JOHNSTON: Readifest looks different this year, still aims to kick off school year on right foot

Those with kiddos might agree this seems to have been the longest summer ever. 

In March we would have never thought that our back-to-school season would look like this. But here we are, and I’m hoping that my fellow Clark County folks are, like me, choosing to make the best of the situation.

Social media has been so divisive, ugly and just generally negative. No matter your opinion about the current situation or your thoughts on whether we should be in the school building or out, the one thing that should supersede all of that is making sure we set our youth up to have a positive experience as they embark on the 2020-21 school year.

A great way to do that is to load them up in the car and head out to College Park for Readifest from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday.

Readifest looks a little different this year.

If you’ve been to Readifest in the past few years, you went to Bluegrass Community and Technical College and walked around, visited tables, got treats and some cool school supplies. There was even a movie you could stay and watch.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible for our current situation,.

After some amazing collaborations, the Family Resource and Youth Service Center (FRYSC) coordinators and the Summer Involvement Program (SIP) got together and decided to do Readifest, SIP-style.

The event will start at 4 p.m. on Wheeler Avenue in front of College Park, the same place where the SIP lemonade stand has been giving out goodies all summer.

All school age children are able to drive through, grab some ridiculously awesome school supplies, cotton candy, popcorn and then get to drive by and wave to some familiar faces from the schools.

All students who are in preschool all the way up to seniors in high school can come participate, and not just those that attend public schools. It’s for everyone! Remember, your kiddo has to be in the car to get all the goodies.

Our community has come together with donations, partnerships, time and so much support in an attempt to start this school year off on a fun, positive note for our Clark County students.

As we all know, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this new school year and it is going to be a struggle for many people in many different ways.

I feel confident our teachers and other school personnel will do everything in their power to make this year the best it can be.

It is our job as parents and caregivers to be as positive as we can to lift everyone up on this journey.

No matter your opinion of our governor, he is correct that we are in this together.

I have been so proud of our community and how we’ve risen to the occasion, so let’s continue to rise.

Abraham Lincoln has been quoted as saying, “Folks are as happy as they make their minds up to be.” Let’s choose happy and have an awesome time this Friday kicking off the school year.

Shonda Johnston is the Clark County Extension agent for family and consumer sciences. She can be reached at 859-744-4682 or by email at