SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Summer vacation can't be far behind as area elementary schools celebrate an annual rite of passage; field day. Thankfully, the rain had finally stopped for Appleby Elementary School's Field Day on Friday June 9. Their previous attempt had been rained out. The makeup date was comfortably warm and sunny as classes headed out onto the playground and adjacent ball field for a series of age-appropriate games, which were all coordinated by Appleby physical education teachers, Michael Reid and Jean Puff. Even longtime Appleby gym teacher, Mark Horvath stopped by to say hello much to the delight of the students. Horvath retired from the school in December of 2015 after 38 years of teaching.

Each class was assigned a color and Spotswood High School students coordinated the games. Fifth graders went head to head in beach volleyball in the school's multipurpose room, lined up for tug-of-war, baton relay races and connect the box while the younger kids played games with parachutes and did a scaled down version of similar activities. The highlight of the afternoon for the older students was a fourth versus fifth grade kickball competition. Of course, there was an ice pop break in the midst of all the outdoor excitement and plenty of water. Parents, grandparents and younger siblings came and went, spending some time watching their kids enjoy the games and the beautiful weather.

For Appleby fifth graders, the day took on a bittersweet element as they say goodbye to their elementary school. The students will be graduating on June 16 and moving on to the next chapter of their educational ladder, middle school. The June 9 Field Day also signaled the final one for longtime Appleby and Schoenly School physical education teacher, Puff.

Puff will be retiring from the Spotswood School District in June after teaching for 39 years.