NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Similar to other schools and businesses, The Academy of Our Lady of Peace School in New Providence has been busy adjusting to the new normal for the beginning of the 2020-2021 academic year.  While daily temperature checks and hybrid and virtual learning options are part of this new norm, the school community, led by Principal, Dr. Kelly Hart, continue to develop creative, socially distanced approaches to back to school and other related activities.  The fall months are typically filled with events such as Back to School night and the annual Walk-a-thon fundraiser---but how do you continue to foster community and fellowship in a socially distanced and safe environment?  

Ask any student about their favorite fall school activity and you are sure to hear all about the Walk-a-thon.  This annual event is a 45-minute FUNdraiser in which the school children walk laps around a marked area in the school parking lot.   Prior to the walk, the children obtain sponsors who pledge a donation for their efforts. This year the pledges are collected electronically though continue to allow the children to be eligible for prizes. In order to abide by social distancing guidelines, the children were spaced out by grade and the walk was conducted throughout the day at various times.  After the event the children were served individually wrapped beverages and snacks.  Despite the changes needed for this year’s event, the students and school community had a FUN time and the Academy met hits goal of raising over $10,000.

While some fall events such as the Back to School Night and the New Family Reception have simply converted to a virtual format, Dr.  Kelly Hart shares that “the Academy has a history and reputation for having a tight knit community. This year we are creatively working to continue to strengthen our school community to make sure that our students are provided every support as they adjust to the safety protocols in our ‘new normal’.”

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To this end, the Academy has planned new innovative events this year such as the Drive-In Movie night held in September and the upcoming Halloween Spooktacular drive-thru event.   The concept for this event is for families to drive through a maze of decorated tables, receive non-food handouts and view carved pumpkins.  Each class will be tasked to develop a Halloween “theme” and design a table for the event.  Prizes will be given for best theme and best carved pumpkin.  The goal is to have a fun “socially distanced” night for the children and to enable fellowship among parents and faculty who will help to build out their class’ vision!  Suzanne Fahy, President of the Home School Association, reports, “Despite Covid restrictions our family centered events have been filled with excitement and joy.  They are representative of the strong knit community that has always been a hallmark at the Academy.”

About The Academy of Our Lady of Peace

Founded in 1954, The Academy of Our Lady of Peace is a Catholic elementary school serving children in grades Pre-Kindergarten to 8th Grade. Students come from New Providence as well as surrounding communities and parishes of Berkeley Heights, Summit, Mountainside, Chatham and North Plainfield.  To learn more, please contact Mrs. Danielle Mollo at 908-464-8657 or secretary@theacademyolp.org.