Before school starts, one last hurrah

Students get their faces painted by a clown. / Mike Manzoni

The Albany Housing Authority held their annual back-to-school party at Holly Homes Saturday night, an event to bring the community together, and drive home the school system's message that students should attend the first day of school.

"With school starting on Monday what we wanted to do is excite people about school starting and can't people amped up," said Dan McCarthy, the housing authority's executive director.

The event, which has been an annual back-to-school pep rally for the last decade, featured bounce houses, sprinklers and free food. In addition, children and their parents were able to get a free bag of school supplies.

"The whole push this year has been parental involvement and being in school August 1, 2011," said Superintendent Dr. Joshua Murfree, who addressed the crowd of students and parents. "A night like this also helps with resources. The police department and all of them got together, the masonics, the holly homes staff. They actually went out and bought food and bought materials so these young people when they hit the class Monday morning they'll have materials in their hand ready to go."

Shakia Ivey, who starts high school Monday, said attending the first day of classes is important to get a head start. "[It's important] to know what to do to like get adjusted on the first day, you know what to do on the second day."

In years past, as many as 25 percent of students did not attend the first day of classes.