Share a meal and get to know each other.
That in a nutshell is what the focus is for Bridgewater-Raritan Education Association (BREA) while it sponsors its School Community Breakfasts during the month of November.
The morning event has been scheduled for the two intermediate schools and the seven primary schools in the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District.
John Evancho, who is a teacher at the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District’s Hamilton Primary School, is the PRIDE chairperson for the BREA.
He explained what the function of PRIDE is and the purpose behind the School Community Breakfast program.
“PRIDE in Public Education is a campaign that shares the successes of New Jersey public schools while building community support and involvement,” Evancho said. “The BREA sponsors many events throughout the school year with NJEA (New Jersey Education Association) PRIDE funding. Over the past 10 years, we are proud to say that we put over $35,000 each year into programs and activities at our Bridgewater-Raritan schools fully funded by PRIDE.”
A perfect example of how the BREA and PRIDE solidify these community foundations, according to Evancho, is the School Community Breakfasts.
Each of the nine schools serves as the host site once and puts out a full assortment of breakfast foods in its cafeteria before the start of the school day. The hour-long event has attracted a large number of customers, who included students, parents, staff and administrators.
“Over 1,3000 people signed up to attend throughout our nine schools” Evancho reported.
He also further described the highly successful breakfast program.
“These events have been coordinated by the school staff as an opportunity to bring members of our school community together,” Evancho said. “This is a great opportunity to get to know each other better and to talk about things within the school and community while enjoying breakfast before busy days.”
The breakfasts were free to all guests, as the costs, according to Evancho, are covered via the teachers and support professionals through their NJEA/BREA association dues. The tasty meals were catered by Bagelicious in Raritan Borough and Joe’s Meat Market in Bound Brook.
The mission of Evancho and the BREA was well received during the breakfast hour at the Hillside Intermediate School on Wednesday, November 9.
“We started attending these when my children were attending Crim (Primary School) and then Covid hit,” said Marianne Larson, who has a fifth grade child who is a student at Hillside.
Ms. Larson also has a child in first grade at Crim and another child who is a seventh grader at Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School.
“It is great to be back and I love seeing the teachers. It is great to connect with the staff and families.” Ms. Larson concluded.
By the response of all the customers in the Hillside cafeteria, this year’s breakfast event is lessening the sting of the Covid restrictions.
Caroline Swensen, who is a fifth grade Special Education teacher at Hillside, spoke on behalf of the BREA in her role as one of its representatives at Hillside.
“It is so nice to see faces and people in person,” Ms. Swensen said. “It is great to bring the parents back into our building.”
Dr. Tali Axelrod, the Principal of Hillside, welcomed the overflow crowd of hungry guests.
“This is a wonderful community-wide event,’ Dr. Axelrod proclaimed. “Teachers and kids and parents are all sharing meals in a relaxed way.”