Children and parents receive supplies at back-to-school drives, bashes and blasts
By Linda Green

McDuffie County school children had three opportunities July 29 to receive book bags and school supplies as churches and the volunteers who organize the annual Willie “Coolie” Myrick annual Back-to-School event conducted drives and festivals.
The 10th annual Coolie Myrick Back-to-School Drive was held at Pitts Street Park. The Springfield Baptist Church, in conjunction with Church of the Living God and WellCare, held a Back-to-School Blast in the church’s parking lot, and New Zion Hill A.M.E. Church held a Back-to-School Bash in the parking lot of O’Reilly’s Auto Parts on Harrison Road.
At the three events, children and adults received tips for a successful school year, information, inspiration and encouragement. Students received messages about obedience, respect and how not to let their surroundings affect their education. In addition to school supplies, children received gift certificates to get hair cuts and hair styled from barber and beauty shops from across Thomson-McDuffie County and prizes for games and activities. At each event, vendors provided information for children and adults about health, school, 4-H, nutrition, technical schools and more. The Springfield event featured a dunking booth where children spent energy trying to unseat Tony Mims.
Michael Thomas Jr., a local man who is a practicing dentist in Atlanta, used the drive’s theme “Journey” to describe his movement from growing up in the Cherokee neighborhood, going to McDuffie schools, Paine College and then dental school at the former MCG in Augusta. He instilled in the audience of more than 400 at the Pitts Street Park that one does not have to go to a big school to make it. “All things are achievable. You do not have to go to a prep school or private school. You can reach your goals from right here in Thomson, Georgia.”
Keithtavis Walker, who said he spent 10 years in prison for robbery, told his story while also acknowledging that education is a key to progress. He told the Myrick audience that he received his GED in 2013 in jail. He encouraged the students to obey their parents and leaders in their schools.
The New Zion Hill A.M.E. Church held its bash in Thomson instead of at its Ridge Road location to broaden its reach. The Rev. Gwen Fowler, the new pastor, said the church wanted to provide for the children in McDuffie County. “We wanted to make sure that we do our part to provide what we can for the kids and parents,” she said. “As a former teacher, I know that school supplies can be expensive, especially if there is more than one child in the home. This is a small way for us to give back to the community.”
FOR ADDITIONAL DETAILS, see the full story in the Aug. 3, 2017, issue of The McDuffie Progress. To have The McDuffie Progress delivered to your home or business each week, simply call 706-595-1601 to subscribe. Or, follow the link on our home page to subscribe.
Showing off their new book bags received at Springfield are Mikey Land, Bryson Reid and Tyler Rogers.

Myrick volunteers Doretha Thomas, left and Brianna Snyder, right, present book bags to Miracle White, Kelvon Moss, Mirror Drayton and Kenya White.

Diane Brinson, left, and the Rev. Gwen Fowler, right, leaders at New Zion Hill A.M.E. Church distribute book bags to children July 29 during the Back-to-School Bash.





McDuffie Progress




McDuffie Progress

McDuffie Progress





McDuffie Progress