WEST ORANGE, NJ — The annual Fifth-Grade International Luncheon at Kelly Elementary School on was dedicated this year to Principal Dr. Joanne Pollara as it provided her with a special "itinerary" of locales to visit following her retirement.

The event began with the Parade of World Flags and was followed by the National Anthem, also performed by students in sign language. "Flight 555" then took off to take Dr. Pollara to various world destinations, highlighted in word, song and dance.

"On behalf of our Flight Crew, let us welcome you to Kelly Flight 555," said fifth grader Samantha. “Sit back and enjoy your flight as we travel around the world.”

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Locales and music included: 

  • Nigeria ("Funga Alafi")
  • Ghana ("Obiswana")
  • Israel ("Hatikvah")
  • Russia ("Tumbalalaika")
  • Ireland ("The Rattlin' Bog)
  • Caribbean ("Timblayo")
  • Haiti (traditional dance)
  • South America ("Cantar")
  • USA ("Land that We Love/America the Beautiful")

"Dr. Pollara, no matter where you travel during your retirement, you will always have a home here at Kelly,” said fifth grader Brendan as the journey wrapped up.“We all know from the ‘Wizard of Oz,’ there is no place like home. You have made this school ‘home’ to all the teachers and students that passed through over the years."

Sienna added that Kelly School is “a true rainbow of both color and culture,” which she said is “something to celebrate.”

Dr. Pollara, dabbing her eyes with a tissue, said the presentation was “a wonderful way to celebrate our Annual International Luncheon”

“I would like to commend our fifth grade teachers, Amy Pacifico, Anthony Carsillo, Kelly Clancy, Patty Quinn, Nick Salese, our Paraprofessionals and our music teacher, Debbie Rees,” she said. “Your dedication to our students and commitment to celebrating the richness of our diversity has made this event possible for more than 25 years."

She also thanked the parents for “actively participating in this event by preparing delicious foods from many cultures.

“As this is my last year, I am honored to have the program dedicated to my retirement,” said Pollara. “It reminded me of a Swedish folk song I learned from a friend: ‘Who can sail without the wind? Who can row without oars? Who can part from a friend beloved without shedding tears?’

"The answers are; I can sail without the wind; I can row without oars; but not part from a friend beloved without shedding tears. Please know that I love you all very much. I will take you with me in my heart wherever I go.”