For the first time, the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District hosted a Back to School Bash which attracted more than 3,000 students and their families to the community-wide event held at South Middle School in Edinburg.

“I am very impressed with the turnout by hundreds of families at South Middle School for the Back to School Bash. This is beyond my expectations,” ECISD Superintendent Dr. René Gutiérrez.

Parents were provided with many items to prepare their children for the upcoming school year, including free school supplies, food, vision checks and haircuts.

“We are very, very thankful to ECISD for doing this,” said Joseph Salinas, an eighth grader at Brewster School.

“I have five kids, so they are enjoying it,” ECISD parent Miguel Castillo said. “They are getting free supplies and free haircuts. I’m enjoying seeing other kids here. It’s great for the community.”

More than 300 students lined up to receive free haircuts, which was one of the most popular stations inside the school’s gymnasium.

The district’s Career and Technical Education Cosmetology Department set up 20 styling chairs, which were staffed by two instructors, students and a local agency.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for parents to get all the school supplies shopping out of the way,” said Audrie Calvillo, an ECISD parent. “We can’t make it to the grocery store. We have an event like this that really brings the community together.”

“I think it’s very good, because some people can’t really afford it,” said Derek Gonzalez, a sixth grader at South Middle School. “They get a lot of free things, which helps them.”

Several other school district departments and local vendors also participated in the program.

“Something that’s really important to Raising Cane’s is active community involvement. We like to be very involved in the community and giving back when we can,” said Elijah Edwards, general manager of Raising Cane’s restaurant in Edinburg.

Dr. Gutierrez said plans are already under way to host another Back to School Bash next year.

“We know that there is a demand, and of course we are going to continue doing this now,” Gutiérrez said. “We see that there is a need for our community and our school district can help to fill that need.”