SHORT HILLS, NJ - Hartshorn Elementary School and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have been neighbors on White Oak Ridge in Short Hills for a long time. On Saturday, Sept. 22, Gabe Pelaez along with members of Boy Scout Troop 33 and their parents worked together to build a path between these two community mainstays.

Pelaez, a sophomore at Millburn High School, wanted to create a path for Hartshorn Elementary families to use during pick up and drop off before and after school. Many parents utilize the church’s parking lot but students and parents needed to walk along a busy roadway without a sidewalk to access the parking lot, or through an overgrown path with poison ivy, low hanging branches, and broken glass. Now with the 100 foot stone-lined path that cuts through the woods, children can walk from the playground directly to the parking lot without accessing the street.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has always given permission to Hartshorn Elementary for use of their parking lot. Their parking lot is especially needed during large events like the Strawberry Festival where the school’s parking lot is taken over by the carnival. Bishop Brian Ellis, the leader of the Short Hills congregation, and President John Ure, the area-wide leader of the church, lent their muscles to the project by digging holes for the fence posts and clearing away the brush. “We are happy to help the community while seeing one of our youth get a step closer to getting his Eagle.”

Pelaez, a K-5 alum of Hartshorn Elementary, had asked Ken Frattini, principal, for his permission and support of the project several weeks before. Mr. Frattini and his staff were happy to see him again and were very supportive of the project. Pelaez said, “I’m grateful to all those that helped me complete the project and that I’m able to give back to my elementary school.”