Pupils’ projects raise funds for new school playground

Staff Writer

ABERDEEN — In a season filled with joy and the spirit of helping others, second grade students learned what it means to give back.

Those students did learn that through fundraising efforts, it proves that no matter how big or small you are, anyone can make a difference in their community.

At the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District’s Dec. 14 Board of Education meeting, Lisa Bauer, a second grade enrichment teacher at Strathmore, Cliffwood and Ravine Drive Elementary Schools, discussed a service project her students have worked on over the past several weeks, aimed at aiding efforts towards the construction of a new playground at Cambridge Park Preschool.

“When our year began, I knew I wanted to begin a student-led service project,” Bauer said. “I had no idea how successful it would be and how much the students or I would learn along the way.”

According to Bauer, her students showed a commitment to the service project that surprised her and made her proud.

“My students surprised me in many ways,” Bauer said. “They did all the research, learning about what was going on in our community, what the needs were, and were so empathetic toward the needs of others, cooperated well with each other and just took the initiative and the project even further than we had originally planned.”

After considering many fundraising options, Bauer said her Ravine Drive secondgraders decided to make paper hearts to sell to staff, family, students and community members alike.

“They sold the hearts for $1 each, and those who bought them got to write their names on the hearts, which were then displayed in a ‘Rainbow of Helpers’ bulletin board at the school,” she said.

Approximately $324 was raised through the sales of the hearts and was donated toward the Cambridge Park Preschool Playground.

“My students at Strathmore decided to sell hand prints for $1 each and created a bulletin board as well of all the prints with the names of everyone who donated,” Bauer said.

Through the sales of the prints, approximately $376 was raised and put toward the Cambridge Park Preschool Playground project.

For their project, Bauer’s Cliffwood Elementary School second grade enrichment students made more than 200 blank books that students and staff could purchase and write in.

“It was hard work, but they didn’t give up,” Bauer said.

Selling the blank books also for $1 each, the students were able to raise $300 toward the Cambridge Park Preschool Playground.

“All of my students went above and beyond to help Cambridge Park Preschool build a new playground for students of all abilities,” Bauer said.

Bauer’s second grade enrichment students at Cliffwood, Strathmore and Ravine Drive Elementary Schools raised a total of $1,000 for the new playground, and a check was donated to the Cambridge Park PTO at the Dec. 14 Board of Education meeting.

“Although my students learned many academic lessons during this unit, they really went through a whole process of putting together a service project —brainstorming ideas, getting the ideas approved, advertising, selling, collecting the money … just organizing the whole thing, and I think the lessons they learned are the ones that will take them very far in life,” Bauer said.

Cambridge Park PTO member Megan Taraszkiewicz said she is amazed at how inspired the students were to get involved and raise money for the new playground.

“I can’t believe they were able to raise $1,000 in such a short amount of time,” she said. “They really rallied behind us and did such an amazing job and I think they showed that every little bit can help make a difference.”

Bauer said while the new Cambridge Park Preschool Playground will be a great addition to the district and community, the inspiration to build the structure involves a sad tale.

“This is a wonderful cause that I was able to get my students involved in [but] it actually came about because of a very sad story,” she said. “There was a little boy named Owen [Taraszkiewicz], who went to the preschool, who passed away due to complications of a virus in 2013, so they wanted to build this playground in his honor so that students of all abilities can play.”

Taraszkiewicz said that her son Owen loved playing on playgrounds and in lieu of flowers, asked for donations to help build a new memorial playground in the district in his honor that children of all abilities could go and enjoy.

“The playground right now just doesn’t meet the needs of all the students and children,” she said. “Our biggest goal is to provide the school and the community with a playground that is handicapped-accessible so that children of all abilities can come and enjoy … and I am so glad we will finally be able to give this to them.”

Taraszkiewicz said the nonprofit Where Angels Play Foundation — established to create safe, fun places for children to be children — has offered to work with the PTO and community to build the new playground for a late spring or early summer groundbreaking.

“They are an incredible organization, and we look forward to having them come in and help us build the playground,” she said.

Among other playgrounds, the nonprofit has built 26 in areas damaged by superstorm Sandy in honor of the 26 students and teachers who were killed in Sandy Hook Elementary School Dec. 14, 2012, and Taraszkiewicz said she is looking forward to students having the new playground to enjoy.

“The Where Angels Play Foundation said they can have the playground built in about two days, which is great, and we are hoping to have it ready for the preschool’s Fun Day, which takes place every June,” she said.

“Through our very successful Cambridge Park 5K Race/Walk and other fundraisers, we’re donating about $40,000 to the foundation, and hopefully they can pay it forward and use this money on the next playground they build.”

Saint John Vianney students give back for the holidays

HOLMDEL — Saint John Vianney High School (SJVHS) students continue to give back to the surrounding community during this holiday season.

Members of the SJVHS National Honors Society (NHS) participated in a pajama drive in conjunction with Jersey Shore Medical Center. Members of the NHS also collected coloring books and crayons that were wrapped and delivered to the children in the Jersey Shore Medical Center Pediatric Unit.

The Saint John Vianney High School Book Club volunteered at Lunch Break in Red Bank on Dec. 14, helping with sorting food items, stocking shelves, taking clients “shopping” and sorting toys.

The SJVHS Lancer football team visited the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home in Edison on Dec. 16. The SJVHS Catholic Athletes for Christ (CAC) participated in Exercise Club with the veterans, and they also delivered holiday gift bags to each of the residents. The SJVHS Field Hockey team packed up more than 300 gift bags at SJVHS the week prior to the football team’s visit to the veterans’ home. The trip was supervised by retired US Army Colonel Samuel Fuoco, SJVHS Assistant Athletic Director Pat Smith, and SJVHS football coaches Derek Sininsky and Eddie Hernandez.

The SJVHS Ice Hockey Team volunteered with the RAINE (Reaching All In Need Everyday) Foundation on Dec. 10 at Holy Family School. The ice hockey team donated gifts and helped wrap Christmas presents for families in need in the area.

Evelyn Marie Wenzel

Evelyn Marie Wenzel, 88, passed away peacefully on Dec. 4 at the Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care Center, Naperville, Illinois.

Evelyn was born on June 3, 1927, a daughter to the late Michael and Maria (Zachary) Maklary and a sister to the late Louis Maklary from South River.

She graduated from South River High School in 1945. She fell in love and married Albert William Wenzel on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, 1948. They lived in Milltown and had three children: Corey William, Kurt Allyn and Kristine Maryann. In 1974, they moved to Naperville, Illinois.

Evelyn’s beloved husband, Albert, died suddenly while on vacation in August 1975. Evelyn persevered to live a happy, long life, though she never remarried. She had an adventurous spirit and made it to places like California, Texas, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Italy, France and Ireland.

Evelyn was a devoted Catholic, praying for others more than praying for herself. She attended Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Milltown, and St. Raphael’s Church, Naperville, Illinois, among other places of worship. She was a kind, generous person, often helping others. She had an endearing laugh and great smile that would always make you feel good.

Evelyn leaves her loving memories to be cherished by her three grown children, 10 grandchildren and one great-grand child on the way in April 2016. She loved them all.

Per Evelyn’s wishes, no viewing or services will be held. She will be cremated per her instructions and be buried in a plot at Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery, Naperville, Illinois, next to her beloved husband, Albert, who has waited 40 years for her arrival. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Catholic Charities. Cards may be sent to Kurt Wenzel, 4246 Central Park Lane, Aurora, Illinois, 60504.

Singer Brian Fallon responds to requests and speaks at CBA

Christmas came early for the creative writing students at Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft when Brian Fallon, lead singer of The Gaslight Anthem, held a special guest lecture.

The Red Bank-born songwriter, on the cusp of beginning a national tour, took some time to speak with students after a truly impressive request on social media.

It all started with a few students, their English teacher Andrew Cusick, and an idea of who would make for a great guest speaker on pursuing creativity. After deciding on Fallon, the students took to Twitter and Facebook, using the hashtag #FallonToCBA and inspiring fellow students, alumni, and even several media outlets to draw a spotlight to the cause. Several days and several hundred Twitter interactions later, Fallon (@thebrianfallon on Twitter) made his acceptance known, tweeting: “Dear @CBALincroft — get ready!!!!!!!!!!!!! The people have spoken!”

A few days later, the dream became a reality, with Fallon speaking to more than 100 students.

“The things he brushed on about our future and how to live a meaningful life seemed to prepare me for the next four years and forever for that matter,” said Blaise Ferro, one of the many seniors destined for college next year.

Fallon expounded on the importance of focusing on your passion, his musical career, and what it means to be true to your own values before opening a Q&A session. Speaking in the academy’s Henderson Theater, Fallon held forth with great candor and humor, and CBA’s students took full advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Fallon put the focus on persistence, and how critical it truly is. “If you can do one thing a day that goes toward your purpose,” said Fallon, that would be the true determining factor.

“These kids are awesome. They asked nicely, and the only thing cooler was how nicely Brian responded,” said Cusick. “The speech was great. The kids were great. Overall, I hope the experience was as unforgettable for these boys as it was for me.”

Fallon begins his national tour Jan. 6 to promote his first solo album, Painkillers, due for release on March 11.

Fallon was presented with a commemorative CBA shirt, and given an open invitation for future appearances. As for the students, a taste of the VIP treatment and the chance to speak with a firsthand rock-and-roller from Jersey won’t soon be forgotten.

Students flourish in the numerous activities offered by Matawan-Aberdeen

Staff Writer

ABERDEEN – As students get ready to enjoy the holiday break, Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District officials reflected on the year so far.

The officials highlighted some of the new and returning programming and extracurricular activities that many have signed up to enjoy.

“We have a tremendous number of opportunities for all of our students during the year,” said Joseph Jerabek, principal of Lloyd Road Elementary School.

The discussion, which took place at the Board of Education’s Dec. 14 meeting, comes several months after school officials reviewed the district’s Gifted & Talented/ Enrichment program, opting to move towards a model that provides even more enrichment opportunities for all students.

“We had a district committee that got together and they reviewed our entire Enrichment and Gifted and Talented program district wide, and what came about through that, was the decision to go to a Tier 3 model,” Jerabek said.

The Tier 1 model services the top five percent of district students in grades three through five through one self-contained class per grade level district-wide.

The Tier 2 model lends itself to be more of a pullout program where high achieving students in grades two through five are placed in math and/or language arts cluster groups where teachers provide them with enrichment opportunities inside and outside the curriculum that extend learning and build critical thinking skills.

The Tier 3 model encourages enrichment opportunities for all students by providing time to come together with peers to engage in real-life learning experiences such as before/ after school clubs and school-wide programs and assemblies.

“It is one thing to see and plan it out during the summer, but to see it live and in a concrete way, how it materializes and how it takes off, is fantastic,” Jerabek said.

“Lloyd Road is about offering as many opportunities to our students as possible.”

According to Jerabek, the Tier 2 Language Arts Enrichment program, while offered previously, has taken on a new form this year.

“Students in grades four and grades five [are pulled-out] two times a week for enrichment activities and some of the things they are working on involve creative thinking, integrated technology,” Jerabek said. “The unit [they are] working on … is specifically focused on Greek mythology and trying to identify heroes within Greek mythology and as they research those through reading different myths, they then … start to compare and contrast them and then start to move onto looking at current day heroes and starting to compare and contrast them to heroes from Greek mythology.”

Students partaking in the Tier 2 math program meet once a week and have a variety of different activities throughout the year that they are exposed to and get to participate in.

“Last year we had some students who participated in a stock market game where they worked together to create and manage a virtual investment portfolio of real world stocks,” Jerabek said.

“There is also our Continental Math League which is a national competition that students get to participate in where they take an assessment of non-routine questions which help to develop creative problem solving skills.”

Every Day Math Enrichment activities Jerabek said are tied directly to the districts Every Day Math Program and curriculum.

“We also have different math projects that the students participate in such as our Scholastic Math Magazine … and our Wells Fargo Hands-on banking program, which is something new that came about last year to tie into financial literacy and to give the students another tie to real world and to just focus on good money management skills,” Jerabek said.

According to Jerabek, with moving towards a Tier 3 model, the school and district want more opportunities to be available to all students that would like to participate.

“We are fortunate enough to build into the schedule a math and reading club during recess and lunch. Both are themed based cause there is a whole lot of value to having students simply play a game and get skills through those games as well as the social interactions they have and that they develop as well,” he said.

Students from all grade levels were also able to participate in a Doodle 4 Google program where they had a chance to create their own Google doodle for the chance to have it featured on the Google homepage and the opportunity to win various prizes – such as a $30,000 college scholarship.

“I have to admit, I had no idea what it was, so this was something that I learned as well,” Jerabek told board members. “It is an artistic version of the Google logo … so students were given the opportunity to participate and we had to cap the number of participants at lunch and recess at a certain point, but we still sent it home for all students to participate … and to see that come together was amazing.”

Also new this year, 30 students will be attending the New Jersey State Bar Foundation Law Fair where they will get to act as jurors in mock trial cases with real life judges and attorneys.

“I think it is going to be great to see the students reactions after that,” Jerabek said.

From an after school homework program, 60-plus students signed up to take part in, to 70 students and more than half the school signing up to be part of chorus and band, respectively, Jerabek said there is something for every students at Lloyd Road Elementary School to enjoy.

“Typically you see this more in middle schools and going into high school all of the extracurricular activities, but we believe we are rather fortunate to be able to offer all of this to our students here,” he said.

Carl O.E. Bosenberg

Carl O.E. Bosenberg, 96, died Dec. 6 at the Francis E. Parker Memorial Home, Piscataway.

Born Sept. 29, 1919, in Jugenheim, Germany, he came to the United States with his parents, Henry F. and Martha Bosenberg, settling in North Brunswick in 1924.

He began working as a young boy with his father in the family business, Henry F. Bosenberg and Son Inc. in North Brunswick. In 1931, they developed the first ever-blooming climbing rose, the New Dawn, for which they were awarded United States plant patent number one.

Carl was a 1938 graduate of New Brunswick High School and a 1942 graduate of Rutgers University’s College of Agriculture. While at Rutgers, he wrestled, played on the 150-pound football team and was in the ROTC.

After graduation, he went to the Coast Guard Academy, New London, Connecticut. He served in the South Pacific during World War II aboard LST 24. He returned stateside in 1944 and served as the commanding officer of the station in Pascagoula, Mississippi. While there, he met Mildred N. Bundy, and they were married in 1945.

He remained in the Coast Guard for many years, retiring with the rank of Commander. After the war, Carl and Mildred returned to North Brunswick where they raised their family and lived for the remainder of their lives. Upon his return to North Brunswick, he continued to work with this father, taking over the business in 1962. They did residential landscaping and tree work, as well as commercial work for Rutgers University, Johnson & Johnson, and several area municipalities for many years.

During the 1950s, he served on the North Brunswick Board of Education.

His wife, Mildred, died in 2002.

Surviving are a son, Robert Bosenberg, and his wife, Kim, of Lacombe, Louisiana; a daughter, Martha Decker, and her husband, Dennis, of North Brunswick; four grandchildren, Matthew Decker, Scott Decker, Kate Louise (Decker) Corriero and Brett Bosenberg; and three great-grandchildren, Luke Decker, Lucy Decker and Finn Corriero.

A memorial service was held at Kirkpatrick Chapel, New Brunswick, and burial took place at Van Liew Cemetery, New Brunswick.

Funeral arrangements were made by Quackenboss Funeral Home, 156 Livingston, Ave., New Brunswick.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance, 1005 N. Glebe Road, Suite 220, Arlington, Virginia, 22201, (online at www.cgmahq.org), or to Fisher House Foundation, which provides homes for military personnel and veterans while they receive medical care, at P.O. Box 97229, Washington, DC, 20077- 7804, (online at www.fisherhouse.org.)

Thank you for support of open space program

A few months ago I authored a Letter to the Editor dealing with an effort to have Stone Road Meadows in Hazlet be designated as and purchased under the Open Space Program, and then developed into a county park. I asked for the support of the Hazlet Township Council in passing a resolution in support of the effort, which had been championed by the Hazlet Area Quality of Life Alliance (HAQLA) for many years.

The Hazlet Area Quality of Life Alliance, as do I, wishes to say thank you not only to the Hazlet Township Council but also to the Board of Freeholders who, after receiving notification of the council’s support, passed its own resolution of support and has been working with the County Parks Commission in moving forward with the project. The Hazlet Area Quality of Life Alliance also wishes to thank the municipal governments of Keyport, Union Beach, and Keansburg, as well as the Hazlet Open Space and Hazlet Environmental organizations, for their public support. This is just the beginning of a long, maybe up to 10-year, process in bringing this project to a reality, but it is now finally out of the starting blocks.

The Hazlet Area Quality of Life Alliance will continue to work closely with and fully support county and township efforts as this project moves forward.

Captain Charles E. Hoffman Jr.
USN (Ret)

Do not let terrorists taint truth behind Islam

As a Muslim U.S. citizen I want to echo the sentiment of the Muslim community that is now a target of Donald Trumps’s slander following the terrorist act in San Bernardino that is a misrepresentation of Islamic faith.

Islam promotes peaceful, tolerant and harmonious co-existence of people of all faiths. The Quran states that slaying of one innocent human being amounts to slaying of all humankind.

“Jihad” does not mean holy war. It is misunderstood, misconstrued and misapplied. Its literary meaning is “to strive” and “to exert effort” for self-purification and striving for goodness in our relationship with others.

The media’s focus on prayer beads, prayer plaques and the Quran is misleading. These articles do not contribute to the image of radical and terroristic behavior but are objects that signify a faith just as much as pictures of Christ or Mother Mary would in Christian homes.

Trump’s proposition to ban all Muslims from entering the country is ridiculous and in itself, Radical. It incites, ignites, promotes and provokes fear and hatred in the hearts and minds of the civilians against their Muslim neighbors, coworkers and friends. This capitalizing approach is only adding fuel to fire rather than provide reassurance to Muslims and non-Muslims of the country alike.

So, fellow Muslims, let’s become more vocal in our support for safety, security, solidarity and peace and come together to show real Muslim, law-abiding behavior, for there is no radical Islam. There are radicals in Islam, just like in any other faith.

Nausheen Ahmed
North Brunswick

Bear hunt approved though many are opposed

Do others feel like the government officials of New Jersey do whatever they please despite the will of the people? For example, you would “think” that when the government asks for public comment about an expanded bear hunt and only 390 are in favor of it, while 6,635 are opposed, that we might not have a bear hunt? Well, you would be wrong because New Jersey officials do whatever they want. New Jersey Department of Environment Protection Commissioner, Robert Martin, just approved the expanded hunt.

I just wrote to Governor Christie to complain, but I have zero hope that he will do anything. Recall he vetoed the ban on pig gestation crates — those torture chambers where mother pigs spend their lives not even able to turn around. Ninety percent (yes, 90 percent) of residents wanted them banned, but nope, Governor Christie vetoed the bill that had easily passed both houses of Congress.

It is obvious that our opinions mean little to state officials.

Dawn Zelinski