Alief ISD back-to-school fest draws 3,100-plus

The line to enter the Hastings Ninth Grade Center in Alief circled around the block with more than 3,100 people eager to get supplies, vaccinations and health screenings for the start of school, which is just three weeks away.

Events like this are attracting larger crowds each year, officials noted, and could be a sign of families’ increasing economic needs. The crowd at the Alief ISD event, for example, grew by about 1,100 this year, district officials said.

“The word is spreading,” said Pam Cobb, marketing director of Community Health Choice.

The Houston Independent School District will host its back-to-school fest on Saturday. About 100,000 people overwhelmed the event last year, four times the number anticipated.

Victor Felix, 13, arrived at the Alief event early Saturday to get three vaccines on both arms. Volunteers from the Harris County Hospital District attended to him quickly, despite the lines winding through the hallways of the school.

“It wasn’t a long wait,” Victor said.

Elizabeth Sifuentes, 27, arrived with her daughter, Feryelly Olivas, for a checkup. The 8-year-old didn’t need any shots, but Sifuentes wanted to be certain that her daughter’s health record was up to date.

“I still came to make sure,” Sifuentes said.

Incoming third-grader Kent Dorsey, 8, received a new, clear backpack that he wore proudly on his shoulders. Kent said he looked forward to starting the school year and learning more math science.

His mother, Nicole Dorsey, 30, said the school district’s involvement was a good way of giving back to the community.

“It’s great,” she said.

While the return of the school year marks the end of their summer vacation, some students at Saturday’s event said they were ready to get back to class.

Saneen Malik will be starting first grade in the fall. Donning a new clear backpack with a bright yellow lining, the 7-year-old said she’s eager to begin the school year.

“I want to see my teacher and I want to make more friends,” she said.

Article by Mayra Cru, Houston Chronicle

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