the resources from the different agencies in the community that can supplement their children's education," said Josephine Kelly, director of Main Street Covington.

The event is sponsored by Main Street, Washington Street Community Center and the Newton County School System.

Organizers will be handing out 1,250 book bags filled with school supplies. While the book bags have already been donated, there is still a need for supplies.

Items needed include crayons, colored pencils, spiral notebooks, glue sticks, pocket folders and graph paper.

This year, local businesses that have supported the supply drive are not able to donate as much, so organizers are counting on individual donations, Kelly said.

"With the unemployment rate so high in Newton County, we really feel there is going to be an increased demand," she said.

To make a donation, call Washington Street Community Center at 770-786-4002.

Students who wish to receive the book bags must register at the old Square Market location at the corner of Washington and Hendricks streets. Registration begins at 2 p.m.

Children must be present at the event with a parent or guardian and must reside in Newton County to receive a book bag. Guardians should bring proof of residency.

After registration, children will be given a wrist band and then sent off to enjoy the festivities. Book bags will be handed out at 4:30 p.m. - 200 will be given to students in kindergarten and first grade; 300 to grades two through five and 400 for middle schoolers.

In addition to fun activities like face painting and inflatables, kids are asked to participate in a mock Census in recognition of upcoming Census 2010.

They'll be asked to fill out a short form and learn the importance of being counted. Based on the information given in the forms, the school with the highest number of students attending will receive a monetary donation to its media center.

Members of the Board of Education will also be on hand at the event to hand out school calendars, and the Covington-Conyers Recycling Club will be give away a bicycle and promote awareness about recycling.

For more information on the event, call Main Street Covington at 770-385-2077.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.