By Johnny Jackson
Some students will remember Mark Alarcon for his recent trip to their school.
The Stockbridge city councilman, and other city government officials, paid Stockbridge Elementary School a visit Friday, with bags of candy in hand.
"It's just nice that the city can do something for our city schools," said Alarcon, as he handed the metallic gift bags to students. He was joined by Dawnn Johnson, of the city's human resources department; Ray Gibson, the assistant city manager; and Vanessa Holiday, the city clerk.
Holiday coordinated Friday's activity, which entailed greeting students at the school with gift bags filled with more than just candy. The bags also included Halloween safety tips for students and their parents, and glow sticks that students can use when they go out to hunt for candy this weekend.
More than 600 pupils at the elementary school were given the opportunity to take home a gift bag, said Holiday, who has been city clerk since May.
Holiday noted that students at two other elementary schools within the city limits have also been involved this week, with the gift-bag distribution, including the more than 800 students at Red Oak Elementary School, and the 300 at Smith-Barnes Elementary School.
In all, she said, more than 1,700 children attending those schools received gift bags this week. She added that the city came in under its $5,000 budget for the distribution. "The purpose was to do something for the kids that live in the city," said Holiday. "I wanted to be able to get out into the community, and give something back to the community. The only thing that comes about for kids to do is the Christmas gala."
The City of Stockbridge plans to host its Ninth Annual Holiday Festival on Nov. 30. The city clerk added that this week's gift-bag distribution serves a dual purpose of involving, and informing citizens.
"Not just the handful of candy," she said. "It's to make sure that the parents had the [safety] information ... To me, it's a service of the city to inform."
Stockbridge Elementary School Principal Bonita Fluker said she was pleased by the distribution because it served multiple objectives.
"We thank them for wanting to help support our students," Fluker said. "This gives them an outlet for a fall activity. This was an avenue to help keep the children safe [for Halloween], and to see their council members and city government."
To learn more about Halloween health and safety tips, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's web site at www.cdc.gov.