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Neighborhood bash brings in the resources

Kentwood — Math, robotics and being in a new class, said fifth-grader Zion Clemens. 

The ARCH after-school program, said his brother, second-grader Kevin Clemens.

And when asked what she looks forward to going back to school, fourth-grader Nidal Hassan said it all by simply pointing at English language teacher Kelly Hughes.

Families line up for food and school supplies

Hughes laughed: “I’m excited for new beginnings and seeing our students back in the buildings.”

The recent Back to School Bash hosted by Endeavor Elementary school brought out excited students closing in on the end of summer break and ready to launch into a new school year.

‘It’s so important for us to come to them because this is what we are here for.’

– Endeavor Elementary School Principal Mark Bea

The event, held at the Whitney Young Village Apartment complex on Breton Road, welcomed children and their families with pizza, popcorn, school supplies, books, crafts and a bounce house. It was a time for students to reconnect with teachers and other staff members who handed out the goodies along with hugs and smiles. 

It was the return of the event after a couple years due to the pandemic, but in past years was always held in the Bailey’s Grove subdivision. 

Now, said Principal Mark Bea, the plan is to hold it in a different neighborhood each August to bring resources right to those who need them most. 

“It’s really important for us to go to the places our kids are coming from,” he said. “We just want to be a blessing to them. We have something we can offer them, and we are their neighborhood school. 

“It’s so important for us to come to them because this is what we are here for.”

Amy Escalante was happy to celebrate with her son, first-grader Anderson Paiz.

“I like that the school is really helpful in every situation,” she said. “My son has learned addition and subtraction very fast, and he learned to read in, like, a month. I feel like he is really safe in the school.”

Families line up for food and school supplies
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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

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