PROSPECT PARK, NJ - A Prospect Park teacher, the late Judith Collins, was honored by the Prospect Park Teachers Association and the Borough of Prospect Park with a dogwood tree planted in her honor in Hofstra Park.

"Prospect Park came together as one community to remember Judith Collins, a beloved teacher who left us too soon," Mayor Mohamed Khairullah said through social media.  "We planted a tree in her memory in Hofstra Park so we can memorialize her and remember her beautiful soul every time the tree blossoms."

"She was a health teacher for Prospect Park school district who had retired before she passed away," said Intashan Chowdhury, Borough Administrator.  "She loved dogwood trees.  She was a longtime educator and a lot of people in the community knew her.  She was the wife of our former fire official, Scott Hoek, who is very active in the community.  If you grew up in the town, you knew who she was; she was well liked by everyone.  She had that kind of impact as a teacher and community member."

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Chowdhury said the ceremony was moving.  "The President of the Association, Ms. Major, said it fittingly: it’s only right for the many kids she taught that her memory stays on in the park where many students come to play."

Following the tree dedication, where officials, including Mayor Khairullah, shoveled soil to help plant it, the annual sporting match between the Teachers Association and Municipal officials and staff began.  The contest was kickball. 

"We do this every year with the Teachers Association," Chowdhury said.  "They want to interact with the community and officials and staff, so we had a kickball game."

It seemed that the teachers were the superior athletes.  "The school district won in both games.  Six to nothing with an epic comeback.  The second game was a tie and they broke away.  Yes, it was very competitive, but it was very nice.  For the municipal side, we had public staff, fire and police involved.  It was a great time.  Even Spongebob made an appearance."

Mayor Khairullah had described the game as "an amazing show of a sense of community between Prospect Park Teachers’ Union and the Municipal staff and elected officials."

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