Ready for school

Kids share their expectations at back to school event

Eleven-year-old Aimee Rose Gamboa is ready for the sixth grade at Hubert Street Elementary School with a new Yankees backpack she won at a drawing during a Secaucus Back to School Family Pool Night event held at the Secaucus Town Pool on Aug. 31.
She smiled from ear to ear, saying she picked the backpack for her favorite baseball team and that she looks forward to being back in class.

Anshmeet Singh looks forward to learning about science and space.
Hundreds of residents attended the event to get their chance to win a free backpack, collect free notebooks, pens, and rulers, and take in a final summer night at the pool. Families also enjoyed making crafts and jumping in the inflatable, bouncy attractions.

Bringing kids together

“The whole idea is to get kids together before they go back to school,” said Mayor Michael Gonnelli. “It is just a fun night.”
He said the event gave kids from different grades the opportunity to meet one another.
The town received donations from a number of companies and organizations including: $10,000 worth of notebooks from Staples, $2,500 in kids’ books from Scholastic, 450 backpacks from United Way, and 1,000 rulers from Hudson County Improvement Authority. Other contributors included W.B. Mason, Ernst and Young, Secaucus Education Association, Group USA, T.J. Max, Chase, Lerner and Associates, CVS, Kipnis and Bruno and Associates.

School supplies all set

Parents Marlon Jack and his wife Lisette, residents for 14 years, waited for their 6-year-old son Ryan to take his turn in the bouncy castle. They had a good summer and were prepared for the new school year. Ryan starts the first grade at Huber.
“We have all of his supplies. He studied all summer, finished all his writing,” said Marlon. “This will be a new experience.”
“[I am] excited to see what he learns in the first grade. He learned so much last year,” said Lissette.
Councilman Robert Costantino said his family is ready for the new school year with one final item on the shopping list – new sneakers for his three sons. He has 7-year-old twins Alex and Dean entering the first grade and 9-year-old son Anthony entering the fourth grade.

Ready for learning and fun

May Epistola, a resident for 20 years, has two children returning to school. Her 7-year-old daughter Abby enters the second grade in Clarendon.
“Clarendon is a great school, no doubt about it,” said Epistola.
She said she couldn’t believe 11-year-old son Robin was already off to middle school. “Time went by so fast!” she added.
Eight-year-old Anshmeet Singh didn’t miss his opportunity to spend time in the pool. Wrapped in a large towel, dripping wet and shivering, he talked about his expectations for third grade at Clarendon Elementary.
“To learn something new,” he said. He spent time at the beach this summer and said he looks forward to learning about science and space. His father Davinder said the family has lived in Secaucus a little over a year.

Reconnecting with friends

Cheerleaders Paige Conroy and Zilpa Rizzo are both looking forward to starting the new school year and seeing their friends.
Paige, 16, who is entering her third year of high school, said, “We have the pep rally and the football season. Hopefully we have a good season.”
“A good senior year,” said Rizzo about what she hopes for as she enters her last year of high school.
Recreation center and town pool manager John Schwartz said the back-to-school family event was a big success with well over 400 people in attendance as well as multiple donations.
“It was a beautiful night,” he said at the end of the evening.
The town has 100 backpacks left and additional school supplies. Residents can go to Town Hall and pick up supplies anonymously. For more information call Town Hall: 201-330-2000.
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at

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