It’s hard to imagine a better time of year in Point Pleasant Borough Schools than the weeks surrounding the holiday season. As we come into the Holidays, the first marking period has come and gone and students and staff are generally well settled and focused on achievement and the remainder of the year. There’s a feeling of accomplishment and contentment that can be felt district-wide, which lends itself well to the burgeoning holiday spirit, and can be witnessed throughout the district.
The charitable endeavors heralded by our students and staff as well as the season’s many events and traditions, truly makes this the most wonderful time of the year. It’s one of my favorite times to visit our schools, when they seem alive with the sound of music and the holiday excitement radiates like a Griswold Holiday display. The ability to witness the wonder of the holidays through the eyes of our students is one of my most precious gifts.
This time of year is marked by winter concerts and holiday events; by food and toy drives for our neighbors in need; and by great reflection as we look back on the school year’s first three months and the seemingly impossible number of achievements that have occurred over such a short time.
Whether in academics, athletics or the arts, our students are excelling in every area. Academically, our students are shattering records – like the astounding 49 current students and members of the Class of 2016 that have been named AP Scholars, surpassing 2014’s record of 46.
Our student athletes’ commitment to excel is demonstrated by our teams earning division title championships and by seniors Katie Bragen and Ally Lassen signing National Letters of Intent to continue their athletic pursuits at Rutgers University and St. Francis College respectively, both Division I schools.
Our Performing Arts Department also continues to shine with extraordinary performances and achievement. Carrying on a Boro tradition, senior Olivia Youngman was chosen – for the third time - to join a select group of New Jersey’s most elite high school musicians for the Algonquin Arts Theatre’s 2016 Rising Stars Concert. Miss Youngman also placed second at the All State Opera Festival and will perform with nine other Boro students at the 2017 All Shore Regional Chorus. Early next year, junior Nicole DeJacimo will perform on Carnegie Hall’s legendary stage following her acceptance to the Honors Women’s Choir.
District teachers are also receiving well-deserved recognition for their efforts. Earlier this year, elementary teachers Beth Kobesky and Maureen DePolo were named 2016 New Jersey Exemplary Elementary Educators while high school math teacher John McAllen added another prestigious award to his resume with his receipt of the Rutgers University School of Engineering Dean’s Award for Service. Additionally, 10 district educators earned certification through Google’s Certified Educator program bringing the total number of district teachers to have earned certification through the program to 16! And thanks to the efforts of members of our educational staff, district schools have cumulatively been awarded over $70,000 in grant funds since the start of the school year, which will be used to fund innovative projects and initiatives throughout the district.
But where this year has really stood out is through the charity and spirit of giving that has been demonstrated in our schools. The year began with a district-wide effort to support Southern Louisiana’s efforts to recover from the historic floods that swept the area this summer. Through a combination of donation receptacles placed at strategic locations and events, a staff ‘Jeans Day’ fundraiser, and donations from the district’s affiliated organizations, we raised $3,523.57 to support the Louisiana School Boards Association’s Fund for Restoring Schools!
For the ninth consecutive year, all four district schools worked to make the holidays brighter for area families in need by participating in the Annual Students Change Hunger Holiday Food Drive competition, collecting literally tons of food. Our schools also coordinated pajama, toy and gift, and coat drives for those in need. And Memorial Middle School celebrated their 21st year of participation in the St. Jude’s Math-a-Thon, raising an incredible $3,474.25 for the hospital, bringing their lifetime total contributions to an astonishing $123,254.42!
As you can see, here in the Point Pleasant Borough School District, it really is the most wonderful time of the year! Thank you for your continued support.
From the Point Pleasant Borough School District family to your family, I offer our best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and a safe, happy and healthy New Year!Sincerely,
Vincent S. Smith
Superintendent of Schools