Back to school explosion surpasses expectations

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 12, 2004

Friday's Back to School Explosion, which was held at the Hank Williams Museum pavilion Friday, went above and beyond all expectations.

The event, which drew about 250 last year, more than doubled those numbers this year.

The Back to School explosion was established as a chance for students from area county schools and their parents to welcome in the new school year in a Christian environment.

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The event had created quite a bit of buzz in the past and this year people came out to see why.

Those attending the event were treated to entertainment, good food and a generally positive environment.

First Baptist Church of Georgiana Pastor Allen Stephenson, who helped arrange the event, said everyone was more than pleased.

"It went well," said Stephenson. "I've had estimates of 500 to 600 people so we really drew a lot of people. I couldn't be more excited about that. Bringing all the schools together was a big thrill."

Stephenson said the big crowd required a lot of food. However, the organizers of the event were more than happy to help.

"We cooked about 1,000 hot dogs," said Stephenson. "Everyone really did their part."

Stephenson said the purpose of the event was to let the kids know grown ups are behind them and have faith in them.

"We just wanted to let the kids know that we are behind them," said Stephenson. "I think we showed that well. If we let them know we support them they will be motivated to do a lot better."

Stephenson said by bringing their players the area coaches showed how much they care about the youth of the county.

"Our area coaches really showed how much they care about their children," said Stephenson. "They showed they are concerned with their spiritual state as well as their physical."

The guest speaker for the evening was Randy Overstreet, who serves as Senior Associate Pastor of First Baptist Church of Birmingham.

Overstreet kept the crowd in stitches through his comical antics, but was also able to send a serious message.

"God loves you in spite of your sins," said Overstreet. "He will always taker care of you if you only ask him to watch over you."

Overstreet said using humor has always been a way for him to spread his message.

"I have always enjoyed making people laugh," said Overstreet. "Ever since I was little when I figured out making people laugh was a way for me to be noticed by them."

Overstreet ended the night by playing songs for the crowd and entertaining them even further.

Stephenson said with the momentum the program has built he hoped to see the numbers double again next year.

"I fully believe we can reach 1,000," said Stephenson. "There were a lot of kids from different schools and different backgrounds supporting each other and I hope we can continue that."

Those who arranged the event would like to thank all whom participated and helped out.