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Big Cypress hosts bash before it’s back to the books

Shonayeh Tommie was ready for her first day of school with her new pink bookbag that she received at the Back-to-School Bash in Big Cypress on July 28.
Shonayeh Tommie was ready for her first day of school with her new pink bookbag that she received at the Back-to-School Bash in Big Cypress on July 28.
ssach Alafaro, 11, prepares to look good for his first day back to school by getting a haircut at the Back-to-School Bash on July 28.
Issach Alafaro, 11, prepares to look good for his first day back to school by getting a haircut at the Back-to-School Bash on July 28.

BIG CYPRESS — The Big Cypress Reservation’s annual Back-to-School Bash not only provided a fun time for students before they returned to school, but it also served as an introduction to Ahfachkee School’s new principal.

The bash featured a variety of activities, food, music, and giveaways to accompany the announcement July 28 in the Herman L. Osceola Gymnasium.

Big Cypress Councilman Cicero Osceola introduced Ahfachkee’s new principal, Dorothy Cain, with an upbeat tone as the Tribe had been waiting for a new principal since 2014. Cain said she hopes to make a difference in the school in her new role and wants to make sure that all the students are achieving their goals.

“I thought it was a very successful event for the community. I met a lot of students that attend Ahfachkee,” Cain said. “I look forward to a successful year at the school.”

Cain wasn’t alone in her excitement about the new school year. Councilman Osceola said he couldn’t be more thrilled about the outcome of the bash and how many students attended the event at the Herman L. Osceola Gymnasium.

“I hope everyone has a great school year,” Osceola said. “I want to thank everybody who came out for the 2016 Back-to-School Bash.”

Students of all ages and from different reservations attended the event that gave away JanSport backpacks, Bass Pro Shop gift certificates and a variety of school supplies, including composition notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, and folders. Additionally, students enjoyed musical entertainment by DJ MC1 and Supaman, the master of ceremony, throughout the day.

Supaman, the hip-hop sensation from the Crow Nation, showcased his talent with his authentic traditional tribal dance and back-to-school jokes.

With more than 10 years of experience in the music industry and about five years combining tribal music with hip-hop, Supaman was happy to contribute his talent and rap for the students.

“It’s something new for music itself and it combines our native culture into hip-hop,” he said. “I really enjoyed the participation of the kids and to see their smiling faces.”

Christian Parrish, also known as rapper Supaman, performs his traditional dance from the Crow Nation at the Back-to-School Bash before he started his hip-hop performance.
Christian Parrish, also known as rapper Supaman, performs his traditional dance from the Crow Nation at the Back-to-School Bash before he started his hip-hop performance.

As one of the biggest events of the new school year, parents, teachers, and students joined the fun and dancing.

“I had a really good time at the bash. I look forward to it next year,” said Ahfachkee student Edie Robbins, 13.

American Heritage student Madison Jumper agreed with Edie and said she had a lot of fun, too.

“They had a lot of activities. I loved it,” Jumper said.

The event was filled with educational booths from various tribal departments to help students, and there were also unique booths that offered services like manicures and haircuts.

The bash was not only a successful learning resource for new and returning students, but it gave multiple opportunities for students to get acquainted with each other.

“I think it’s great for the kids to have something to come to before school starts,” Billie Tiger said. “It’s a great motivator to get good grades and to get the school year started off right.”

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