Upcoming Dates to Remember
- December 6: Tree lighting
- December 8 at 2 p.m.: Pre-K to third grade concert
- December 14 at 6 p.m.: fourth to sixth grade concert
Mention the Girl Scouts and most people will instinctively add up the number of Thin Mint boxes they want to order this year.
At the November 15 board of education meeting at Frelinghuysen Elementary School, the Junior Girl Scouts of Troop 97721 brought a more permanent proposal to the table.
Four troop members came to the Wednesday night meeting, all in grades four through six: Maggie, Safiya, Naia and Patricia. They made sure to mention Sabria, too, a fifth member who was unable to attend.
They’d come to propose a project for their Bronze Award project, a substantial assignment that requires Scouts to identify a need in their community and take action to address that need.
With carefully prepared notes and the support of their troop leader Susan, the four Junior Girl Scouts laid out their master plan. Students at Frelinghuysen enjoy playground games like hopscotch and foursquare. The current blacktop is unmarked, requiring students to mark out a new court for every game in chalk.
The Junior Girl Scouts proposed painting two permanent courts onto the blacktop, one for hopscotch and one for foursquare.
The girls had clearly done their homework, including researching the size of a standard court, identifying an ideal location for both courts to avoid clashing with basketball or kickball games, and marking the courts in chalk with the correct measurements for reference photos. Their proposal even covered costs, with a plan to get the money for brushes and paints from community grants.
The presentation met with immediate applause from the board.
“That was so articulate, so much good information shared,” said Chief School Administrator Jarlyn Veras. “I have no questions, because you’ve presented so clearly. So, I’m really, really proud of you.”
The Junior Girl Scouts accepted the praise graciously. But they didn’t come to the board meeting to hear compliments. They came to propose their idea and get an answer.
“Do you approve?” Naia asked.
The board took a quick roll call and approved the proposal unanimously.
“We approve!” board president Kim Neuffer replied with a smile.
The scouts had one last request.
“Can you do the hammer?”
Neuffer picked up her gavel and happily obliged.
The proposal is a major win for the Junior Girl Scouts, who came up with the idea a year ago but had to wait while Frelinghuysen searched for a new chief school administrator. If all goes well, students will be able to enjoy their permanent new blacktop courts by the end of the year.
In other news:
In her CSA report, Veras noted with appreciation the number of parents who came to parent-teacher conferences two weeks ago. She also noted the success of the school’s annual Veterans Day observation.
The school recently met with the Frelinghuysen Environmental Commission to form an ongoing partnership.
“We’re looking forward to collaborating with them and bringing some fun science experiences into our school, perhaps assemblies or lessons,” Veras said.
Chip O'Chang, Contributing Writer
Chip O'Chang is an educator, fiction writer, and lifelong resident of New Jersey. He has also written for My Life Publications and NJ Indy. He lives in the NJ Skylands with his partner, two cats, and and a bearded dragon.