Education

Day of Honors Begins with Kelly Elementary School Ceremonies

a5fa21b6a7d37b396c86_DSC_4760.JPG
New Kelly Elementary Sign Credits: Joe Ricci
2db131f4a710baac6643_DSC_4756.JPG
Scott and Mark Kelly are joined by Kelly School students, the Board of Education and their family to cut the ribbon officially opening the school.   Credits: Joe Ricci
585718562d8b90fa9713_DSC_4707.JPG
Mark and Scott Kelly unveil the plaque that will be attached to the newly named Kelly School.   Credits: Joe Ricci
cde1163bdd93d6794a60_DSC_4655.JPG
In the final minutes before the ceremony, Pleasantdale Elementary stands with its engraved name.   Credits: Joe Ricci
04d5f816376a0801a070_DSC_4661.JPG
Superintendent Jeff Rutzky and family all attended the school renaming.   Credits: Joe Ricci
c43eb5549b4df68d7f84_DSC_4662.JPG
Ann and Bill Masullo, formerly with West Orange First Aid Squad, later presented the newly named Kelly School with memorabilia the brothers flew into space. Credits: Joe Ricci
4a955a2beef053376660_DSC_4665.JPG
PR Commissioner Tammy Williams, Councilman Jerry Guarino and Public Information Officer Susan Anderson await the Kelly brothers arrival.   Credits: Joe Ricci
dd50c6ab940102c0a6c0_10d7f9e8d5f7347aa828_DSC_4666.JPG
Council President Victor Cirilo joins Councilman Jerry Guarino and his wife, Robin Credits: Joe Ricci
2efd08871bae2a0efdb9_DSC_4671.JPG
Students await the arrival of the guests of honor.   Credits: Joe Ricci
d10036072dbe71d85945_DSC_4675.JPG
BOE Board Members Irv Schwartzbaum and Sandra Mordecai and BOE VP Mark Robertson Credits: Joe Ricci
50d3606f182e30812e75_DSC_4685.JPG
The Kelly Brothers arrive for the festivities Credits: Joe Ricci
cc19b7e0cb782d38e06a_DSC_4691.JPG
Former West Orange Mayor and current Assemblyman John McKeon emcees the proceedings Credits: Joe Ricci
38bdb71501335fe5180e_21e0b3690ac195ae94dc_DSC_4696.JPG
West Orange Mayor Rob Parisi officialy welcomes Kelly brothers home. Credits: Joe Ricci
c6cc331022d5519e2578_DSC_4699.JPG
Board of Education President Laura Lab Credits: Joe Ricci
13a4115439d9668ccc81_686b6c7ae620a7e83718_DSC_4701.JPG
Schools Superintendent Jeff Rutzsky Credits: Joe Ricci
5fe933e52c02554bb67e_DSC_4705.JPG
Principal Dr. Joanne Pollara, last principal of Pleasantdale Elementary and first principal of Kelly Elementary Credits: Joe Ricci
8d6b28a13cc71756edf8_DSC_4707.JPG
Kellys unveil plaque which will be attached to the newly renamed school Credits: Joe Ricci
0d0c7e658341440bceb8_fe0b0613158f18cff890_7d90d8cd08639a73b8be_DSC_4716.JPG
e0da80711cd84302f9e9_DSC_4719.JPG
Dr. Susan Cole, President of Montclair State University Credits: Joe Ricci
b4ffa930352be687bc76_DSC_4725.JPG
6d51fba794836ba46327_DSC_4729.JPG
4273e3f2fad47c1870e1_DSC_4746.JPG
The newly renamed Kelly Elementary School sign is revealed. Credits: Joe Ricci
7ff51ab13e368cc58372_DSC_4659.JPG
Former Schools Superintendent Jerry Tarnoff Credits: Joe Ricci
55581a6bbcfb8e8ea577_DSC_4667.JPG
West Orange First Aid Squad Memorabilia flown in space by Kellys, framed and donated to new school. Credits: Joe Ricci
f0a2d0974972fc4dd289_DSC_4668.JPG
West Orange First Aid Squad Memorabilia flown in space by Kelly's, framed and donated by Masullos to new school.   Credits: Joe Ricci
a5fa21b6a7d37b396c86_DSC_4760.JPG

Former Pleasantdale Elementary School Renamed for Scott and Mark Kelly

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Before an audience of family, friends, elected officials, school children and former teachers, Pleasantdale Elementary School was officially renamed Kelly Elementary School in ceremonies on May 19.

Captains Mark and Scott Kelly were lauded for their achievements before unveiling a bronze plaque, which will be attached to the school building, and a new school sign on the front lawn. The design, with a rocket ship with two very similar looking astronauts in it, was designed by Kelly Elementary School Art Teacher Nicole Siebert.

Sign Up for E-News

Speaking together to the assembled crowd, first Mark Kelly introduced himself as “the more handsome and smarter one,” but adding very seriously, “We are proud to be from West Orange.”   Scott Kelly joined in the lighthearted tone of their conversational speech, saying  “It is great to be here…..it’s great to be anywhere with gravity,” after his recently completed 340 days aboard the International Space Station. He added, “We come in peace.”

Their comments came after more than an hour of kudos and compliments by some of the assembled dignitaries. Assemblyman John McKeon emceed the morning’s proceedings, pointing out many of those dignitaries that were in the audience, including former Governor Richard Codey , former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Mark Kelly’s wife, Assemblywoman Mila Jasey and numerous other state and local officials. Also in attendance was the full membership of the West Orange Town Council.

Talking about the brothers’ close relationship, McKeon recalled an early meeting with Mark after Scott had launched into a mission, and Mark came to West Orange to spend time with high school students. “We put him through going to the St. Joe’s Christmas Play, and then to dinner at our home,” he said. “ We’ve had a lot of people over to our house for dinner, but none brought freeze dried food that they had autographed.”

Getting more serious, McKeon recalled the next day at the school where a video link with Scott, from space, was started, “and it was the first time Mark had seen him, I saw him kind of freeze and focus. What was so apparent to me is the bond they have.”

Mayor Rob Parisi spoke of the importance of the West Orange community and school system for a child’s growth. “As a community and as parents, we are reminded of the truly unlimited possibilities that exists within the hallways and the classrooms of our schools for our children,” he said.

He concluded by saying, “Mark and Scott, on behalf of this community, after all your worldly travels and out-of-this-world travels, it is my pleasure to officially welcome you home, and for never forgetting where you came from.”

Board of Education President Laura Lab noted the serious consideration given to renaming Pleasantdale Elementary School. “It is not every day that Boards of Education decide unanimously to change the name of a school building,” but she said in this case, “the decision was unique in the fact that the legacy of the Kelly brothers and their very real commitment to their former elementary school  made the decision that much easier.” Lab called the two “remarkable role models,” true heroes and pioneers.

She also noted the commitment the brothers had toward their alma mater, with Mark visiting the school, and Scott keeping in touch with Principal Dr. Joanne Pollara and doing a video chat with the students in January.

Superintendent Jeff Rutzky thanked Principal Pollara, the staff of Pleasantdale Elementary and all the people who helped make the day happen before addressing the Kelly brothers. “Changing the name of the school to Kelly Elementary personifies how proud we are of Mark and Scott as a school district and a community,” and adding, "their achievements should remind everyone of the importance of passion, hard work and dedication.”

Principal Pollara extended her first “Kelly Welcome” to the crowd, and then focused her remarks to the schoolchildren present. She spoke of the Three “Cs” of the day…..”Courage”, not only that of the astronauts but also of their families who supported their missions to space. “Courage doesn’t mean you’re not afraid. It means being a little afraid and doing the right thing anyway,” she said.

Collaboration was next, where she talked about how people working together meant “the success of a mission or your life might depend on it.” Her final “C” was “Celebrating successes, even small ones,” adding, “We need to appreciate everything and everyone.” McKeon noted that Dr. Pollara was now officially the last principal of Pleasantdale and the first principal of Kelly Elementary.

Dr. Susan Cole, President of Montclair State University, noting the success of the brothers said her experience as an educator “has me come to one simple educational principal: there is no more powerful factor in education than expectation.” She said students will rise to expectations made of them. “if we expect little of them, they will achieve little, if we believe in them and expect a great deal of them, they will achieve a great deal,” she said.

One of the people who might have seen that early promise in the Kelly brothers was Jerry Tarnoff, former West Orange Schools Superintendent and a former principal to Scott and Mark. When asked if he knew the Kelly brothers would be successful one day, said he isn’t surprised by their achievements. “I knew they wanted to be astronauts, and I’m not surprised they succeeded…..they always had the drive, the personality, and very few people have that honor (to become astronauts).” He said his former students have kept in touch with him, inviting he and his wife “to one of the launches, and what a thrill that was.”

The Kellys acknowledged they weren’t always the best at what they do. Mark recalled how he ‘wasn’t a very good pilot” and after his first landing on an aircraft carrier in the ocean, how an instructor pilot told him, “you’re not very good at this…..are you sure this career is for you?” He said that was a lesson. “How good you are at the beginning of anything you try isn’t a good indicator of what you can become.”

Scott added he was excited for the kids and what they will see in their lifetime, “because some day NASA, the United States, is going to send people to Mars…and I bet you that person is already living, and maybe they are here in New Jersey, in West Orange, right here in the grass.”

Board of Education Vice President Mark Robertson was especially happy about the event’s impact on the schoolchildren. “You hear their excitement, you hear the noise about everything that’s going on,” he said. “With Scott and Mark coming back here, you can see there are things you can dream you can do, you can take your life to whole new heights into space or the universe……it’s about aspirations and potential.”

BOE Board Member Sandra Mordecai, whose sons attended Pleasantdale Elementary, said the renaming was “a really proud moment” for the township, adding, “This is really wonderful to see two young men who’ve been really, really successful and who have made their mark in history for the country, for West Orange and for the now Kelly Elementary.”

To see the full ceremony as streamed live on Facebook, go to: https://www.facebook.com/woschools/videos/1337034899646384/

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

South Brunswick-Cranbury

South Brunswick and Cranbury Police Blotter

August 9, 2017

Sponsored by Reilly's Collision Center in Monmouth Junction. Click here and scroll down for the latest updates and alerts from South Brunswick and Cranbury Police.

See the most recent messages from South Brunswick Twp Police Department, powered by Nixle.

Gun-wielding suspect drives robbery victim to bank with two young children in tow

April 11, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - Rutgers police are investigating a lunchtime robbery on Tuesday in front of Campbell Hall, 617 George St., on the College Avenue campus, which involved two young children and a trip to a Somerset Street bank.

The victim, who is affiliated with Rutgers University, reported that he was walking near Campbell Hall dorm at 12:30 p.m. when a vehicle, ...

South Brunswick: Mayor Killmurray’s Funeral Plans Announced, Township Prepares For Administration Change

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Township officials announced funeral plans for Mayor Christopher Killmurray and plans to deal with filling his position and a second one on the Council.

Killmurray, 55, died at home Sunday morning after battling brain cancer for several years.

According to the township, a viewing is scheduled for 3-7 p.m. Wednesday at St. Cecilia’s Roman Catholic Church at ...

South Brunswick: Mayor Christopher Killmurray, 55, Dies

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Township Mayor Christopher Killmurray died at home Sunday morning, officials announced.

In an alert to residents, Township Manager Bernard Hvozdovic said that Killmurray, 55, passed away at home surrounded by his family after battling brain cancer for several years.

A Democrat, Killmurray was first elected to the Township Council in 2003 and served as deputy ...

Op-Ed: New Jersey’s Out-of-Network Bill is a huge blow to the middle-class

April 11, 2018

As Trenton currently looks to balance the budget, once again it’s our state’s hardest working citizens who will be left holding the bag. This time, though, it will be the hardworking office and ancillary staff from our small business private medical practices.  A bill called “The Out-of-Network Consumer Protection Bill” A-2039/S-485 looks poised to make ...

State Attorney General Releases Princeton Panera Shooting Video

April 9, 2018

TRENTON – The Attorney General’s Office today released surveillance footage related to the March 20th shooting at Panera Bread in Princeton, New Jersey, during which state troopers fatally shot Scott L. Mielentz, 56, of Lawrenceville, N.J.

The shooting remains under investigation by the Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team (“SRT”).  However, certain ...

April 12 Webinar "Are You Stressing Your Horse Out?

Dr. Williams will be hosting the webinar "Are You 'Stressing Out' Your Horse? Understanding Types of Stress & How to Manage or Reduce Each."

The presentation will be next Thursday, April 12th at 12:p.m. To join the webinar go https://demo.bigbluebutton.org/b/rooms/ca-70ef9c13/EquineStressWilliams prior to the meeting. 

Test your connection early to ensure ...

Somerset: KPS Garage Offers Spring Time Special

Don't let the weather fool you Spring is here, and KPS Garage is offering a special new and existing customers!

1) Freewheel alignment with the purchase of four tires

2) Spring has Sprung Special $29.95

Change oil & filter 
Free tire rotation
Free 30 point safety inspection

exclusions apply

3) Free pair of Bosch wiper blades with any service or ...