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South Boston News
Superintendent of Schools Mark Lineburg and School Board vice chairman Sandra Garner-Coleman accompany Kendyll Miller on the HCHS red carpet before she cuts the ribbon for the Back-2-School Expo on Saturday. / August 05, 2019
Before heading off for the first day of classes Aug. 14, students walked down the red carpet leading to the 2019 Back-2-School Expo, held Saturday at Halifax County High School. Students and their families represented schools across the county, including the high school and middle school.

The main attraction of the Back-2-School Expo was a backpack giveaway, open to all students.

“We have over 500 book bags,” said Sandra Garner-Coleman, vice-chairman of school board and the chief organizer of the Back-2-School expo. “We had 500 and we gave away probably 400.”

The bags, replete with items specifically for elementary, middle, and high school students, were donated jointly by Milwaukee Brewers pitcher and HCHS graduate Jeremy Jeffress, H&M Logging, Ke’Jeah Enterprises, Wind Beneath the Wings, the Halifax Business Council, and the Old School Car Club. Jeffress donated $2,000 to the project.

“The book bag will tell you a lot about where your child is in school. Look at the book bag,” Superintendent of Schools Mark Lineburg advised parents. He encouraged parents to take an active role in monitoring their children’s success in school, and added that there will be important documents going home inside student book bags for parents to read.

For elementary school children, the bags were stuffed with four or five items listed on the elementary school supply list. High school students found mechanical pencils and a notebook inside their bags. Everything that “was left over, we boxed up and each principal took what was left over,” said Garner-Coleman.

There were also some gift cards donated, but because there were so few of them, Garner-Coleman said she gave them to the disciplinary staff and to New Beginnings (the alternative education school) to use as incentives.

“We didn’t have that many gift cards, so I didn’t think five or six gift cards would be that useful to all the schools,” she said.

There were also baskets of school supplies donated by Ellen Haskins for teachers to use in their classrooms.

The program inside the auditorium included a dance performance by Caitlyn Stephens, former student Nicole Bass sang “I Believe I Can Fly,” and motivational speaker William W. Denson, founder of “A Father Forever” from Los Angeles, spoke about the importance of community to building a powerful school system.

The community was well-represented among the various booths set up in the high school lobby and the gym. The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, Southside Community Service Board, South Boston Fire Department, Staunton River State Park, Legal Aid, Girl Scouts, Virginia Tech Extension, Comets Cares, and Hassan Fountain each set up exhibits for the students.

There were also tables dedicated to departments within the school system. Every school had an information table, as did the Innovation Center in Danville, the school IT department, the Attendance Officer, and the Comets robotics team. The biology department brought reptiles.

“I’m 65 years old and today was the first day I touched a snake,” Garner-Coleman said.

Two local children’s authors, Lisa Goodson and Wayne Sutphin Jr., also came to the Back-2-School Expo.

Garner-Coleman said she was satisfied with the event.

“I think it was an overwhelming success. Anything that we can do for our children,” she said.

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What a waste of money. When I went to school you did your work or failed and if you got in trouble you got punished. An incentive for the alternative school SMDH. Also heard they had a speaker from LA? How much did that cost the county?


Allpolitical2 have you not realized yet that nobody is paying any attention to your negative comments. You cannot stop progress especially when children are involved. Give it up!!!

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