IN THE NEWS
posted: Wed, Nov 25th, 2015
Remembering Anita Ashok Datar
A message from Dr. Frank Fischel, principal
November 25, 2015
The unimaginable events that occurred on November 13 in Paris are a sober reminder that violence can strike anywhere, without a moment’s notice. The violence and its motivation are tragically incongruous with a city that gained its nickname, City of Light, from its role in Europe’s Age of Enlightenment when principles such as liberty, progress, reason, and religious tolerance were held in the highest esteem.
A less-publicized attack the following week on November 20 hit further away in the world, but much closer to home. Islamist militants took 170 hostages in the north African country of Mali and killed 20, including Anita Ashok Datar, a 1991 alumnus of Mount Olive High School who also attended Mountain View. Ms. Datar, who went on to study at Rutgers and spend time with the Peace Corps, worked for a non-profit international organization. Her role there included family planning and HIV issues in the developing world.
Ms. Datar grew up right in this neighborhood. Her caring and goodness is remembered by so many, including a teacher here who knew her well, and exemplified by her life-long devotion to helping others.
While most of our students are too young to understand the unspeakable acts of violence that have shaken the world in the past several weeks, I thought it important for them to know of the loss of someone so special who walked the same hallways as they do. During morning announcements on Monday, I asked students to join teachers and staff members in a moment of silence in Ms. Datar’s honor and in recognition of her dedication to making a difference in the world.
Later that day, Governor Chris Christie ordered flags at all state buildings flown half-staff on Tuesday, November 24 in remembrance.
“Anita Datar is a true hero and role model of the highest order, who bravely immersed herself in dangerous environments, and whose life’s work is a testament to her tremendous courage, remarkable compassion and unwavering commitment to improving the lives of those most in need,” the governor said in issuing the executive order.
Plans are being discussed now to ensure that Ms. Datar’s memory and good deeds live on in Mount Olive for years to come.
Responding to children's questions about such difficult issues requires sensitivity, wisdom, and a reassuring touch. Words of hope and optimism can help put the world into proper perspective, something of profound importance during a week in which we are giving thanks for all that we have and all that is good in our lives.
I hope you will join me and all of us here at Mountain View and remember Ms. Datar and the others touched by these senseless acts in your Thanksgiving prayers.
I wish you and your families peace.
|Posters on display in the cafeteria show the school's top performers on fitness test
Focusing on fitness
Physical education class isn’t all fun and games. Just as in every other subject, students are expected to practice and improve.
Students in grades 1-5 recently took the Presidential Youth Fitness Program test – an assessment that measures five fitness areas: push-ups, sit-ups, sit and reach, endurance run, and shuttle run. Throughout the remainder of the school year, students will work to improve their scores.
“We encourage all of our students to try their best and reach their full potential,” said Mike Schwartz, physical education teacher. “Fitness is like anything else. If you work at it, if you’re dedicated, you’ll get better.”
Posters showing the all-time high scores of the top performers in each category were posted in the cafeteria.
“The kids were excited to see their names and their classmates names on the wall,” said Mike Guli, physical education teacher. “The posters also help promote a healthy competition and the desire for each student to strive for his or her personal best.”
Students will take the Presidential Youth Fitness Program test again in the spring. Those who earn high marks in all five fitness categories will receive Presidential Fitness Awards.
The top scorers are:
Sit N Reach
Sit N Reach
|Nevin Petzinger points to a photo of his father who presently serves in the navy
Celebrating Veterans Day
Principal Frank Fischel has made celebrating Veterans Day an important part of Mountain View Novembers since he took the helm of the school several years ago. This year, Jen Olsyn added her touch and made the festivities even more personal.
The school's new instructional supervisor assembled a giant display about 20-feet long with names and photos of veterans and active military personnel from the school community. Students, parents, and staff members responded enthusiastically to Ms. Olsyn's request for information and about 250 men and women were personally recognized.
The display stood on the stage in the school cafeteria and on Veterans Day was transported outside for the school's ceremonies.
"This was a nice way to honor the people closest to us who have served and sacrificed to guarantee our freedoms," Ms. Olsyn said. "I think making the celebration more personal really had an impact on students."
As part of the Veterans Day recognition, students and staff members marched around the building, the anthems of all five branches of the military were played, and the school chorus sang a moving rendition of "God Bless America." Students in all grades also created Veterans Day cards that were sent to active service personnel.
|Jen Olsyn helps Dr. Frank Fischel hang a photo of his father
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|The main section of the Veterans Day display; the stars contain the names of veterans and active service personnel