Press Releases

Westfied's Tamaques Elementary School: Laying the Foundation for Global Citizenship

Principal Duelks, representatives from Heifer International and students from top-earning classes celebrate Tamaques' fundraising achievement.

When a group of Tamaques parents checked off the volunteer box next to the little-known Service Learning Committee, they weren't taking the commitment lightly.

The five Tamaques mothers of the committee, Kate Virmani (chair), Katie Spikes, Maria Broaddus, Jodi Wallin and Lauren Politi, had a vision that their committee would lay the foundation for responsible citizenship throughout the student body at Tamaques, with the goals of  teaching the values of global kindness, respect and empathy. Ambitious as it seemed, theses goals, backed wholeheartedly by Principal Duelks and Tamaques staff, were exceeded during the month of February.

In a month-long effort, the committee teamed Tamaques up with Heifer International, a global charity focused on ending poverty and hunger by providing communities with resources to be self-reliant . Heifer's helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty by providing them with animals that provide both food and sustainable income. These animals help break the cycle of poverty.

Sign Up for E-News

After an initial school-wide launch assembly with Heifer International, each class was asked to choose an animal to raise money to buy – such as chicks, cows, sheep and even honeybees. Money was raised with saved allowances and by getting paid to do extra chores at home. A competition was set between classes based on the amount of money raised, which boosted enthusiasm for the program. The fund-raising became infectious, with staff getting involved. Kathleen Fisher, administrative staff at Tamaques, rallied friends in the US Army, who promptly delivered funds for a cow. The nature of the program seemed to come alive, "It was contagious," enthusiastically noted chair Kate Virmani, "The student's level of engagement was phenomenal...they were motivated towards the monetary goals to buy their classroom animal, but more than that, they understood how fortunate they are. They genuinely grasped how working together, they could make a real difference.”

Over the month, the Tamaques committee and teachers were able to weave the program and its underlying values into the curriculum. Teachers used the coins collected to illustrate math lessons, and reviewed the disparity between world population and food availability in social studies.  Through hands-on classroom sessions with Heifer representatives, headed by Laura Berzofsky, Tamaques students had opportunities to learn more about how other children live and were able to start to further appreciate how life in these communities is quite different than that of in Westfield. Indeed, many students were shocked to learn for example, that school is a luxury for many of these children. 

There was one unexpected roadblock. As the program succeeded, volunteers found the task of counting the considerable spare change insurmountable. After explaining the program to Nony Eboh, Branch Manager at Valley National Bank on Central Avenue, Ms. Eboh embodied the spirit of paying it forward by agreeing to process the collections without charge.

While the goal was to generate sufficient funding for 15 animals, at the end of the month, Tamaques had doubled its goals, raising enough for 30 animals to be sent to poverty-stricken communities around the world.  The total funds raised exceeded $3,000. Additionally, one Tamaques family has anonymously donated $2000 to the effort, bringing the total to over $5,000.

Principal Duelks noted, "This committee's drive brought out the best of Tamaques. It gave us all the opportunity to work towards a collective goal and deliver a tangible result for the larger global community, all while teaching the students an invaluable lifelong lesson."

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Boy Catches 19.5 Inch Catfish at Cranford Fishing Derby

June 18, 2018

CRANFORD, NJ – The Cranford Jaycees held their annual Leonard Snyder Memorial Fishing Derby at Nomahegan Park on Sunday.

From 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., kids spread throughout the park and casted their poles to compete for prizes that included gift cards and fishing poles. Registration began at 9 a.m., with boys and girls split into their own divisions and age groups. The age groups ...

Synopsis of Westfield Board of Education Meeting on June 12, 2018

June 14, 2018

Board President Gretchan Ohlig presented resolutions on behalf of the Board of Education to secondary school staff members who received awards of excellence this spring. They included Michele Belz and Dominick Ceccio - teachers of special education at Edison and Roosevelt Intermediate Schools, respectively -  as recipients of this year’s Optimist Club’s Intermediate School ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, June 19, 7:00 PM

Westfield Municipal Building, Westfield

Westfield Town Council Meeting

Community Calendar Government


Tue, June 19, 7:30 PM

BOE Administration Building, Westfield

Regular Meeting of Board of Education of Westfield


Westfield Police Blotter: Tires Slashed on Scotch Plains Ave & More

June 13, 2018

June 6, 2018 3:05 p.m.

A resident of the 200 block of sunset avenue reports being the victim of a fraud. Unknown actor(s) utilized victims credit card to purchase an appliance valued at $1,000.00. Victim did not sustain any monetary loss during this incident. 

June 6, 2018 6:50 a.m.

A resident of the 100 block of Scotch Plains Avenue reports being the victim of a criminal mischief.

Westfield H.S. Boys ice Hockey White Team Wins Woodbridge 2018 Spring Championship

June 18, 2018

WOODBRIDGE, NJ - The Westfield boys ice hockey White Team recently defeated Hillsborough, 3-1. t win the  Woodbridge High School Spring Challenge.

Logan Calder, Anthony Oliveri and Jack Sumas each scored a goal.

Left to Right Top Row:

Nick Forno, Mason Garnhart, Jack Sumas, Will Gamba, Michael O'Donnell, Logan Calder, Andrew Principato 

2nd Row:

Anothony ...

Westfield 3rd Graders Receive Top Honors at Mock Trial Competition

Westfield third graders recently received top honors for three mock court cases they presented at the New Jersey Bar Foundation Law Fair.

“I am proud that, out of 84 entries submitted, our third grade students (now fourth graders) in the Gifted Program have won 1st Place, 2nd Place and Honorable Mention in the 3rd Grade category [of the Law Fair ...

How Divorce or Separation Impacts Your Financial Life

Undeniably, divorce will have a significant effect on your life and especially your finances. There are around 800,000 divorces in the United States each year, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Here's how to enter into the situation financially informed.

Know The Costs Sooner Rather Than Later
It’s never too early to gather information on how much money ...

Maximizing Your Portfolio’s Returns -- Beware the Taxman

The old adage in the investment world is that it is not what you make, but what you keep that counts.  Investors often overlook the ultimate deflator of portfolio returns – the taxman. An astute global asset allocation should be the number one priority for investors.  However, there are preferred ways to distribute this asset allocation over the spectrum of taxable and ...


In honor of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's (of righteous memory) 24th  Yahrtzeit (anniversary of his passing) this coming Saturday the 16th.

Excerpts from an address given by Nobel-laureate Elie Wiesel on April 7, 1992, at a congressional dinner held in Washington on the occasion of the Rebbe's 90th birthday.

Some of you are aware of my admiration, not only ...

Healthy U Spring Symposium Marks 10 Years of Community Impact

WESTFIELD, NJ — More than 100 Healthy U champions and partners from YMCAs and schools from all over the state gathered at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on May 18 to celebrate 10 years of community impact. Healthy U was also formally presented with the 2017 CATCH® Award for Excellence in State Health. 

CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) is the ...

18 Homes Sold Week of June 3-10 in Westfield and Surrounding Towns

18 Home Sold week of June 3-10, 2018 In Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Mountainside and Cranford

TOWN               ADDRESS                ...

Is Summer Camp the Right Choice for My Child?

Is your child attending camp this summer? Is it their first experience away?  If yes, it can be an experience causing anxiety for you, for the parent and the child. 

This experience can be frightening to your child if it is their first time and it is so important that they do not see your worry or anxiety about leaving home for the first time… especially if it is sleep ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 16

Summer is in the air, and the latest episode of AtlantiCast is ready to help you enjoy some fun outdoors while staying safe! This week’s episode opens with tips for sunscreen usage from Atlantic Health System’s Chief Medical and Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Schwarz-Miller. You’ll also learn about how Atlantic Health System is advancing the future of health care through ...

Bridgewater Mall Shut Down for 2 Hours After Fight Breaks Out

June 14, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ — No injuries have been reported after a fight involving a crowd of people shut down the Bridgewater Commons Mall for two hours Thursday evening.

According to a Nixle alert from the Bridgewater Township Police Department at 9 p.m., the investigation at the mall has been completed, and the mall was resuming normal business operations.

According to Somerset County ...


Eric Lieberman, 47, of Scotch Plains, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly Tuesday, May 22, 2018 ...
Read more