SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- On Thursday, September 3, The SOIREES (School One Retired Elementary Educators and Staff) honored beloved former Principal James V. Cerasa, who passed away in 2013, by placing a bench dedicated to his memory on the front lawn of the school.

In April 1973, Mr. Cerasa opened what was then the "new" School One, on Willow Ave. During that year’s spring break, all the contents of the old School One on Park Ave. were moved to the newly built facility. It was built in the educational trend of the day -- with an open school, where walls, if they existed, were movable.

Mr. Cerasa was a dedicated educator who created an atmosphere of learning and camaraderie between students, staff, and parents that exists to this day. He retired in 1992.

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In his honor, the SOIREES reached out to former and current staff members, parents, administrators and family, who had worked with or knew him. The solicited donations and purchased the memorial bench.

Comprised of over 25 educators who retired from School One, The SOIREES continue their service to the school and contribute manpower and financial support to the School One PTA Book Fair. They also help Physical Education teacher Ray Ciecwisz with School One Field Day activities. Earlier this year, they presented the first SOIREES Scholarship to a SPFHS student who had attended School One.