Tag Archives: SOMEA

Proud Parents

There was no time to write yesterday. We were busy celebrating DJ. He was chosen to receive a scholarship from The South Orange Maplewood Education Association. Every year, I attend the retirement dinner of teachers from the district where I work.  Each year, they honor four students who receive a scholarship.  This year, DJ was one of the lucky recipients. When his name was announced, hearing the cheers from the teachers in the room…he has had so many of them… was enough to bring tears to my eyes and when I glanced over at Dave, I noticed he was having a hard time holding them back as well.

DJ was that kid who “blossomed” late in life. This year has been filled with awards and accolades and we are just so proud of him.

We left the SOMEA dinner just in time to make it to the high school baseball awards dinner where all of the teams were honored, but especially the seniors.  DJ didn’t play baseball for the team. He was the manager. He’s always been the kids that LOVES sports, but never quite good enough to play for the high school teams.  This didn’t stop him from getting involved and he wound up receiving a varsity letter along with the rest of his teammates, once again to the cheers of the team.

DJ has really grown into a confident, strong adult and I cannot wait to see where this confidence takes him!  I know we have a few months to go, but when I think of him going away to college, I am not as worried as I thought I might be.

As he stood in front of a room of hundreds of teachers yesterday, and thanked them for the scholarship, he didn’t stammer, he didn’t stumble over his words. He didn’t even seem nervous. I am thankful to the amazing teachers and coaches he has had the privilege of having in our district. They are a huge part of creating the person he is today and we will forever be grateful for them.

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Back Pack Pals

rent party PRIDE

Tonight, I joined some fellow SOMEA, (South Orange Maplewood Education Association) members at one of their monthly Rent Parties. Proceeds from these Rent Parties go towards helping to fight hunger in our community.

We made a donation to help sponsor their “Back Pack Pals Program.” This program provides food for students in our community whose families may be struggling financially. It costs $25 a month to support a child for one month and $175 for the entire year.  We are hoping that our donation from SOMEA will be able to help more children in need.

If you can help support a child, send an email to bpp@rentpartylive.com Let them know you found them through my blog. It is such a worthwhile program.  A child should never have to go to bed hungry.

Mixed Emotions on Halloween


For most teachers, Halloween is an exhausting holiday!!  After two years of NO Halloween celebrations at school due to a freak October snowstorm the first year and a hurricane the next, the kids were more excited than ever to celebrate today!  For my kindergarteners, I don’t even know if they remember exactly what Halloween was or what to expect!  They were only three years old the last time we had a “real” Halloween in town.   They came to school filled with excitement for a parade that would not be until the end of the day!  The room was filled with excitement the entire day.

The weather got a little unpredictable about an hour before the parade when it began to rain, but luckily it stayed to a light drizzle and right before the parade began, it stopped!  The kids were so thrilled with their costumes and wore them proudly in the parade waving to their family members as they traveled around the blacktop.  Sweets and treats were waiting for them in the classroom when they returned for goodies and some Halloween stories before heading into town for the big town parade!!

Our town holds an enormous celebration right in the middle of “the village.”  The streets are closed and the merchants stand outside their stores handing out treats to all of the children who stop by.  My dad, being one of the merchants went through nearly 2000 pieces of candy today!  This year, I joined several of the teachers from our district, The South Orange Maplewood Education Association, (SOMEA) went into town and handed out treats as well.  We gave out note pads and lollipops and ran out before the parade even ended!  I think people were just so happy to finally have a Halloween celebration back in town, that it was bigger than usual!

My brother Tim was at the store with my dad.  Tim’s wife Francine passed away in April.   Today would have been her 32 birthday.  This was her absolute favorite day of the year!!  We all thought about her today, knowing how special this day was to her.   Tim spent the morning at the cemetery with Francine’s mom, bringing her balloons and flowers.  He was going to go out with some friends tonight for dinner to keep busy.  It was a sad day for him but I am glad that he came out and spent the day like he always did.  I think it was good for him.

I am sure that Halloween will be a day filled with mixed emotions from now on for my brother.  The town Halloween celebration was always a fun, yet hectic, day for them.  I am sure that he has many fond memories of the Halloween/Birthday celebrations they had together.  Facebook was filled with warm thoughts and wishes for him today.  I hope he knew that no matter how much fun everyone was having, anyone who knew Tim and Francine, had a place in their heart today that held a special spot for them.