Porters 'Summer Bash' gets kids school-ready

Members of the Porters Community Neighborhood Organization pass out raffle tickets during the 2nd Annual Summer Block Party and Backpack Give-away at the Porters Community Center in Gainesville Saturday August 17, 2013.

Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, August 17, 2013 at 6:10 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, August 17, 2013 at 6:10 p.m.

Only two days of summer vacation were left Saturday, and a lot of kids made the most of it with games, food and fun at a back-to-school Summer Bash in the Porters community south of downtown.

The event drew multiple generations from the neighborhood and brought back residents who moved away. Among them was Kanapaha Middle School teacher Monica Stuckey and her daughter, Wiles Elementary third-grader Morgan Stuckey.

"I like the bounce house best," said Morgan, who had big purple flowers on her pigtail ties. "I had fun in the summer. I went to the beach."

Monica Stuckey returned to school last week and admitted she is still shaking off the summer rust. Stuckey said she grew up in Porters and feels part of the neighborhood where relatives still live.

Gigi Simmons, president of the Porters Neighborhood Community Organization, said this is the second year of the Summer Bash at the Porters Community Center.

Simmons said last year's event drew all the neighborhood kids along with parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

"It's for the kids in the community … to provide the necessary materials such as backpacks and notebooks so they can be prepared for the school year," Simmons said. "We want to add a little fun to it so we provide all of these different activities."

Simmons said about 80 school-age children live in Porters, which is between Main and Southwest Sixth streets, north of Depot Avenue.

Various community organizations and government agencies had booths at the community center featuring educational materials, school supplies and general information. Classic car enthusiasts displayed their rides while Dekova Batey of the city of Gainesville's bicycle/pedestrian program gave away safety items and information.

Students, meanwhile, were mixed on the idea of returning to school.

Ricky Rivers is starting his senior year at Eastside High, but he wished summer could go on a bit longer.

"I'm not ready yet, but I want to get going and graduate," Rivers said.

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