October 20, 2021

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Junior Achievement of Western PA hosts Back-to-School BASH | News

Students from Washington and Greene counties are invited to attend Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania’s inaugural Back-to-School BASH.

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 2 at JA BizTown in Abele Business Park in South Fayette.

“We are trying to do everything that we can to help the students and help their parents,” said Kim Sterling, communications and marketing manager. “It’s just setting the students up for a successful school year.”

Upon arrival, students will be handed a map and tote bag – the first 50 attendees receive backpacks – and are encouraged to collect school supplies from the more than two dozen vendors on-site.

“(Students) have the opportunity to go through BizTown trick-or-treat style, collect supplies, and understand the businesses that are in our region,” said Sterling. “If they collect all the school supplies they’ll be entered to win a prize.”

BizTown is a 10,000 square-foot city simulation inside JA’s business office building. The “town” has its own city hall, banks and grocery store, sponsored by area businesses.

Junior Achievement – which has served the community for 82 years – opened the BizTown learning center just before the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Sterling said the Back-to-School BASH is a reintroduction of both the organization and the educational programming available through Junior Achievement and BizTown.

“(Students) learn … how to go on a job interview, they actually interview for positions here,” said Sterling. “They can vote. Everything an adult can do, they do in this town.”

At the BASH, parents can ask about Junior Achievement programs, and students and parents can connect with local businesses and enjoy food and drinks donated by Sheetz. Other entertainment includes a live DJ, balloon and caricature artists, a magician and selfie station.

“It’s just another fun little opportunity for the families to get together, take a picture to remember the day,” said Sterling, who noted photo booth pictures can be delivered straight to a smartphone for instant sharing.

In a news release, JA president Patrice Matamoros said the event aims to bring the community together.

“Last year was difficult,” Matamoros said in the release. “This year we want to be a hub of opportunity and information for parents and educators to help their children succeed.”

Sterling said the Back-to-School BASH is more than just an opportunity to get school supplies.

“It’s a nice opportunity for the family to get out,” she said. “It’s a fun day out.”

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