SPOTSWOOD, NJ - From favorite Dr. Seuss characters to much-beloved animals, the Spotswood School District's youngest school celebrated the joys of reading with week long school-wide themes and activities in honor of Read Across America Week. The National Education Association christened Read Across America Day on March 2, 1988. March 2 is Dr. Seuss' birthday. Their goal was to throw the biggest party to honor the joys of reading and center it around one of the most recognizable children's book authors of all time. Seuss published more than 60 books throughout his career. Many schools like the district's Schoenly School have turned the one-day reading bonanza into a five-day reading extravaganza.
This year's Read Across America Week at Schoenly had a slightly different twist, combining new themes with a special activity each day.
"We did want to switch it up a little bit because there have been a lot of themes that we've recycled over the years," Schoenly School Principal Jennifer Asprocolas explained. "What we really wanted to do was try some new things."
The preschool through first grade school started off the week dressing as their favorite Dr. Seuss character. Asprocolas noted there were a lot of Cat in the Hats and Thing One and Thing Twos on Monday roaming the halls. Since Seuss' books have spanned decades since 1937 when his first book, "And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street" was published, Tuesday was Decades Day. There were groovy getups inspired by the 60s and 50s poodle skirts and leather jackets. Of course, there were leg warmers and big hair to represent the 80s. Everyone went a little wacky on Wednesday in honor of the Seuss' classic "Wacky Wednesday" while Thursday was dress as what you want to be when you grow up. Friday capped off the week by dressing as a favorite animal for Seuss' "If I Ran The Zoo."
Each day Asprocolas arranged for a noteworthy activity to go along with the special theme. Schoenly students were treated to an array of different readers who came from all different age brackets and walks of life, representing the Spotswood community and beyond.
"Wednesday we had our eighth graders come over and read," Asprocolas said. "We are really promoting the cross-age mentoring program we have here. Our young guys look forward to those days. What's nice to see is the impact it has on our eighth graders too."
In addition to the Memorial Middle School eighth graders, Asprocolas also arranged through Spotswood's Office on Aging to come and have seniors visit to read to the students and talk about what life and play was like when they were kids. Both the visiting senior pals and students were happy to learn that dolls have spanned the decades just like Dr. Seuss books. Members of Spotswood High School's National Honor Society came by on Friday to read to the students.
Thursday was perhaps the busiest day with parents and relatives stopping by for Schoenly's annual Career Day. Career Day goes along with Seuss' popular "On The Places You'll Go." Asprocolas organized an array of Career Day speakers that included Dan Osofsky, Lizette Rivera, Gabriel Guzman, Diane Stinson, Adam Heinrich, Selina Pewitt, Melissa Hallerman, Stuart Handy, Jessica Pultro, Heather DeLollis, Sabrina Tirpak, Vita Marino, Kathy Bonczek, Rachel Mahan, Kevin Gilbride, Lauren Hyres, Mary Leaver, John Lavelle, Rob Galluzzo, Tim Asprocolas, Marti Hanna, Tommy Liming, Courtney Williams, Robert Michalowski and Danielle Skekailo.
Schoenly students got to hear about a wide range of professions including graphic design, healthcare, business, archeology, horticulture, engineering, social work and teaching. There were also fire fighters, police officers, corrections officers and a member of the military on hand. A K-9 unit from Tinton Falls also stopped by to the delight of students.
Career Day is one of Asprocolas' favorite days, and she received a high compliment from many of her students on Thursday. Quite a few Schoenly students dressed as a school principal for Career Day.
"I was personally honored yesterday," Asprocolas said proudly. "I had a lot of young principals. That was a true honor for me. I was really touched by that."
"We had a wide diversity of careers this year, which was really exciting," Asprocolas continued. "The most rewarding thing is to watch the child's face and to watch their mom, dad, aunt or uncle because there is a level of pride."
"For me, that's thrilling. It's probably one of my favorite events that I do all year round. I love it," Asprocolas added.