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School officials pleased with kick-off events

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

According to Clayton County Public Schools Community Relations Liaison Rhonda Burnough, the district's 2010-2011 school year was already off to a good start before classes began on Monday, after a weekend of back-to-school kick-off events.

The school system hosted a charity basketball game that pitted district employees against Clayton County Sheriff's deputies, at Mt. Zion High School, on Friday evening.

The district, and the county's seven Chick-fil-A and Truett's Grill locations, then held their third annual Back-To-School Bash at the Historic Clayton County Courthouse, on Saturday.

Burnough said $670 was raised through the basketball game, and an estimated 1,000 people attended the Back-To-School Bash the next day.

"I think it was an excellent way to kick off the new school year," Burnough said.

District officials had previously said the weekend of events was designed to build enthusiasm for the beginning of the new school year.

The largest event of the weekend was the Back-To-School Bash, which included inflatables games, display booths, giveaways, and the unveiling of the boxes of school supplies collected by Chick-fil-A and Truett's Grill locations, during the previous two weeks.

Burnough said approximately 100 Chick-fil-A boxes, filled with school supplies, were donated to the school system this year. She also said Delta Community Credit Union gave away 1,000 book bags, filled with school supplies, and the Harry Douglas Foundation (named for Atlanta Falcons player, and former Jonesboro High School football standout Harry Douglas) provided 50 free haircuts, and gave away several pairs of shoes.

The event was even drawing a crowd before it began, Burnough said. "People stood in line for 30 minutes before it opened," she said.

But, before the Back-To-School Bash, the district hosted the basketball game, a new addition to the weekend's festivities. The $670 that was raised through the charity basketball game will be split between the school system's Superintendent's Scholarship Fund, and Sheriff Kem Kimbrough's Kem Kimbrough Foundation, according to Burnough.

But, the school system got something else out of the deal -- the district's team, coached by Superintendent Edmond Heatley, beat the Sheriff's Office's team, which was coached by Kimbrough. "Dr. Heatley did say education was going to triumph over law enforcement in this game," said Burnough. "And, it did."

The district's community relations liaison said the superintendent now has his eyes on staging a larger event to raise money for the scholarship fund.

"Dr. Heatley now wants to do an Olympics-style competition, with basketball, softball and swimming, but we won't be doing that for a while," Burnough said. "Probably not until sometime in the spring."