On May 22, over 1,500 students at Toms River Intermediate East enjoyed a very loud Phillies Pep Rally complete with the Phillies Phanatic and Phillies ball girls. Cheers filled the school’s John Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex as sixth grader Brooke Slomkowski was honored for being the grand prize winner of the NJEA/Phillies Educators Who Build Our Great Public Schools Essay Contest. Brooke wrote about Kelly Wilbert, a teacher in her school who works with students with autism.
Brooke’s English teacher Michelle Minelli sent home information about the contest as an optional assignment. Brooke, who was busy with other assignments and softball season, decided to write about Mrs. Wilbert since she volunteers in her classroom. “She makes the autistic kids feel wanted and cared about and makes sure they don’t lose out on fun with other kids,” wrote Brooke.
In addition to the pep rally, Brooke, her teachers, and their families will be special guests at NJEA Day with the Phillies on Sunday, Sept. 14. Join your NJEA colleagues at the game and enjoy a special NJEA discount. The Phillies will take on their National League East rival Atlanta Braves, at 1:35 p.m. Children 14 and under who attend the game will receive an NJEA/Phillies Phanatic O.Y.O. Mini-figure Dugout.
The runners-up in the essay contest are Alyssa Jones, Maggie Fossett, and Serina Lardieri.
Jones and Fossett are eighth graders at Dennis Township Middle School. Jones wrote about her art teacher Lisa Roselli who helped her get through the loss of her grandfather. “Mrs. Roselli is one of my favorite teachers and I don’t know how I would have made it over the giant change in my life without her.” Fossett wrote about Alexis Flack, her history teacher, who helped her through a difficult time. “Her determination changed my perspective of my situation tremendously. My grades soared, for her.”
Lardieri, a senior at Cranford High School, wrote about crafts teacher Julie Barkin. Barkin works with her students to create art for various programs including the Holocaust Remembrance Program. “Mrs. Barkin isn’t just my teacher, she is my inspiration.”
All of the winners, their teachers, and families will enjoy a pre-game party and the Phillies game on NJEA day Sept. 14.