SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Many soon-to-be Appleby School second graders spent their Friday evening participating in the school's first-ever Amazing Race. The clue-based hunt was the brainchild of Schoenly School Principal Jennifer Asprocolas, Appleby School Principal Nancy Torchiano and Spotswood PTA President Melissa Hallerman. The event was designed to bring current Appleby students together with its newest members prior to the start of the new academic year in September.

"Nancy Torchiano, Jen Asprocolas and myself had spoke in the beginning of the year about something we would like to do together to help bridge over the first graders to Appleby, as well as a fun event for current Appleby students," said Hallerman. "Together we came up with The Amazing Appleby Race. It is based on "The Amazing Race" television program. Teams would work together to solve riddles and puzzle clues as they collected stamps in their passport books on a huge scavenger hunt all over the school."

The trio had around 100 students sign up for the Amazing Appleby Race, which was held on June 8.

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"Current students had a great time exploring familiar grounds, while the incoming second graders got a chance to become familiar with their new school," Hallerman continued. "Ms. Torchiano and Mrs. Asprocolas came up with the idea that the Appleby bee was missing and we couldn't end the school year until the students helped find the mischievous bee. The students had to go to all the locations and solve the bee's riddles along the way. Then they would receive the final clue to the bee, who was hiding at the Appleby marquee."

The students were divided into groups of three to five according to their grade level. Incoming second graders had a high school helper to guide the way while Appleby, Schoenly and PTA volunteers were stationed throughout the school to offer assistance to participants as they raced along to be the first group to find the missing bee.

Gavin Romeo, Sebastian Saracino and Hunter Krainski were the first group to solve all the clues and find the bee. The trio received a prize for their efforts and was the first group to enjoy pizza and cookies.

The high school volunteers were all current freshmen at Spotswood High School who have lent a hand at past Spotswood PTA events.

"They all jumped at the change to help act as guides, hallway monitors and decoy bees," Hallerman said of the teen volunteers.

"I can't thank the Schoenly and Appleby teachers and staff enough for their help with this," Hallerman added. "They are so supportive of the PTA and our students. We couldn't have done this without them."

Of course, a trip to Appleby wouldn't have been complete without a little time on the school's playground and basketball court. The fourth and fifth graders played a quick pickup game of b-ball while Appleby's soon-to-be newest class of second graders got another opportunity to spend some time on the playground before their parents coaxed them off. The first graders made a trip earlier in the week with their teachers to take a tour of the school and meet their new principal as well as members of the Appleby teaching staff.