SPOTSWOOD, NJ - The Schoenly School is where Spotswood and Helmetta students first enter the district. It's nickname is the "Little School with the Big Heart." The youngest school in the four school district houses students in grades pre-kindergarten through first. While the entire older student body of the Spotswood District celebrated Respect Week, Oct. 3-7, the littlest members did too.

Each day, the Schoenly students participated in activities developed by teachers Jessica Wisniewski and Jennifer DeZaio. Both women teach pre-kindergarten at the school. Since the students' ages span from three to seven, the activities are geared toward their age level. Every day during the week, the students learned words of wisdom and talked about concepts like sportsmanship, kindness and generosity. Students from different grade levels joined forces to work together and create murals, centering on the classroom themes. Even the weekly homework packets included activities focused on respect and kindness. While pre-schoolers talked about filling their buckets with kindness, kindergarteners decorated capital R's with pictures that show respect such as listening and caring.

Respect Week came to a conclusion on Friday, October 7 with a Walk-A-Thon. Each class was assigned a color by Wisniewski and DeZaio and a concept like forgiveness and helpfulness. Parents were invited to come and cheer the students on as they followed the path of colored footprints that adorned the sidewalk leading from the cafeteria door to the main entrance. Schoenly principal, Nancy Torchiano led the students in the annual Walk-A-Thon.

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Students were also asked to get sponsors to pledge dollar amounts for the Walk-A-Thon. All of the proceeds collected will be used for educational materials to supplement the school's on-going bullying prevention program.

The children were all smiles as they walked behind their teachers. Each class portrayed its respect concept via a sign. Some classes chanted while other simply grinned and waved before heading back inside to continue their day.

The Spotswood School District will mark Red Ribbon Week from October 24 through October 28. The national Red Ribbon Campaign was designed in 1985 to help students, parents and teachers partner to help children stay away from drugs through education. Schoenly students will be participating as well. However, their focus will be on activities designed to teach kids how to live a healthy lifestyle.

"We are so lucky to have such an enthusiastic and caring staff," Torchiano said of her teachers after the successful conclusion of Respect Week. "Now, we'll move onto healthy living," she added with a smile.

The students already got a head start on healthy living week with a nutritional snack donated by the Spotswood PTA. Each student received a banana for snack on October 6.