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“Letter I is for Ice Week” is next!

Hello all,

Letter H is for Helping Week was honorable, humbling, and of course FULL of Helping! For the first time this year, the students held off on bringing shares to school; however, the students did not come to school empty handed! All week long, the students (and their parents) entered PPA with assorted canned goods and dried food. This food was collected throughout the week and on Friday was donated to the C.A.U.S.E. Food Pantry, a local organization located at 741 Bergen Avenue that helps feed families from all over the surrounding area. Take a look at the photo below to see the donation from the extremely generous students (and families) of Park Prep. We are sure that this donation will help fill the bellies of so many people this holiday season. Thank you to all of the families that contributed to this large and impressive donation!




For their morning work on Monday and Tuesday, the students studied the letter H by completing their letter H coloring and writing/tracing activities.  In the afternoon, the students collaborated to create a list of words beginning with the letter H – also known as a letter H word list!  Here is the list they came up with.


h list


Wednesday morning began with a discussion about what it means to HELP.  During the discussion, the students decided that helping was when you do something nice for someone else.  The teachers informed the students that Wednesday’s morning work activity would be all about helping a very special group of people – senior citizens!  When asked if they knew what the term “Senior Citizen” meant, the students seemed a bit puzzled.  The teachers helped explain that senior citizens (or seniors for short) are people who have been alive for a VERY long time!  One student raised his hand and asked, “Alive for a long time – like 7 years?”  The teachers explained that seniors were more like SEVENTY-SEVEN years old!

Like everyone from time to time, seniors need a little extra care – particularly around the holidays.  The seniors that the PPA students decided to help are the permanent residents of the Hamilton Park Health Care Center located at 525 Montgomery Street in Jersey City.  The students spent their morning crafting beautiful and elaborate holiday cards for each of the residents.  They turned out incredible!




During the afternoon on Wednesday, the helping discussion continued and the students concluded that everyone, no matter how old, can help!  The students then made a list of various ways that kids can help!   Here is what they came up with!


help list


After school on Wednesday, the teachers had the privilege of meeting several of the senior residents of the Hamilton Park Health Care Center.  Meet Ronnie below, a joyful recipient of one of the holiday cards!


Photo SharingVideo SharingPhoto Printing

We hope all of the residents are as delighted by the students’ holiday cards as Ronnie above!  Judging by Gertrude’s touched reaction, the cards should surely help make spread some holiday cheer to all of the residents of HPHCC!  Happy Holidays to all! 🙂




The helping continued on Thursday but this time the students would be helping animals!  The teachers explained that some animals do not have a home or owners to take care of them.  Unlike the animals in the students’ houses, these animals have to find their own food and take care of themselves.  Fortunately, there are wonderful people who spend  their time to help these special animals by keeping them healthy, finding them a home and providing them with food to eat.

The students were so excited to learn that they would be helping these animals by spending the morning baking homemade cat and dog treats for them to eat!  Following the directions in the recipes, the students mixed together special ingredients and then placed them on baking trays which the teachers baked later that day.




During the afternoon, the students and teachers discussed animal/pet safety and also had Spanish class where they reviewed the Los Colores (colors) vocabulary!  After school, the teachers took four full cookie trays over to the Liberty Humane Society facility located at 235 Jersey City Boulevard.  The Liberty Humane Society houses both cats and dogs, all of whom were in the mood for a tasty treat!  The animals seemed so happy as they devoured the treats the students baked.  As the teachers recalled from last year, a video of the feedings was out of the question as it sounded like the doggies were in a “Who can bark the loudest?” contest!   The cats were much quieter and took their time eating the treats.  The cats all seemed to have a general rule about the cookies- play with the treat first, lick the treat, then eat the treat!  Regardless of how they went about eating them, one thing was clear – they were yummy!  Here are some of the highlights from the visit to the Liberty Humane Society.




Friday was another day full of helping!  This time the group was not seniors or animals but instead the servicemen and servicewomen of the United States Military.  These brave men and women spend the holidays (and other days!) all over the world, away from their homes and families to help keep all of the people living in the United States safe!  While it is hard to express our gratitude entirely, the PPA students were eager to help in any way possible!

The PPA teachers knew just who to call to help the U.S. Military!   The teachers contacted a very helpful and special Paramus, New Jersey school teacher named Jane Cosco.  Back in 2003, Mrs. Cosco was driving in her car and listening to the radio when a woman called in to inform the public of plans to cut military holiday budgets and ask for civilian donations for soldiers stationed overseas during the holiday season.

Finding this unacceptable, Mrs. Cosco rallied her middle school students to volunteer their time to stuff goody bags with special treats that would be sent over to the troops stationed in Iraq and away from their families during the holiday season.  Operation Goody Bag, as it was named, started out as an after school activity ten years ago and has grown tremendously!  Mrs. Cosco and her helpers have stuffed and sent over 572,274 goody bags to thank our troops!  Since 2009, the PPA students have contributed a total of 1,600 goody bags to that number!  For her efforts, Mrs. Cosco was the recipient of the Call to Service Award by former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.  For all of the hard work and generosity over the years, Operation Goody Bag was awarded a federal grant from the Corporation of National and Community Service!   Talk about Helping others!

The students were so excited to learn that they would be responsible for making goody bags with Mrs. Cosco!  The teachers explained that step one of making the goody bags involved decorating the bags!  The students got right to work that morning by coloring in the heart coloring pages that were later cut out and glued onto each bag.


operation goodybag1


Before long, the time had arrived and Mrs. Cosco greeted the students of PPA warmly!  The students were so excited to meet Mrs. Cosco.  After a quick welcome, Mrs. Cosco spoke a bit about the goody bags then began a technology presentation which contained PowerPoints created by her students!  After observing the presentations and seeing actual sailors and soldiers receiving goody bags, the students could hardly wait to get started creating them!  The students and teachers worked feverishly until every last piece of candy was packed and goody bag was stuffed!


operation goodybag2


Take a guess as to how many goody bags they made!  100?  No! 200? No! 300?  No!


That brings PPA total to 2,000 goody bags in all! 

That is A LOT of goody bags!


A special thank you to Mrs. Cosco for coming in to spend time with us!  After the students’ efforts today, Mrs. Cosco’ s Operation Goody Bag is now  572,674 goody bags!  Keep up the great work Mrs. C!


operation goodybag3


Wow!  What a wonderful and busy week of helping!  The students will surely be in the holiday spirit as we head into next week!  Park Prep Academy staff and students would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the organizations that opened their doors to us this week.   Donations on behalf of Park Prep Academy were made to each of the groups that helped make H week so special.  We hope that everyone enjoyed spending time with us as much as we did with them.  See you next week!


To learn more about or to donate to any of the organizations that the PPA students helped this week, please visit any of the following links.

Operation Goodybag –

Hudson County Animal League –

Liberty Humane Society –

Hamilton Park Health Care Center –


PPA Winter Holiday Party – Friday, December 20th

(2:00-3:00 p.m.)

Aftercare is not available.

Due to space, we kindly request that attendance is limited to PPA students and one or two parent(s).

Winter Recess 12/23– 1/1

School Resumes on Thursday, January 2, 2013

Theme for Next Week: