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2019 PCSD Opening Kick-Off celebrates the start of the school year

PCSD Opening Kick Off Kindergarten Parade August 19, 2019


Byers Field was the place to be on Saturday, August 17, as students, families, staff and the community celebrated the start of another great school year at the annual PCSD Opening-Kick-Off.


For the third year in a row, the Parma City School District invited everyone from the three communities to see what the Parma Schools are all about.


“It’s always an exciting time to see all the families, students and staff coming back and getting ready for the school year,” expressed PCSD Superintendent Dr. Charles Smialek. “We are ready for the new school year and we are so grateful for our great turnout today.”


The event began at 10 a.m. with athletics on the field, a community resource fair, career and technical education showcase, games and activities, which continued through 3 p.m.


New this year, that will continue to be a tradition every year, was the PCSD Kindergarten Parade. At 11:45 a.m., all new incoming kindergartners and their families from every elementary school received a warm welcome to the Parma Schools! The Class of 2032 waved and smiled as they marched around the track while the community in the bleachers clapped and cheered.

“The Kindergarten Parade was probably one of the most inspiring things I have seen as a Parma administrator,” shared Tiffany Stropko, PCSD Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. “Having our new families come out and be excited about the elementary schools they will be attending in the fall was wonderful.”


Throughout the day, high school and middle school fall sports showcased their talents on the field, including football, soccer, volleyball, cross country and cheerleading.


Career and Technical Education students put their knowledge and creativity on display, with programs like Biotechnology, Cosmetology, Culinary, Digital Media and Creative Arts, Visual Communication, Medical Professions, and Dental Technologies engaging the community with interactive activities or impressive presentations.


The community resource fair featured numerous tables with activities, information and giveaways for all in attendance. All 15 PCSD school buildings were represented along with PCSD Board of Education members and administration departments. Community partners like University Hospital Parma Medical Center and Cuyahoga County Public Library showcased the larger community presence.


“Today has been fantastic,” Greenbriar Middle School Principal Jill Schissler expressed. “It’s all about community, it’s all about family and our schools are our strength. It’s awesome to be able to come together and see the good.”


All three high school marching bands continued the back-to-school party at noon, with performances on the field that pulled everyone into the stands to listen and enjoy the music. Students from Baldwin Wallace University’s radio station, WBWC 88.3 FM, also provided music throughout the event.


Every year the event gets bigger and better, and this year was no exception. A rock climbing wall, courtesy of the Boy Scouts of America, carnival games, and the Parma Area Family Collaborative book bag and school supply distribution were new additions to the event.


“I think this is an outstanding event for our school district,” expressed PCSD Board of Education Vice President Steve Vaughn. “It allows people to realize that we are more of a community than just buildings, and I think that is extremely important in education.”


Every festival needs great food, and there was no shortage of that at the kick-off. Swensons and Hokulia Shave Ice stopped by to provide delicious eats, as well as concession stand offerings from Mr. Chicken and Jet’s Pizza.


The jam-packed day also included Ford’s Drive For Your Schools, hosted by the Parma City Schools Foundation. Generously sponsored by Bob Gillingham Ford, this unique fundraiser allowed the community to test drive a brand new Ford with $20 from every test drive going to the school or school program of the driver’s choice. Many members of the Parma City Schools Foundation volunteered to help make the event a success.


“We are always grateful to our community partners, like Gillingham Ford, for their willingness to share their proceeds from the Drive For Your Schools event,” Smialek added.


Throughout the day, there was plenty of pride on display at the 2019 PCSD Opening Kick-Off.  To view more photos from the event, visit


PHOTO CAPTION:  Incoming Kindergarten students and their families were welcomed to the PCSD with a parade around the track at Byers Field during the 2019 Opening Kick-Off event, held on Saturday, August 17. The parade was followed by performances from all three high school marching bands.