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Back-to-School Barbecue a Hit at Squire Village

A crowd estimated at 600 turned out Thursday night for a community back-to-school barbecue at the Squire Village apartment complex, and event organizers were thrilled by the turnout.

"It was great to see," said Scott Ratchford, director of the school district’s Community and Family Partnership office -- which sponsored the event along with the town's Office of Neighborhoods and Families.

The police department, which has been hosting smaller community events at Squire Village on Thursday nights all summer, also had a sponsorship role and distributed more than 200 backpacks filled with school supplies to children who arrived early.

The demand for hot dogs and hamburgers was constant but help arrived from the high school, which on Thursday night held its annual "183 Nights" event -- a kickoff for seniors as they begin their last year of school. That event was also well attended but they had a half dozen extra party pizzas and rushed them over the Squire Village -- where they were quickly devoured.

Ratchford said the cookout was designed "to show our children the strength that is possible when the community we call home works together." He said he was excited because the event was such a collaborative endeavor. Highland Park Market and Target made donations, and parents and community members helped plan the event along with the sponsoring groups. There also was a large turnout of MHS football players and cheerleaders, who were joined by their coaches -- Roy Roberts and Coleen Murphy, respectively.

Superintendent Matt Geary, Mayor Jay Moran, Police Chief Marc Montminy and school board Chairman Chris Pattacini all were in attendance.

Manchester Public Schools 45 North School St, Manchester, CT 06042

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