PATERSON, NJ- When Rosalie Bespalko, principal, Paterson School 19, saw that Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park was littered with trash and other debris during the recent Halloween walk she decided something had to be done, and she knew just who to enlist to do it.
On Wednesday, she and 22 of her fourth grade science students took time from their day to do a clean up. The park and the school are part of the same neighborhood, and, with Veterans Day on Saturday, Bespalko thought it would be a perfect way to honor the 33 Paterson residents that lost their lives in the Vietnam War, and are honored at the park.
This wasn’t a once off effort according to Bespalko, who hopes to bring other classes out to the park regularly in an effort to keep the park clean throughout the year. “Too often Paterson gets noticed for negative things,” Bespalko said.
“These kids are doing great things and they care about their city,” she said when asked why she thought it was important to engage her students in this activity.
The participating students, rewarded with a pizza party after the clean up, had a good time and did a great job, according to Anthony Vancheri, president of the Paterson Veterans Council.
Vancheri, who also attended Wednesday's event, offered a sincere “thank you” to the students saying that he was “grateful for their efforts to remember veterans, and make the park beautiful.”