Kids get creative for Essex High School’s ‘Anything but a Backpack Day’

Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 5:40 PM EST
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ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. (WCAX) - Spirit week at Essex High School is well underway with students getting a midwinter mood lift with events like Beach Day or Ski Day, a Mental Health Awareness Day and sporting school colors. And on Thursday, they enjoyed a student favorite-- Anything but a Backpack Day.

The hallways can be hectic at Essex High School as students shuffle from class to class. But Thursday school rules got bent for backpacks-- none were needed.

“So this was actually lended to me by my little cousin, Noah,” senior Elliot Riggen said of the little pedal car he was riding.

Riggen rigged his sweet ride to carry class essentials.

“I got a milk crate tied onto the back. It makes it a little back-heavy, so I have to be a little cautious going up,” he said.

But he might need to check with his physics teacher for a lesson on weight distribution, as trouble ensued and his ride tipped backward.

“I’ve seen a couple lawnmowers, shopping cart-- it’s awesome and I think there are a lot of surprises in store,” Riggen said.

By surprises, he may have meant traffic jams, like the four-wheeled dump truck that was a little too wide for trips to class.

Other unconventional totes included Tide pod boxes, a tiny tent, laundry baskets and waste baskets-- cleaned of course.

Senior Emily Stevens, who carried a wastebasket, admitted it was a little inconvenient.

“Yes, very much, but a lot of people don’t really care,” she said.

Nothing is off the table for Anything but a Backpack Day, except living things.

“It’s just really fun watching people walk around with the most random things,” Stevens said. “You never know what people are going to bring in.”

From salad bowls to strollers, Barbie cars to kayaks-- the library has students covered with free parking. And it provides the library directors with a good laugh.

“It was a great way to embrace Anything but a Backpack Day and allow them a space for their unwieldy items,” said Liz Von Nagy, a school library director.

Organizers say by the end of the school day, creative carry-ons bring the cool back to school.

“It’s really fun,” said Darrian Michaelides, a senior. “It gets the people going and brings a lot of smiles to everyone and that’s always a good thing in a school day.”