SPOTSWOOD, NJ - It was a bittersweet Field Day for the staff, students and parents at the Schoenly School on Friday, June 2. The sun was shining. Kids were smiling and having a blast. However, it would be the final Field Day at the pre-kindergarten through first grade school for veteran physical education teacher, Jean Puff. Puff will be retiring from the Spotswood School District after 39 years.
"This is the best weather I've ever had for Field Day," Schoenly Principal Nancy Torchiano said. "This is just perfect, but it's kind of bittersweet because it's Mrs. Puff's last field day. Thirty-nine Field Days she's done."
Shadowing Puff for her final field day at Schoenly was Jill Hetzler. Hetzler is currently a physical education teacher at Spotswood High School. However, the girls varsity basketball coach will be taking over the reins for Puff in September.
A lot of prep work goes into Field Day with most of it being done behind the scenes by Puff before the big day. Games are set up all along the side and back of the Kane Street school with a few taking place in the front. Teachers run each game. The kindergarteners are paired with a first grader and the children can go from game to game while the pre-kindergarten classes stay together as a group.
"Field Day is all hands on deck," Torchiano said with a smile.
Everyone from the office staff to parent volunteers were out of the lawns helping kids or taking youngsters inside for a bathroom trip. Parents were invited to stop by to watch while the students were outside. However, there were more than a few tears when it was time for the kids to go in and moms and dads to go home.
Puff too was all smiles as she showed Hetzler the ropes and watched the students run about from game to game.
"Sad, but happy," Puff said when asked how she felt about her final Field Day at Schoenly. "I'll miss the kids, but it's time to go on to a new phase in my life."
Travel is definitely on Puff's agenda once her retirement is official though any long range plans will have to wait until her husband retires in a year.
"I'll have a year to myself," Puff said with a grin.
The couple also has a boat and is looking forward to traveling abroad as well as enjoying time on the water.
Before heading back to their classrooms, the children savored an ice pop, courtesy of the Spotswoood PTA.