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posted: Thu, Sep 24th, 2015
Cierra Hung works on her letter to Mount Olive's first-responders

Thanking those who keep us safe

Second grade teachers Jennifer Day, Sharon Enea, and Kelly Wilson were surprised that so many of their students knew at least some of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. (Most had learned about the day from their parents or television.)

The lessons on this September 11, however, focused not on tragedy but on recognizing and giving thanks to those who protect our community and its citizens every day: Mount Olive’s first-responders.

The students first watched a video identifying the emergency personnel who are considered first-responders – a term coined and entered into the American lexicon 14 years ago on 9/11. The video underscored the dedication of the men and women responsible our safety in times of crisis.

The second-graders also read “September 12: We knew Everything Would be All Right,” an award-winning book with the simple message that despite bad things that happen in the world, they should feel safe. Written by first-graders at a Missouri elementary school soon after the events that so profoundly impacted America, the book focuses on hope and reassurance, and the fresh start that each day brings.

As a culminating activity, students composed letters to the Mount Olive Police Department, the Budd Lake Fire Department, and the Budd Lake First Aid and Rescue Squad. The kids expressed appreciation for the vital roles that the first-responders perform and thanked them for their bravery. Some students even discussed their own aspirations to help others and become police officers or firefighters.

“It’s so important to continue to thank our first-responders,” said Ms. Day. “Kids of this age need to know that these men and women in uniform aren’t scary people and are here to help.” 

Learning to write friendly letters and learning about the roles of community members are both important parts of the second grade curriculum.

Drew DeMaria focuses on his letter

Writing about a hero

Second-grader Logan Berg was recently named one of three winners in the “My Hero Works At School” essay contest, sponsored by the New Jersey Education Association.

 In his essay written last spring, Logan wrote about Sandshore’s head custodian, Manny Jimenez, and praised his kindness, hard work, generosity, and ever-present smile. “He always has a smile on his face and he is always nice to all students, even me!” Logan wrote. “When I am having a bad day, Mr. Manny’s smile always cheers me up.”

Logan won tickets to a Trenton Thunder baseball game and a special Thunder experience. He watched player practice from the field, played catch with the team’s mascots, and read his winning essay to the entire stadium. 

Lisa Lamendola, Logan’s teacher from last year, and physical education teacher Kit Thompson joined Logan and the Berg family for the game and post-game fireworks display. 

Logan Berg and Trenton Thunder mascot Cloudman

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Sandshore School
498 Sandshore Rd Budd Lake, NJ 07828
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