The tragedy in Newtown reminded me how heroic teachers are, not just in emergencies, but every day.
At PS 5, we see everyday heroism in teachers like Mr. Padilla, who volunteers evenings and weekends to take his middle school students to Lego robot competitions, where they have placed 2nd place in the State for teamwork. We see everyday heroism in Nurse Mary Ellen Moulton, who somehow seems to know the name of every one of the 700 children at our school, treating every sick child as if they were her own. We saw everyday heroism in all of the teachers and staff who volunteered to organize our hurricane relief event.
Our Parent Council voted in September to become a Parent Teacher Association, giving parents the chance to work more closely with the great teachers and staff at PS5. Our mission: Fund enrichment and social activities for students, appreciation events for teachers and direct aid for families in need. In three months as a PTA, we've already accomplished a lot:
• With the help of the school's staff, we gave 50 coats, 50 bags of groceries, 200 books and a dozen cases of diapers to families affected by Hurricane Sandy at our Nov. 17 pot luck. Parents and staff have either given or committed to an additional $2,000 in direct aid to PS 5 families.
• The PTA, for the first time, sponsored a teacher appreciation lunch Dec. 13. We also sold 20 PS 5 T-shirts, which teachers can now wear on Fridays.
• More than 20 parents baked for our October bake sale at the Fourth Street Arts Festival. Parents Lucy Sepulveda and Krisantia Ritzdorf both contributed Cake-Boss quality cupcakes. We raised more than $1,400 in one day.
• Mrs. Davila has taken the lead, with parent Doria Ceraso, in reviving the school's Box Tops for Education program. Look for information about the launch early next year.
We are also in the middle of our first-ever year-end fundraising drive. So far, thanks to the generosity of PS 5 parents, we've raised more than $2,000. There's still time to give. Ten dollars will pay for an afternoon chess class for two children. Three hundred-fifty will buy an appreciation lunch for every staff member. The equivalent of two-weeks' tuition at a private preschool could send a whole class on a field trip. You can donate through the PayPal link on our web site, www.ps5pta.com or make checks out to PS 5 PTA, P.O. Box 152, Jersey City, NJ 07302-9998.
The fundraising committee is also hoping to host other events this year, including a winter festival and a spring flea market. If you'd like to help, please email fundraising chair Ellen Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org or text her at 917-690-3977. (Email her, too, if you want to buy a PS 5 T-shirt.)You can also contact Ellen, in confidence, if your child needs boots, a coat or uniforms.
I've recently scheduled the rest of the year's PTA meetings. They will be held at 5:45 in the auditorium on the following dates:
• January 14
• March 11
• May 13
Please mark your calendar.
I'll end on a personal note: At last week's international food day, where we dined on jerk chicken and empanandas and heard our three-year-olds sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" in Spanish, I thought again of how our school reflects an ideal: People of every nation, every race and every faith working peacefully to create a better future for their children. Thank you for being part of the PS 5 family. I wish all of you a very happy, healthy New Year, at school and at home.
Felicia Noth, PS 5 PTA President