BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Each of the elementary schools in Berkeley Heights participated in "Salute Your Safety Valentine" by walking to school as part of the monthly walk to school "Safe Routes to School" event and showing their love and appreciation to their crossing guards by handing them Valentine's Day cards and gifts yesterday.
These crossing guards are outside in rain, shine, freezing cold or stifling heat to protect the safety of children and pedestrians. Many crossing guards have proudly protected their post for decades: Carol Stallone since 1995, Clem Manganelli since 2003, Francis Reddy since 2009, Arlene Lowe since 2010 and Edward Cronin since 2011, to name a few.
Mrs. Lowe, a Crossing Guard at Woodruff School posted her appreciation on social media, "Thank You to all the 'sweet' children and their thoughtful parents who walked to Woodruff School this morning and surprised me with a Valentine card or treat! BH has the nicest families. Thank you again." ~ Mrs. Lowe, Crossing Guard.
"The mild weather on Valentine's Day made for a great opportunity for many Mountain Park School students to take advantage of Walk to School Wednesday and Bus Driver/Crossing Guard appreciation," said Jon Morisseau, Principal of Mountain Park School.
As part of the Safe Routes to School program, the district is eligible for Silver Elite Status and is working towards earning grant dollars to further improve various routes to school. This qualification is a multi-year process of holding events that include regular walk to school or bike events and a bike rodeo. There is a committee in place to work on how to make these routes safer.
The Safe Routes To School (SRTS) program is a program under the Federal Highway Administration that aims to improve the health of children of all abilities by encouraging them to walk and bike to school. In New Jersey, the State Department of Transportation works with local communities to fulfill the goal of encouraging walking and riding to school a safe and fun alternative to being driven each day. It inspires children to be more physically active and reduces fuel consumption, air pollution and the amount of traffic around schools. While it is a federal program, the work is done by local volunteers. They are helped by school officials, teachers, members of the police and DPW departments.