Cristian Acosta was a bit sad on Saturday morning.
The 10-year-old Evans fifth grader is not ready to return to school in a few days. Acosta loves school. Science is one of his favorite subjects. Although he’s not looking forward to the end of summer vacation, there is an upside to starting school again.
“I can hang out with my friends,” Acosta said.
Acosta, his 6-year-old brother, Lorenzo, their parents and two siblings were among thousands of Greeley-Evans School District 6 residents who attended the school system’s ninth annual community celebration of the school’s launch. and the Saturday morning backpack giveout at Island Grove Event Center in Greley.
District 6 students in grades one through 12 return to school Aug. 11-12 on a flying start. All students in grades 9 through 12 report on August 11. Grades 1 through 8 students with last names beginning with the letters AL begin August 11, and MZ students return August 12. All the students of these years will be reunited and together on August 15th.
Kindergarten students begin on a start thrown by their last name on August 16 and 17.
While Cristian and Lorenzo Acosta stayed with their mother, Alejandra Corona, to collect their backpacks, their siblings stayed with their father.
“Divide and conquer,” Corona said.
“It’s nice and a big help with all the stress of buying school supplies,” she added.
District 6 communications chief Theresa Myers estimated that 6,000 to 7,000 people attended the 9 a.m. to noon event. Over 3,000 backpacks were distributed.
Myers said the district distributed all 3,000 packs purchased with financial assistance from sponsors, which was the announced number. When they realized they would need more bags, the leftover bags from last year were retrieved from the warehouse.
“Everyone is going to walk away with a backpack,” Myers said. “The way the community supports us is amazing.”
District 6 Director of Athletics and Activities Bob Billings said about 170 students received low-cost sports physical exams, and students and families also had the option of signing up for sports.
There were around 50 tables and vendors set up in the center of the event. About 120 people volunteered on Saturday and 40 were there Friday to pack the backpacks, according to Myers. Volunteers included the Northridge High School football team, students from Greeley Central’s AVID program and members of Greeley West’s FFA program and cheer squad.
While Corona and her family have attended the launch celebration in the past, the event was a first for fellow Evans residents Crystal Santoyo and Sandra Garcia. They came to Island Grove with three children, ages 9, 6 and 3, who are entering fourth and first grade and pre-kindergarten.
Santoyo and Garcia estimated they spent about $400 on school supplies for the kids.
“It’s so great and helpful for families with school supplies because they’re expensive,” Santoyo said.
The kickoff was also a first for District 6 school board member Rob Norwood. A longtime District 6 teacher, Norwood never took the opportunity to go to the kickoff until this year. On Saturday, Norwood participated and volunteered, lending his voice to the PA system to make announcements throughout the morning.
Norwood was elected to the board in November after a 19-year career teaching business and marketing at Northridge High School.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” he said. “The services provided by the District and the volunteers, as well as the vendors, are so vital to our District. This is such a big event for our community.