WEST ORANGE, NJ - On Friday night, family, friends, students, and staff filled the West Orange Roosevelt Middle School Gymnasium for the Edison Middle School vs. Redwood Elementary fundraising volleyball game—but they got more than they bargained for when a flash mob dance broke out during half time in honor of soon-to-be retired Redwood Middle School Principal Barbara Kivlon. The night ended with Redwood Elementary School taking home the trophy, and Edison Elementary School Principal Xavier Fitzgerald presenting the award, on one knee, to Kivlon, in honor of her last year as principal of Redwood.
Since February, Edison has been playing volleyball games against West Orange’s seven elementary schools as fundraisers for school activities like extracurriculars and graduation events. So far, nearly $1,000 has been raised.
“I love the event,” said West Orange Board of Education member Laura Lab about Redwood’s event. “The flash mob dance was so much fun. It’s good to see parents and students supporting a great cause.”
“I am so touched by the pep squad, students, faculty and staff,” said Kivlon. “This event symbolizes who we are at heart here at Redwood Elementary School.”
“It's nice to be here for Barbara,” said WO BOE Vice-President Michelle Casalino. “It’s nice to see such a great event and parents supporting the schools. The PTAs worked so hard all year around to set up these weeks of volleyball games. It’s a great cause and nice to see everyone’s support.”
The following schools have already played against Edison: Pleasantdale, St. Cloud, Gregory, Hazel and Redwood. Next up is Washington on April 20 and then Mt. Pleasant in a rescheduled game.
All games are held at 7:00 pm, with a $5 admission fee at the door and concession stands. All proceeds are split 50-50 between Edison and the competing school.
Teachers, staff, and parents compete in five-game volleyball tournaments on the night of their event. The community is always invited to come out and show their school spirit.
Friday’s volleyball game began with approximately 40 young girls entering the room as the pep squad. Throughout the night, they cheered and danced in support of their teams.
“We're excited,” said fifth grader Reese Kwabi. “I'm a PAL cheerleader. I know most of the cheers, it's very exciting.”
“I didn't know the teachers were playing,” said fifth grader Moremi Gbayissomore. “It's fun to cheer and see them play.”
“It's a great event,” said Alex Kelly, a fifth-grade parent and member of the Redwood PTA Committee.
“I'm having fun,” said second grader, Emma Healy. “We do a lot of dances and I like cheering.”
“It’s truly is a great fundraiser,” said Paula Healy, president of the Edison PTA. “It’s wonderful to see the community of West Orange having fun together. Edison plays nine games total and we have such great community support.”
“I’m having a great time,” said Fitzgerald. “It’s my first time playing all of the elementary schools. Whether we win or lose, we love to see parents and families out. It's all for fun—we enjoy it and the kids enjoy it.”