SOMERVILLE, NJ – Students from Somerville High School treated Somerville’s Finest to a full-blown holiday party at police headquarters Tuesday, reaching beyond the classroom to express their thanks for a job well done throughout the year.
Smitten by the good intentions of the holiday season, it didn’t take long for the students to press well beyond what had started out as a “feel good” classroom exercise writing Christmas cards to members of the police force, a choice that was made by the students, many of whom have family members working in law enforcement.
One of the hallmarks stressed by Somerville High School Principal Jerry Foley is social responsibility.
“We should do something nice for them,” said one student. “They’re always so nice and so helpful.”
So they did.
“They just kept going with it,” said English teacher Dr. Shawn Temple, who worked with her students on the party.
“One of the students in third period class asked if we could bake a cake for them; I said ‘sure, I’ll drop it off’ and then it snowballed. Someone suggested we decorate headquarters, 'they could use some holiday cheer in their office.’ ’’
Police were more than happy to encourage the students, according to Temple, offering use of the borough council chambers inside the headquarters building on South Bridge Street.
Balloons, holiday decorations, and strings of lights helped to transform the staid meeting room, with a generous spread of food and refreshments. The centerpiece was a Rice Krispies cake made to look like the borough police flag.
A steady stream of police officers stopped in to visit with the students, many of whom wore Santa hats.
“These moments don’t happen too often,” Temple said. I’m lucky, proud to be their teacher; they’re wonderful students; we have a wonderful community here and it is so important when we are able to share.”
Police called Foley today to express their thanks, according to Temple.
“The students are still talking about it today and are just so pleased they had the opportunity to make the holidays a little more special for the men and women who protect Somerville,” she said.