Back To School Shuffle gets kids into learning mode

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Brenton Turner reaches for a colored folder at the North Attleborough Police and Fire table during the Back To School Shuffle, held on Aug. 17. The event is run by the Downtown Association of North Attleborough. Staff Photo/Max Bowen
Angela Amiro-Shirley holds Axel, a dog adopted by NAPD Officer Julie Lowe. Axel has become a community mascot and appears at several events, including the Shuffle, and was a popular draw for the children and their families. Staff Photo/Max Bowen

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

Excitedly carrying red tote bags filled to the brim with folders, notebooks, pens, and pencils, children and their families filled the downtown area for the annual Back To School Shuffle.

Organized by the Downtown Association of North Attleborough and held on Aug. 17, the event gave families the chance to stock up on school supplies for just $4 a ticket. Families checked in at the Bristol Masons Lodge, where inside North Attleborough businesses and organizations had set up their tables. Dawn DaCosta, one of many at tables inside the lodge, said the Shuffle helps bring the community together.

It gives them (businesses and organizations) the chance to give back,” she said.

From there, families used a list of locations to get more classroom accessories at downtown spots such as Mad Moose, Okinawan Uechi-Ryu Karate Do, The Meat Bar, and Jay’s Indian Kitchen.

Outside Grace Church, another collection of tables could be found, representing the town’s Recreation Department, Girl Scouts troops, and the North Attleborough Fire and Police. Axel, who was adopted by NAPD Officer Julie Lowe, has become a mascot for the community and drew quite the crowd. One child could be heard shouting “It’s Axel, he’s here,” as she ran toward the friendly dog.

Brenton Turner, who will be starting kindergarten at Hyman Fine Elementary School this fall, said math is his favorite subject.

I’m good at it,” he said proudly.

Violet Zalewski agreed that math is the best, adding that she practices at home. She’ll also be starting kindergarten, and said the glue kits were her favorite of the supplies handed out that day.

I have a desk at home for math,” she said.

Outside Grace Church there were tables set up for the Parks and Recreation Department, police and fire, and more. Staff Photo/Max Bowen

Angela Amiro-Shirley has been going to the Shuffle since her child—now in third grade—was in kindergarten. She said the event has tremendous value, not just in terms of the supplies, but in getting to see so many friends at once.

DANA President Maureen Merigold said that half of the 200 Shuffle tickets were sold out within 30 minutes, and the rest were sold a short time later. She said the event is a fun one for the whole family and that the excitement experienced has been wonderful.

It just reacquaints people,” she said. “It reacquaints people with the downtown.”