MONTVILLE, NJ - Conrad Antal is a full-time virtual student at Valley View Elementary School in Montville Township, New Jersey. While talking over dinner about things he is thankful for, the 9-year-old mentioned to his dad that he is thankful for his teachers Ms. (Amy) Falk and Mr. (John) Larkin.

“I loved that he said that,” said Conrad’s mother, Christine Antal. “Conrad likes his teachers so much, because they are fun and positive. Teachers are such a special part of our kid's lives, and now, more than ever, it's so important to let them know how much we appreciate all of their hard-work and dedication.” 

Since COVID-19 arrived in the United States, Conrad has been a 100% virtual student. During the 2020-2021 academic year, he has not had the opportunity to meet his teachers in person.

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This past weekend, November 22, 2020, Conrad’s #Thankful message was placed on an electronic billboard on Route 46 in Montville Township, NJ. The billboard says: “#THANKFUL FOR MY AMAZING TEACHERS, MS. FALK AND MR. LARKIN / CONRAD ANTAL / AGE 9 / OUTFRONT/”

Conrad’s father, Jon Antal, is the General Manager of Outfront Media for the New Jersey market. At the time that Conrad had mentioned how thankful he was for his teachers, Outfront Media had recently notified employees that the company would be sponsoring a #Thankful campaign for Thanksgiving. The fun, free, campaign would provide an opportunity for children of employees and client’s to share #Thankful messages.

“We feel touched and honored that The Antal Family went above and beyond to create such a special and unique surprise for us!” said Amy Falk about how she and fellow teacher John Larkin feel about the billboard surprise. “During this unique experience of hybrid learning, there are some students we have never physically met in person. Conrad is one of those students. Although we have not met physically in-person, it is rewarding to know that we are still able to make that special connection every teacher wants with their students.” 

Outfront Media artists designed the #Thankful billboards, which all use the same format. The messages on each billboard across the area are different depending on what messages different children submitted.

Jon asked Outfront Media if Conrad’s #Thankful message could be put on the particular digital board located in Pine Brook, NJ, across from Home Depot at 79 Route 46E, and Outfront Media obliged.  Pine Brook is one of three areas that comprise Montville Township. The other two areas are Montville and Towaco. From the three areas more than 3,400 pre-kindergarten to grade twelve students attend Montville Township Public Schools’ seven schools. Valley View is one of five district elementary schools.

“This gesture is something that will touch their lives forever,” Valley View Principal Dr. Patricia Kennedy said of the positive impact the billboard has had on Falk and Larkin. “We hope that Conrad will continue to sprinkle kindness wherever he goes. He certainly is off to a good start!”

Conrad’s #Thankful billboard will remain on the electronic sign through Thanksgiving.