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story.lead_photo.caption <p>Democrat photo/Liz Morales</p><p>Mary Blochberger, an athletic trainer with Capital Region Healthplex West, sets the pace and stances for yoga July 30 with her impromptu class of incoming Tipton students and two mascots for moral support at the Back to School Fair at California High School.</p>

Students from seven schools, including homeschoolers, about to enter another year of academic excellence within Moniteau County participated in the Back to School Fair on July 30 at California High School.

Booths from area businesses lined the perimeter of the gym, and two hallways were set aside to offer health screenings, results of which are sent to the school. Just like previous years, the health screenings included vision, dental, blood pressure, height and weight, hearing and scoliosis.

Nearly 450 bags filled to the brim with school supplies for students entering another school year were available for pick-up.

Michele Stufflebean, board president of the Moniteau County Alliance for Kids, said the fair originally stemmed from a need residents saw in Moniteau County students.

"Several local citizens saw the need of a growing number of children in Moniteau County that would go to school in August with unidentified health issues that could affect their ability to learn, and without the basic supplies needed to be successful," Stufflebean said.

"From there came the Moniteau County Alliance for Kids, local volunteers, who would begin to organize and orchestrate the fair into what it has become today."

Tom Shands, with the American Red Cross, spent time at the fair and said the needs oftentimes go beyond simply health concerns.

"There is a lot of free stuff here that can help families get started for the school year," Shands said.

In the middle of picking up school supplies and getting their health screenings, students got to have fun with wandering mascots such as Riley Pinto, the Tipton Cardinal and even Franklin the Turtle.

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