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Robert Moton holds back-to-school picnic, community resource fair

Summer vacation is coming to an end, but Robert Moton Elementary hosted a back-to-school picnic to make sure students got off to a fun and educational school year.

The school and its parent teacher organization held a picnic and community resource fair Thursday for families that included dinner, games and booths containing information about many organizations in the community. The picnic took place after the kindergarten and new student orientations, as well as the school's open house.

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This was the first year the school had expanded its picnic to include community partners and is grateful for the large turnout of organization representatives, according to Cecilia Alcorn, PTO president.

The event connects directly with the school's improvement plan, which includes connecting with the outside community, according to acting school Principal Darryl Robbins.

The fair was for student and parent educational purposes, he said. The organizations present included Carroll County Public Library, Boy and Girl Scouts, Access Carroll, Carroll Hospital Center, The Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County, Carroll Community College, Get Connected Family Resource Center, Westminster City Police, The Shepherd's Staff and many others.

"We want to help them realize what is out there," Robbins said.

Many booths had free giveaways, including pencils, erasers and Frisbees. At The Partnership table, children could spin the wheel and talk with community educator Mary Peloquin about healthy habits.

Pamela Xenakis, registered nurse and certified diabetes educator from the hospital, said she taught several parents and children about portion sizes and the amount of sugar in many popular drinks.

"The kids are not very calorie conscious, but they're very sugar conscious," she said.

Third-grader Maddie Arbaugh landed on the exercise category when she spun the wheel and learned she should engage in physical activities for an hour a day.

Though she isn't happy that summer is over, she was excited to meet her new teacher and enjoy the picnic.

Amy Kemp and her family attended the picnic and enjoyed spending the time at the school. Her children, including first-grader Hannah and third-grader James, went around winning several prizes.

"This gives them the chance to bond with friends and get acquainted with everything," she said.

There are a lot of people who don't know about community resources, but this gave people the chance to see what's out there, Kemp said.

"To see how they can help the community and how the community can help them," she said.

Sisters McKayla and Madison Cook enjoyed the time spent at the school Wednesday. They were happy to run around on the playground and participate in wet sponge races.

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McKayla went to Robert Moton but now is about to begin at West Middle School. She said she can't wait to see what her school will be like and knows her experience will include new teachers and friends.

Madison is still a third-grader at the school and can't wait to get back into the school year.

"I get to see all my friends again," Madison said.

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