Summer Jam

Kennedi Thomas, 7, laughs while her brother Jordan Thomas, 9, receives a hand stamp and school supplies from their mom Tiara Thomas, far right, who was a volunteer at the Summer Jam. (Photo by Nate Pesce / August 23, 2013)

As the dog days of summer give way to school buses and homework, kids and families had one last chance to play in the park with the abandonment of a summer day at the Back to School Summer Jam Aug. 24 at Granville Gude Park.

The Earth, Wind and Fire Tribute Band gave a free concert and DJ Aggie, stage name of Laurel's James Agbai, executive director of Winning in Sports and Education, mixed music. Several young musicians displayed their vocal talent on the stage with help from Breasia Studios and 98.6 Sound.

The highlight was free school supplies, offered to kids that live within the city and made available by a generous donation from the Laurel Staples and a group effort that included city officials and Laurel Board of Trade volunteers, spearheaded by City Council President Fred Smalls. Laurel's Prince George's School Board rep, Zabrina Epps, supplied bright blue nylon backpacks to hold the supplies, and more than 400 were handed out, filled with supplies for elementary, middle and high school students.

Board of Trade Chairman Matthew Coates said plans are already underway to expand the event and hold it again next year.