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Back-to-school events Saturday offer positive activities
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Back to School Rally
When: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
Where: Georgia Mountains Center, Gainesville
How much: Free admission
Contact: 404-401-6589

Celebrating Community Connections
When: Noon to 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Georgia Mountains Center, Gainesville
How much: Free admission
Contact: 678-677-3858

Peer pressure is typically looked at as a negative influence, but organizers of a back-to-school rally are hoping it will have a very positive effect Saturday.

"When you look at the statistics in Hall County, statewide and even across the nation, the high school dropout rate is pretty high," said Rojene Bailey of the Beulah Rucker Museum - a sponsor of the rally.

"Older folks can tell kids all day to stay in school, but we wanted to bring in people from their peer group. Maybe they'll take note from their peers."

The rally, which will be at the Georgia Mountains Center in Gainesville from 3 to 5 p.m., will feature performances from local school bands and cheerleaders, and also a concert by The Breakdown - a teen pop band.

"We want to give the kids a little entertainment, but also let them know it's all right to stay in school," Bailey said.

"Everything is free. We'll also be giving away school supplies and a $1,000 Air Tran voucher for travel anywhere that they fly."

To enter the raffle for the Air Tran voucher, parents must attend the workshops that the museum's staff have organized.

One workshop focuses on Internet safety.

"We want to show parents some of the consequences of their children getting on sites like Facebook and putting up the wrong kind of information," Bailey said.

"Once you put that kind of stuff up, it can follow you forever. A lot of parents aren't familiar with these sites, so we want to help them know what to talk to their children about."

Another workshop, "Hidden in Plain Sight," will include a replica of a typical teenager's bedroom.

"Experts will take parents through the room and show them places where drugs could possibly be hidden," Bailey said.

"Kids can be slick and these are things that parents need to know. We can't hide from the fact that there is a teenage drug problem."

Although this is the third year the museum has sponsored the rally, this year they've combined with the North Georgia Kids Directory's Celebrating Community
Connections event.

The festivities are being billed as, "two great events, one great day."

The event will also be held at the Georgia Mountains Center from noon until 6 p.m.

The event will feature various vendors, information from family themed businesses and a performance by Dem Shelton Boyz - a young, pop-rock group.

There will also be children's activities such as bounce houses and a petting zoo.

"We held our event independently last year and it was such a success that we wanted to expand it this year," said event coordinator Dannella Burnett.

"Between the two events, we hope that families have lots of fun but also walk away with a lot of good information."