LARGO — Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) continued their Stuff-A-Bus campaign at Largo Plaza Shopping Center in collaboration with National Night Out to emphasize bringing the community together for a good cause on Aug. 7. By the end of their second annual Stuff-A-bus event, PGCPS seeks to send 15,000 students back to school with […]
LARGO — Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) continued their Stuff-A-Bus campaign at Largo Plaza Shopping Center in collaboration with National Night Out to emphasize bringing the community together for a good cause on Aug. 7.
By the end of their second annual Stuff-A-bus event, PGCPS seeks to send 15,000 students back to school with backpacks and school supplies. As one of their five stops around the county throughout the summer, they asked participants to bring red, blue, yellow or green backpacks, notebooks, pens and pencils.
“There are over 130,000 students in the school system, and although 15,000 backpacks sounds like a lot, it really isn’t when you look at the scheme of things, but our goal is to get as many students as possible to start the school year successfully with a backpack,” said PGCPS Partnerships and Development Officer Barbara Holt Streeter.
Stuff-A-Bus typically makes stops in shopping centers or at-large community events such as National Night Out, which was started over 30 years ago.
The event allows communities all over the country to come out to meet police officers and build partnerships and trust. This was just one of the events that took place all over the county.
“What it means to me is getting together in the community I work in and knowing the residents and letting them get to know you,” said Maryland National Capital Park Police Officer S. Skeeter. “If they have any questions to concerns, let them know that we are here to help.”
The event kicked off with a line dance performance by Music 2 Your Feet, a senior dance group led by Denise Bryant. Bryant teaches seniors in areas such as Lake Arbor, Glen Dale, Cedar Heights and Palmer Park.
Following their show, Rayshun LaMarr, a finalist on NBC’s “The Voice” and Fort Washington resident, gave a brief performance as well.
“It’s always a blessing to be able to come back to the community and be a positive voice for other people whether that’s through singing or talking or speaking,” he said. “Just being a positive role model and positive energy. It’s great to be able to give that back to my community.”
LaMarr sang “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey and “Imagine” by John Lennon and gave his rendition of The National Anthem.
“I’m just hoping to encourage people,” LaMarr said. “I just want people to never stop believing in themselves, their dreams, their goals, their vision. Whatever it is that you believe in, just take that step. I want them to leave believing that the world is theirs.”
After the performances, the program continued with speeches by Holt Streeter, County Executive Rushern Baker, III and County Council At-Large candidate Calvin Hawkins about the importance of the event.
“Originally this was a take back our state,” Baker said about National Night Out. “Really now it’s about making our communities better every day, and this is just a time for us to come together. The great things that are happening in the county are very important.”
Throughout the event, food was served, and information tables were set up for groups such as the Lake Arbor Civic Association and National Night Out volunteers. Individuals and groups such as the Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) men’s basketball team had the opportunity to donate as many backpacks and school supplies as they wanted to stuff the school bus PGCPS had on site.
“Not everyone is fortunate enough to have school supplies,” said Interim Men’s Basketball Head Coach William West. “For these young men and women going to school, not everyone is as fortunate as others to have pens, pencils, backpacks, things of that nature.”
Having Stuff-A-Bus on National Night Out was an opportunity for PGCPS to further connect with the community, Holt Streeter said.
“This is when the police officers, the fire department, and different resources come out and share what we can do for the community. Our role is to stay connected with the community asking them to donate backpacks and school supplies.”
There will be one more Stuff-A-Bus event on August 11 at Wegmans in Woodmore Towne Centre, and then on August 25 the backpacks and school supplies will be distributed at the Back-to-School Block Party at the Prince George’s Stadium.
During the block party, students will not only be able to pick up their school supplies but can also participate in a variety of activities such as a merry go round, a moon bounce, a dance contest and a school pride contest. There will also be a variety of resources for parents on PGCPS services such as food services and transportation so that everyone will be prepared when the school year starts.
“We do it as a way to celebrate them,” said Holt Streeter. “We’ve celebrated a great year and great summer, and now we’re going to celebrate and start the year off having a great time.”