Union County News

Ice Cream Ban Has Clark Students Asking BOE to Save Year-End Social

Frank K. Hehnly Elementary School fifth-grader Sophia Downing asked the board of education to keep the class's year-end ice cream social. Credits: Kristen Busch
Hehnly student Reese Passuth pointed out inconsistency in policy implementation. Credits: Kristen Busch
Classmates came out to support Passuth and Downing as they spoke to the Clark Board of Education. Credits: Kristen Busch
Hehnly 5th graders Reese Passuth and Sophia Downing asked the board to keep their 5th grade ice cream social. Credits: Kristen Busch
Hehnly 5th graders Reese Passuth and Sophia Downing asked the board to keep their 5th grade ice cream social. Credits: Kristen Busch

CLARK, NJ – Students at the Frank K. Hehnly Elementary School say nutritional guidelines are putting the kibosh on ice cream at the school's fifth-grade end-of-year social, so a group approached the Board of Education on Monday night to request the ruling be reconsidered.

“We were told that we could not have the ice cream social because it is unhealthy,” Hehnly student Sophia Downing told the board.  “If having the ice cream is unhealthy, why are we allowed to buy it at the cafeteria at lunch time?”

It’s tradition for the fifth-grade students at Hehnly to celebrate their move to middle school with an ice cream social hosted by the school’s PTA, fifth-grade parent Jennifer Passuth explained. Fifth graders receive their yearbooks at the social and have time to sign the books with their classmates. 

Sign Up for E-News

Passuth said the children were told that the ice cream social would not happen this year due to changes in the nutritional polices of the Clark school district. Instead, the children would receive their yearbooks at a school-wide year-end gathering, sans ice cream.

After listening to their daughters and friends talk about missing out on the traditional ice cream social, Passuth, Janet Downing (Sophia’s mother) and other parents talked to the children about going to the next board of education meeting to state their case. And so the group followed their mothers’ advice and did just that.

Sophia Downing told the board that the fifth graders of Valley Road Elementary School are still having their traditional luncheon. 

“I believe that their lunch last year was McDonalds,” Sophia Downing said. “Is that healthier than ice cream? I am glad that fifth graders at Valley are still getting their special day as they should. I just feel that it is only fair that the fifth graders at Hehnly School should also get their special day; the traditional ice cream social.”

Board of Education president Jill Curran thanked Downing for taking the time to come to the meeting and discuss her class’s concerns. 

“That was very well said,” Curran said. “And you are very brave to get up and say those things because a lot of adults are afraid to get up to that podium.  We as a board will talk about it and look into it…and then we can get back to you and let you know what we decide.”

Fifth grader Reese Passuth took a turn at the microphone to point out inconsistencies she sees in the nutritional policy’s implementation.

“Along with Sophia, I question the selections at lunch. There is ice cream, fruit rollups, pop tarts and many other unhealthy foods being offered,” Reese Passuth said. “If we are allowed to buy ice cream at lunch then why aren’t we allowed to have an ice cream social? The fifth grade ice cream social has been a tradition in the Hehnly School since I’ve been there. Myself and my classmates have been looking forward to it.”

Superintendent of Schools Edward Grande thanked all of the students who came, both those who spoke and those who came to support their classmates. He congratulated the children on their willingness to bring their concerns to the board.

“You are learning at an early age that an important part of our political process is having a voice and supporting what you believe in,” Grande said. “So please know that myself and the board will take what you said here tonight under consideration.  Again, we are very impressed by the nice job you did this evening.”


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Tue, March 20, 4:00 PM

Hannah Atkins Community Center, Plainfield

Homework Helper



Wed, March 21, 2:00 PM

South Plainfield

Holy Savior Academy's 4th Annual Spring Splendor ...


Wed, March 21, 4:00 PM

Hannah Atkins Community Center, Plainfield

Homework Helper


Pre-Ticket Sale for Holy Savior Academy’s 4th Annual Spring Splendor Tricky Tray

Holy Savior Academy is hosting its Spring Splendor Tricky Tray Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the school.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets are limited and will be sold at Holy Savior Academy, 149 South Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (cash or checks)

BYOB and food- Admission $ 25 per ...

St. John’s Baptist Church in Scotch Plains Welcomes A New Pastor

March 20, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Reverend Shawn T. Wallace, Sr. has been appointed to St. John’s Baptist Church (2387 Morse Avenue, Scotch Plains), as the new senior pastor.  

Reverend Wallace comes from Peoples Missionary Baptist Church of Newark, where he served as pastor for 13 years. He began his ministry at the age of 19, when he responded to the voice of God and submitted his ...


March 17, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 16, 2018 – Despite her rhetoric, U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12, failed Wednesday to deliver on her promise to make schools safer for our children.

The two-term congressperson was one of only 10 representatives that voted “nay” Wednesday afternoon on the STOP School Violence Act of 2018.

The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a ...

Former Rumson High School Student, 19, Arrested Possessing MSR-15 Patrol Rifle, Silencer, Explosive Chemicals

March 19, 2018

MONMOUTH, N.J. -  A former Rumson high school student was arrested in Ithaca New York. Maximilien R. Reynolds, 19, was charged with Possession of an Unregistered Destructive Device/Silencer, False Statement in Acquisition of a Firearm and False Statement in Required Firearm Record. Specifically, he is alleged to have possessed an MSR-15 Patrol Rifle, 300 rounds ...

La tienda de comestibles Canela de Plainfield acogerá el evento de la tienda Healthy Corner

March 19, 2018

PLAINFIELD, NJ - EZ Ride y la ciudad de Plainfield se han asociado una vez más con Canela Grocery and Deli para organizar un evento gratuito para los residentes que ofrece muestras gratis de bocadillos saludables, cupones, una rifa saludable de canastas e información nutricional. Atlantic Health también estará en el evento con una unidad móvil para proporcionar ...

Celebrando el Mes de la Historia de la Mujer

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Estimados Plainfield,

Yo fui criado por dos mujeres poderosas e generosas, y me pasaron principios y valores que me han guiado durante mi vida entera. Mi mama persiguió la oportunidad y busco una manera de proveer para su familia. Ella dejo la isla de Barbados para poder trabajar en los hogares de los Estados Unidos, creando e allanando un camino para que sus hijos lo ...

Innovador Plainfield

Estimados Plainfield,


El crecimiento requiere evolución, la evolución implica cambio, y el cambio conduce a la innovación. Plainfield está evolucionando. Nos estamos adaptando para cumplir con los requisitos del renacimiento que está formando el futuro. No podemos esperar cambio positivo y sostenible si continuamos con el mismo ritmo de las ...

Distrito escolar de Plainfield anuncia ganadores de Feria de las Ciencias

PLAINFIELD, NJ - La Oficina de Tecnología, Ciencias e Instrucción de las Escuelas Públicas de Plainfield anunció a los ganadores de la Feria de Ciencias 2018, en una recepción celebrada el jueves 1 de marzo de 2018 en la Escuela Primaria Clinton.

Veintiocho de los 178 estudiantes en grados 4-12 recibieron los máximos honores después de presentar ...

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...

Lilli DeJong by Janet Benton

Lilli De Jong by Janet Benton (Doubleday, 2017)


“It's said that every woman's painful labor is God's punishment. Eve ate an apple, and God pours wrath on every mother. So the Bible tells it.” (p.320)

The story of Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden, which is the Biblical explanation for the extreme pains of childbirth, casts women in the role of ...

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Altria, 2015)


Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn't a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them. Even when they call it a 'senseless tragedy,' people always try to find a ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (Bantom,2017)

How does a writer of a beloved series like Harry Potter or Temperance Brennan break out of their readers' expectations and try something new? For J.K. Rowlings it was the novels penned under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith; books about a maimed and very flawed private detective with the unlikely name of Cormoran Strike. For Kathy Reichs, it is the ...