WEST ORANGE, NJ -  On Wednesday, Jan. 30, the Helping Hands Club Members at Liberty Middle School worked together to make more than 100 sandwiches to be donated to The Human Needs Food Pantry in Montclair. This food pantry gives at least one grocery bag filled with food to close to 100 families every Thursday afternoon.

In addition to the regular food items including a can of tuna, a can of beans, a couple of oranges, a jar of peanut butter, and a loaf of bread, this past Thursday, each was given a bag containing a "Helping Hands" egg salad sandwich, a bag of chips, and a bottled water. The sandwiches were delivered just in time. As they they were being dropped off, a line was already forming outside the food pantry by people anxious to receive their much needed food items. The Helping Hands Club members had a great time making a bagged lunch that they not only knew would be enjoyed (The egg salad was delicious) but would be greatly appreciated as well.

On Saturday, Feb. 3,  Math Club students from Liberty, Roosevelt, and Edison Middle Schools  participated in a friendly "Mathcounts" competition hosted by Liberty.

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The "MATHCOUNTS" Competition is a national middle school mathematics contest that promotes mathematics achievement through fun and engaging "bee" style contests. Represented at the competition were 228 “Math-letes” from 29 schools in the North Central Chapter of MATHCOUNTS.

The format of the competition was as follows:

  • The Sprint Round (40 minutes) consists of 30 problems. This round tests accuracy, with time being such that only the most capable students will complete all of the problems.
  • The Target Round (approximately 30 minutes) consists of eight problems presented to competitors in four pairs (6 minutes per pair). This round features multi‑step problems that engage Math-letes in mathematical reasoning and problem-solving processes.
  • The Team Round (20 minutes) consists of 10 problems that team members work together to solve.
  • The Countdown Round is a fast-paced, oral competition for top-scoring individuals (based on scores in the Sprint and Target Rounds). In this round, pairs of “Mathletes” compete against each other and the clock to solve problems.

The students had a great time whilel sharpening their math skills.

The students of Liberty Middle School are learning about the elephants of Kenya's savannah and changing their lives for the better! This past summer during a trip to Kenya, Reading Teacher, Christine Mooney, visited The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi. This visit was made at the suggestion of Math Teacher, Shrina Patel who lived in Kenya for a time. In a Facebook post about her trip, Ms. Mooney, Ms. Patel and Library Media Specialist Lisa Touzeau brainstormed and devised the Adopt An Elephant Program.

In the small rotunda outside the library media center Ms. Touzeau has created an amazing display. Facts about elephants, information about loss of habitat and poaching are posted on the walls along with pictures from the trust’s website (http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/). A collection of elephant figurines on loan from Ms. Patel is in the library to encourage students to donate their spare change to foster elephants. Each week students are notified of the school’s progress. As each elephant is fostered, their profile and keeper’s diary are displayed outside the library. To date we have fostered six elephant babies and would like to foster at least one more. Liberty's efforts have not gone unnoticed, Dame Daphne Sheldrick whose late husband, David Shedrick, founded the trust is "touched to learn how[their] work has touched [our] pupils...and encouraged them to think bout the other species that have the misfortune to share the world with greedy and corrupt elements of the human race..." This project has given students an opportunity to apply the disciplines of math, reading, science and geography, as well as to develop their altruistic nature. Students and teachers, independent of the project, have fostered elephants with their families and as gifts for others.

Editor's note:  Jane Horwitz, Todd Cohen and Lisa Touzeau contributed to this article.