ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Roanoke City Public Schools helped students and families prepare for their return to class next week through its 20th annual “Back to School Extravaganza.”

District Superintendent Verletta White says the event serves more than one purpose.

“Kids can get there immunizations here, they can get the school supplies here, and they get to ask questions about their school community,” White said.

Over the past few weeks, the school district put together nearly 2,700 bags of school supplies, many of which came from its “Load the Bus” event during Virginia’s tax-free weekend earlier this month, making a big difference for parents like Ebony Dance.

“A lot of people are still in a hole, and so school supplies are something you have to have on top of the necessities,” said Dance.

Dance has two children who attend public schools in the Star City, so she says the back-to-school event on Saturday, Aug. 20 helped ease their nerves going into a new school.

“It makes them confident feeling prepared. I know my kids are transitioning from the fifth grade to sixth grade, and going to middle school, it’s a totally different ball game,” said Dance.

Both White and Dance emphasized that they believe one of the biggest factors of the event is community.

“Our students get a chance to meet their principals, they get a chance to meet some of their teachers, and our families get a chance to take advantage of the community resources,” said White.

Some community partners were at Saturday’s events to offer services for adults as well.

Kimberly Ogden, the director of Educate VA — an organization that helps people make the transition into a teaching position — says that now is a crucial time to recruit educators.

“Hopefully, we are helping out the system to fill some of those classrooms so that our students show up next week and they have qualified individuals to teach them,” said Ogden.

One Roanoke City school official says they believe “school is more than just school” and they hope events like Saturday’s extravaganza show support for students and families beyond the classroom.

“It can be some true unity between people right now, because we need that,” said Dance.