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Wednesday, July 24, 2024


Woodbine 6.7.2006

By Rick Racela

Congratulations to Woodbine Elementary School  3rd Marking Period Honor Rollees:
Superintendent’s honor roll (all A’s):  Matthew Cerracchio (8th Grade.)
8th Grade:   Tyonna Edmonds, Katlyn Gold and Mariah Rodriguez.
7th Grade:  Tiffany Olivieri.
6th Grade:  Mailyn Cecilia and Tabitha Cooper.
5th Grade:  Andrea Williams.
4th Grade:  Ariel Cooper and Onix Rivera.
Congratulations are also due to WES students meeting their 100 Book Challenge Goals.
Students received a “bronze” medal for achieving their 100 book challenge goal, and a silver medal for the 200 book challenge goal in an independent reading program.
This program encourages all children to develop the healthy life habit of independent reading.  Three cheers for these students’ successes!
Students who have reached 1st benchmark (Bronze medal):  Enrique Gayton (2nd grade).
Students earning both Bronze and Silver medals, reaching the 2nd benchmark: Katelyn White, Tracey Foster, Jasiah Peyton (3rd graders.), and Tyrome Williams (2nd grade.)
Eighth grade graduation at Woodbine Elementary School will be June 13 at 7 p.m.
Tickets are required to attend.
Last day of school for everybody else there is June 15.
WES’s 19th Annual Red White and Blue Day was carried off in its usual proud tradition:
A special greeting here to Petty Officer Evan Burgess, who has a really nice smile, but a stern commanding look as he put the Coast Guard Drill team through its impressive paces.
We didn’t get to ask where PO Burgess is from, but we sure hope a clip of this reaches his family back there so they can read what a great impression he and his drill team made on the students at the May 24 program.
The program began with the Presentation of Colors by the Coast Guard Honor Guard, which this year was all female-a fact that Samantha Downes seemed to have noted.
The flag salute was led by students Tyrome Williams, Elizabeth Naylor, and Kathlyn White.
Mrs. Newman’s third grade led a flag-waving National Anthem, and were followed by Mrs. Young’s first grade singing “It’s a Grand Old Flag”.
In between Jalen Hudgins read his poem about the Statue of Liberty.
Mr. McHale (who just can’t stay away) gave the welcome, introducing LTC Downes, who then introduced the day’s special guests.
Guests included Assemblyman Nelson Albano, former Board Presidents Kim Schalek and Greg Hudgins, Police Chief Michael Bradley of Long Beach Township, Hamilton Township Police Officer (and Training Officer) Frank Schalek, and retired teacher Steve Hensil, as well as local dignitaries.
Assemblyman Albano (who presented an Assembly commendation to LTC Downes) asked for applause for all service men and women, and then asked the students to celebrate Memorial Day by (with their parents’ knowledge and permission) going up to anyone they see in uniform to say “thank you”.
Also to ask their parents to take them to a Memorial site, parade, or ceremony for this holiday.
Congressman LoBiondo sent his regrets at being unable to attend; Governor Corzine sent a letter.
The Woodbine Education Association acknowledged the winners of the essay contest “Why I am Proud to Be An American”.
We were disappointed that eighth grader Miriah Rodriguez and seventh grader John Henry Taylor were not called upon to read their winning essays, as we had found the words of student essayists inspiring in years passed.
Lower Township Police Chief Edward Donahue spoke about his job and on the importance of Memorial Day, as well as about the Police Unity Ride.
The US Coast Guard Drill Team gave their aforementioned impressive precision demonstration (the youngest students oohing and ahhing throughout), followed by Mr. McHale’s recitation of “In Flanders Fields”, a traditional part of this program that somehow never fails to move me to tears-and to wondering why we don’t teach students to memorize such poetry (or do we?) along with some background.
Long Beach Police Officer (and former and reserve USCG Petty Officer) Thomas J. Franks described his part in the rescue efforts during the 1991 “Perfect Storm”.
He was joined on the stage by his Police Chief, Michael Bradley, while he showed the equipment used in these rescues.
LTC Downes led a special moment of remembrance: saluting all the veterans in the audience, all the men and women lost while in military and law enforcement service, noting his father and his wife’s uncle, as well as Mr. Ward’s brother.
He then read the poem “The Soldiers Speak”.
The program closed with the singing of “America the Beautiful”.
Thanks to all who worked so hard to bring back this community celebration of Memorial Day here in Woodbine.
The 10th annual WES Children’s Memorial Garden Ceremony began with a welcome from Board President Melissa Rodriguez, who noted how with the yearly blooming of the flowers planted there the memory of all the individuals lost goes on.
Katlyn Gold read Clarisia Montero’s poem “The Children’s Garden”.
Clarisia wrote it last year, as an eighth grader, for this ceremony, and if she’s reading this column: I’d still like to put her in touch with the poets at jerseyworks (
The fourth grade sang Mr. Ward’s tribute “Forever in Our Hearts”.
Mrs. Newman read Rev. Rina Terry’s commemorative poem “Garden of Laughter and Tears”.
Mrs. Murray read Emily Matthews’ poem to those left behind “In Sympathy and Caring”.
Students Mary Batchelor, Andrea Williams, and Lee Davenport planted what I believe was veronica.
Many thanks to Joe Feliciano, the “Superintendent of the Garden” for all his yearlong work in maintaining it.
Later that same school day (after we’d wandered the hall to view the student’s work exhibited on the corridor walls), we joined staff and community members for a tasty luncheon and good conversation.
Samantha Rose Downes made her dance recital debut with Dancers Two at the Middle Township PAC Center last month as an Elephant dancing to “Talk to the Animals”.
Hubby’s hooked up a new answering machine at the number at the top of this column, with a special box just for “my” callers, so break it in and tell us about what your grandkids are up in this season of graduations, dance recitals, and end of school year honors and awards.
Such as Borough Solicitor (and Prosecutor) Michael Benson who is celebrating the birth of granddaughter Samantha.
Condolences from all at Borough Hall to Gloria Blakey on the recent passing of her mother.
Woodbine Planning and Zoning meets tomorrow at 8 p.m.
Woodbine Recreation Commission-who may still be at the finish of its fund-raiser-meets June 13 at 5 p.m.
Woodbine Municipal Utilities Authority meets June 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Woodbine Borough Council’s sole June meeting is June 15 at 8 p.m.
Woodbine Municipal Court will be held June 12 and June 26, both sessions at 2 p.m.
Remember this, to paraphrase Reverend Terry: spring always brings the flowering of possibility as well as of remembrance.

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