NEWARK — While it was certainly a frosty morn outside, the joyous spirit of the holiday season warmed the hearts of young and old alike Dec. 17 in the Lincoln Elementary School gymnasium that was festively arrayed for the annual Senior Citizen Pen Pal breakfast.
Delicious breakfasts of Belgian waffles with strawberries and whipped cream; sausage links, hashed brown potatoes, orange juice, fruit cups, muffins and coffee, tea or hot chocolate that were served by second graders to senior citizens in the community who are pen pals with the children.
Principal Jeff Hamelinck graciously welcomed everyone, appreciatively acknowledging how the thoughtfulness of guests who have been writing to second graders since the beginning of the school year.
Recalling the positive impact that his parents, certain coaches, teachers and other adult role models had on his life, Hamelinck said “positive adult influences make a tremendous difference in the lives of children.”
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing what you do,’’ he said.
This year’s event marked the 21th consecutive year the breakfast has been held for the senior pen pals at this school.
As a token of appreciation to the seniors for not only being pen pals, but coming to the event, the children, working with their teachers, made colorful, laminated placemats that featured drawings and traditional holiday greetings. They were also given ornaments that were made with help from district primary art teacher Dawn Schwind.
After second graders met their pen pals they sang and danced in a musical performance called “Like Diamonds In the Night.”
Erin Lynch’s class sang “The Rules For Christmas” and danced to “White Christmas.” Megan Conaway’s class sang “Santa Claus Is On The Way,” and danced to “Jingle Bells.” Rhonda Precourt’s class sang “O What Is Figgy Pudding?,” and danced to “Jingle Bell Rock.”
Hamelinck commended the many staff members for their role in making the Pen Pal Breakfast and the play such a great success.
The play was directed by Mary Lou Bonnell, a district music teacher. Lincoln and Kelley School physical education teacher Mez Chilcott also assisted with the production including helping to teach the children their dances and stage decorations.
Hamelinck thanked them both for their outstanding musical production work.
Also thanked were:
• School secretary Deb Snow, who Hamelinck said does an “amazing job” each year coordinating the event.
• Reading teacher assistant Kim Cooper and Library Media Center teacher assistant Jill Hausman, created decorations and the backdrop for the performance.
• Second grade teachers who give extra time and energy helping children learn their lines, prepare for the performance and help with costumes.
• Carole Jablonski, head of Lincoln School cafeteria and other cafeteria staffers for preparing the delicious breakfasts for the many guests that also included Newark Mayor Peter Blandino and his wife, Helen, a village trustee, who also are penpals.
• District Coordinator of Audio Visual services Mike Diamond for filming the performance that can be viewed on the district website.
• Head custodian Patty Weaver and other Lincoln custodians Michael Klemann and J.W. Bement for all the extra time and effort they put into preparing for the event.
• The Lincoln PTA for purchasing poinsettias.