Back To School BBQ Kicks Off New Year

Sponsored by the HTA, the first ever "Back to School BBQ" was a community-building success.

gusBBQresizeOn September 12th, 2015 the Massachusetts Teacher Association & the Holyoke Teachers Association organized a “Back to School” barbecue at Pulaski Park in Holyoke. This event brought Holyoke students, families, staff, and faculty together to get to know each other and look forward to a great year. In the month of April, Holyoke Public Schools went into receivership, and until that point the community of Holyoke has been working hard to demand change within the system.

George Luse, one person who attended the event and works for the Massachusetts Teacher Association, was asked the purpose of organizing this event. He told The Herald, “We hope this event is the first step in the start of building power in the Latino community. We all know that Holyoke needs change but change will not occur until the community comes together and demands it.”

Gus Morales, President of the Holyoke Teachers Association, thinks that “the reason we have this event is for the people to see the teacher’s view of the community and be a part of the mission of reclaiming Holyoke Public Schools. We have to empower the parents to have a much greater say in how the public schools are leaded.” Morales believes that only Holyoke citizens can improve the school system because, “in the end there is no Us vs. Them, there’s only us.”

Norma Casillas, who is a teacher at Kelly School, thinks the event is “a wonderful opportunity to bring the community along with the schools, and we hope to do and event like this again.”

HPS teachers, parents, and students gather at Pulaski Park in Holyoke.
HPS teachers, parents, and students gather at Pulaski Park in Holyoke.

The HTA/MTA barbeque was a success in bringing together teachers, students, parents, and other community members. Look for more events like this in the future for the Holyoke community.