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Winter 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 so the sharebox was completely empty.  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 739 Bergen Avenue that helps feed families from all over the surrounding area.  Take a look at the photo below to see the entire 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 student 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. 

The helping really began on Wednesday morning when the students had a discussion about what it means to help someone.  They concluded that helping was when you do something nice for someone else.  Below are some examples of ways that our students help others every day.

1.  “I give my brother his bottle.”

2.  “I made a card for Grandpa when he was sick.”

3.  “I pick up my toys after I play with them so Mommy doesn’t have to do it.”

After hearing about all the “helping” the students do every day, the teachers informed them that they would be helping a very special group that day – 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 all of 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. 


Once all of the treats had been baked, the students colored  little dog and cat coloring pages and stuffed each bag with the appropriate picture to match the treat.  The doggie poems went into the bags for the doggies and the kitty poems were for the kitties.  

The students could hardly contain their excitement when they learned that they would be paid a visit by two amazing representatives from the Hudson County Animal League, an organization that helps injured, stray or lost animals find homes with owners who will love and take care of them.  These women would be coming to PPA in the afternoon to help teach the students about the efforts of the H.C.A.L. and also to accept the students homemade dog and cat treats to be distributed and shared by all the animals helped by the H.C.A.L.  Miss Lorma and Miss Pam, pictured below, surprised the students by bringing a very special guest – Pixie, a Chihuahua that was rescued by the H.C.A.L. and adopted by Miss Pam. 

Miss Pam explained how Pixie was all alone before Miss Pam found her.  No one was there to help take care of  her and as a result, Pixie’s teeth became very sick.  When the H.C.A.L. found and brought Pixie to a veterinarian, the vet decided that the only way to help her feel better was to remove all of her teeth.   Fortunately for Pixie, Miss Pam chose to adopt her and was right by her side during the surgery and has been ever since!  The students LOVED meeting Pixie and thought she was so silly because her tongue always sticks out!   Doesn’t Pixie look so happy and healthy now?


The students presented the baked treats from the morning to both Miss Lorma and Miss Pam who were so grateful for all of the students’ hardwork. 

After the treats had been presented, the students had an opportunity to meet (and pet) Pixie!  Needless to say, this was a highlight of the day!  Miss Lorma, Miss Pam (and probably Pixie) were shocked to see how gentle the preschoolers were when handling an animal. 

Before Miss Lorma and Miss Pam left PPA, the students presented them with a monetary donation to the H.C.A.L. on behalf of Park Prep Academy.  Miss Lorma explained that this donation will help pay for food, veterinariary visits, toys, and housing for animals just like Pixie!  The students all walked out of school a little prouder that day!  A special PPA thanks goes out to Miss Lorma, Miss Pam and Pixie.  It was a pleasure to meet you and help out!

After school, a few of 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.  They 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 our visit to the Liberty Humane Society.

Check out these two cuddly cats!

The helping continued on Thursday as the students discussed another group that would benefit from a little Park Prep help – the seniors!  The teachers explained that seniors 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! 

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 124 residents.  They turned out incredible!

Later that day, the teachers visited the Hamilton Park Health Care Center to hand out the cards to the senior residents.  The cards helped make everyone at the H.P.H.C.C. feel so special and happy during the holidays! 

Friday was the final day of helping week at PPA and the teachers saved a very special group for last – 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 goodybags with special treats that would be sent over to the troops stationed in Iraq and away from their families during the holiday season.  Operation Goodybag, as it was named, started out as an afterschool activity seven years ago has grown and Mrs. Cosco and her helpers have stuffed and sent over 193,280 goodybags to thank our troops!  Last year, the students of PPA contributed 300 bags to that amazing and impressive 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.  Talk about Helping others!

Unfortunately due to scheduling conflicts, Mrs. Cosco was unable to attend Park Prep Academy on Friday but seeing how much she enjoyed her time at PPA last year, she shared her files with Miss Jocelyn to help show the students what Operation Goodybag is all about!  After observing the presentations and seeing actual sailors and soldiers receiving goodybags, the students could hardly wait to get started creating them!  The teachers explained that the students had packed 300 goodybags last year.  The photograph below shows the goal for this year.

In order to begin, the students colored in the star and heart coloring pages that were later cut out and glued onto each bag. 

Later in the afternoon, the students had an opportunity to meet some real sailors from the Navy Recruiting Office in Jersey City.  The sailors were impressed with how much the students knew about the Navy and the military as a whole. 


The sailors pictured above not only help keep the students safe, they also helped the student make goodybags for their fellow servicemen and servicewomen. 

Watch the video below to see how each goodybag was made.

Photo SharingVideo SharingPhoto Printing

The students took a break from creating the goodybags to present the sailors with extra special goodybags they had made.  The students were so proud of their hard work and the naval officers were very appreciative.

Once the goodybags had been distributed, the students invited their new friends to join them in a PPA and Naval Dance Party! 

Friday wrapped up with a five-year old birthday party!  The birthday boy’s Mommy pictured below attended the Air Force Academy and was more than happy to join in the goodybag making to help her fellow U.S. servicemen and servicewomen. 

A special thank you to LS2 Ismael Oquendo and Sailor Paul for spending time with us and for keeping us safe!  After the students’ efforts today, Miss Cosco can add another 373 bags to the Operation Goodybag total bringing it up to 193,653 goodybags!  

Wow!  What a wonderful 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.   A donation on behalf of Park Prep Academy was 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.

Hudson County Animal League
Liberty Humane Society
Hamilton Park Health Care Center
Operation Goodybag



January Tuition Due

MONDAY (3 day students)


TUESDAY (2,4,5 day students)


Next Upcoming PPA Event:

PPA Winter Holiday Celebration – Wednesday, December 22nd

2:00 -3:00 p.m. – No aftercare available.


Theme for Next Week: