The Parent Teacher Organization of Wedgeworth Elementary School hosted a tailgate party featuring and honoring Waxahachie law enforcement officers, first responders and local military personnel The school's parking lot drop-off point was lined with ambulances, law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks and a military truck. Students and parents had the opportunity to look inside and sit inside the vehicles.

PTO President Jenny Loucks said the organization hosts an event to kick off the beginning of the school year, but they wanted this year to be fun, new and different.

“Every year the schools have parents and students come out to receive their school supplies,” Loucks said. “Instead having the kids come and pick up their supplies, meet the teachers and go home. We chose to take the time to honor our Waxahachie heroes.”

Loucks said they reached out the all first responders, law enforcement and members of the military in an effort to thank them for everything they do.

She said the event was also used as a way to relieve stress for the parents.

“We want everybody to feel excited and welcome, especially the parents,” Loucks said. “We believe events like this takes some of the pressure off of parents, and gives them a chance to really enjoy the thrill of getting their child back into the swing of things.”

Patty Knight is the vice president for the Wedgeworth PTO. She said holding a big event like Waxahachie Heros reinforces the fact that they want the students and parents there.

“This is a great way to bring the community together,” Knight said. “It's also a great way to showcase the PTO and what we do.”

Seeing the outpouring of community response gave Loucks and other members of the organization a thrill.

“Looking around at all of these people is so exciting,” she said. “The community responded so well and we are very appreciative to everyone who had a hand in making this night possible.”

In addition, she said this sort of occasion shines a light on the purpose of the PTO.

There were several businesses and organizations that made donations and gave of their time to make the event a success. Loucks said she is truly grateful to Target, Chick-fil-A, Dominos Pizza and all the parent volunteers.

She added that organizations such as the PTO are vital and ensure that parents, teachers and students are always on the same page. Loucks said when her son started school she wanted to know what the school was like and that's what led her to get involve in the PTO.

“I realized the school does so many things every day to make things go smoothly for our students,” she said. “Organizations like the PTO are the eyes of the daytime for other parents and help build family strength.”

Knight added that the PTO is important because it gives the parents an inside look into the daily lives of the teachers and what they go through.

Both women stressed the importance of PTO volunteers and the need for more. Anyone interested in volunteering or becoming a member of the organization should call Jenny Loucks at 214-399-1314.

Follow Melissa on Facebook.com/MelissaCadeWDL. Contact her at 469-517-1450 or melissa.cade@waxahachietx.com.