WAYNE, NJ – Every year, Wayne’s two public high schools hold one of the biggest events of the year for Wayne Township in their Relay for Life.  Quietly, each year Wayne’s JFK Elementary School holds their own Relay for Life event to raise money for the American Cancer Society. They call the event “Relay Recess.” This year, just like the main event, Relay Recess was held as a virtual event on June 15.

JFK teachers Hilary Caruso and Stefanie Bengel are the teacher-organizers and co-chairs of Relay for Life. “We are always supported by our Principal Kolleen Myers and the JFK Staff who are always ready to participate in this event,” said Caruso. “We also have the help of the American Cancer Society, our high school Relay event chairs, and a former JFK parent who is involved in Relay for Life every year, Karen Marron.”

“Without all of this support, our events would not be nearly as fun or special,” Caruso added.

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Over the many years that JFK has held this event, Relay Recess has raised and donated over $25,000 to the American Cancer Society. “It’s be a great way to support a wonderful cause and have some fun all at the same time,” said Bengel.

Each year the Relay is themed. Past themes included: Peace, Love and Cure Cancer; Superheroes, and All Out Purple,” to name a few. This year a Carnival theme was planned, but COVID threw a curveball at the two teacher-organizers.

“To end our Relay for Life event at school, we had hoped to have a mini carnival for all JFK students and staff to enjoy,” said Caurso. “Unfortunately, we could not come together for this event and decided to have a small virtual Relay instead.”

The staff at JFK created video messages where they shared their favorite parts of Relay and came up with fun, at-home family activities that fit the Carnival theme. Familes then posted pictures and videos of them participating.

“Every year, the JFK Families are amazing and help us by donating to this important cause,” said Caruso. “Next year, we hope that we can all come together to celebrate our Relay Recess and the donations we collect for the American Cancer Society.”

This year’s Relay Recess was extra meaningful to the JFK Elementary School family. “We lost a very special friend and staff member to cancer,” said Caruso. “Mrs. Sharon Bellusci was one of our first-grade teachers and we love and miss Sharon greatly.”

Relay Recess of 2020 was dedicated to Sharon Bellusci