2019 Summer Reading List
Seth Boyden students and teachers had the privilege of hearing some great jazz during Thursday’s two assemblies featuring a quintet from the Bufford School of Music in West Orange. Drummer Greg Bufford led the band in playing different types of jazz for the audience, and talked to students about the music’s origins in Africa, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad, Brazil, and the US. The wonderful musicians (Belden Bullock on upright bass, David Braham on piano, Doris Spears on vocals, and Lance Bryant on saxophone) had kids and teachers dancing in their seats with their renditions of songs like Duke Ellington’s “Take the A Train,” Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child,” and Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” along with examples of various types of jazz and rhythms from all over the world. Mr. Bufford had students come up and play some beats with the band, got teachers and students to do the limbo, and ended each hour answering students’ questions about jazz, the musicians, and their instruments. It was a fantastic addition to the school’s celebration of Black History Month.
By Josia Ruby Kushner, Student Reporter
Photography by Sonya Sio Artis
The sounds of music and dancing filled the halls at Seth Boyden Demonstration School, Thursday, January 17th. That is because the fifth-graders were performing for Dancing Classrooms, concluding their three-month workshop, teaching them formal dance.
Dancing Classrooms is a program by NJPAC teaching young people the art of ballroom dance. Every year, the fifth-graders at Seth Boyden take part. It starts in October when they learn the basics, and ends in January when they perform. They all worked very hard to put together a wonderful show with great dances, such as the Tango, Swing, Rumba, and Foxtrot, among others.
The experience, in my opinion, was really fun. Some of the kids would have rather been playing video games, but we all mainly had fun. It was exciting to learn all of these dances, and I enjoyed how proper and respectful it taught everyone to be. There were two teachers, Ms. Danielle and Mr. Justin. I had Ms. Danielle, and she was an amazing teacher. She corrected me and my class when we got something wrong. I had Mr. Justin on Partner Day, and he is also a really good teacher. It seems to me that they both enjoy dance.
The fifth graders also took part in an etiquette dinner. Before the dinner, they tried as hard as they could to learn proper ways to eat, such as the appropriate use for utensils, how to ask for more water, and the right way to enter the table, to name a few behaviors. The dinner took place right before the dance where the students showed off their newly-learned skills, along with the aid of etiquette teacher Ms. Erica from the New School of Etiquette, the principal, assistant principal, and some parents.
The night of the performance all the students were nervous. When the first class came down the aisle, everyone started to clap. At that point, the nerves went away (for most). Then the dancing began. The fifth-graders did an amazing job, and everyone had a great time. After all the dances, parents, siblings, grandparents and friends were allowed to come up and learn the Merengue. It was cool – and a little funny – watching everyone dance on the stage. And I mean everyone.
All in all, Dancing Classrooms was a fun night – and an rewarding experience. I really enjoyed it.
On Tuesday, November 27, Seth Boyden welcomed The Story Pirates in two assemblies (one for K-2, one for 3-5). The Story Pirates turn kids’ original stories into wild sketch comedy musicals featuring professional actors. The show was great fun; it featured stories written by kids all over the tri-state area, with enough of a variety of stories that there was something for each audience member to enjoy. The students seemed to especially like the part where the cast took suggestions from the audience and acted out a brand-new story, “written” by Seth Boyden students.
The Seth Boyden PTA held its annual Two Towns Turkey Trot 5K and Kids’ Fun Run on the roads of the otherwise snow-covered South Mountain Reservation in Maplewood on Saturday, November 17, 2018.
It was cold, but the sun shined on returning and new runners from Maplewood, South Orange, and other communities, including Mendham, Caldwell, Roselle Park, and even Forest Hills, New York. Four Board of Education members participated in the race: Susie Adamson, who founded the Trot eight years ago; Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad, who rallied the runners right before the start; Chris Sabin; and newly reelected Annemarie Maini.
The most amazing sight of the morning was Seth Boyden parent Kevin Kraft fulfilling the emcee duties – and completing the race distance – on stilts. He was promoting the New Jersey Circus Center’s Circus Kids Productions, which will run a circus skills workshop for fourth-graders at Seth Boyden in the spring.
The sponsors for the race were Adamson Ramsey Homes, Hearth Realty Group, South Orange; BCB Community Bank in South Orange; Blue Life Karate in Maplewood; CKO Kickboxing in Maplewood; Community First Soccer in Maplewood; Seven Point Wellness in Millburn; Viva Z Zumba studio in Springfield; and Wilber’s Painting in Maplewood. Stop & Shop provided much of the food and beverages for free. The South Orange Starbucks furnished the much-appreciated coffee. The Sneaker Factory in Millburn was the pick-up center for pre-registration packets.
Maplewood took bragging rights in both the male and female categories again this year, as calculated by race timing company CompuScore. Michael Postaski won the 5K with a time of 18 minutes and 12 seconds, receiving a $50 gift card donated by the Gaslight Brewery & Restaurant in South Orange for his victory. He also earned a photo op with the race belt (decorated with a turkey on the buckle), an annual tradition. Seth Boyden parent Caryn Gehrke took top honors among the women, clocking in at 20 minutes, 43 seconds. She received a $50 gift card donated by the St. James Gate Publick House in Maplewood.
Left: Winner Michael Postaski with race belt; Right: Women’s winner, Seth Boyden parent Karen Gehrke
Kai Winston of Maplewood and Ellie Holdom of South Orange were the first male and female finishers in the 14-and-under category; twelve-year-old Kai also took third place overall. Nicholas Torres of South Orange and Claire Chou of Maplewood were the top male and female runners in the 15-to-19 group. Gladys Palaguachi of Forest Hills, New York and Angelika Dawidczyk of Union were fastest in the 20-to-29 category. Among 30-somethings, Shawn Bender of Millburn finished second overall behind Postaski, and Jacqueline Murphy of Verona was the fastest woman in the category after women’s winner Gehrke. Michael Steiner of Maplewood and Jessi Empestan of South Orange were the first man and woman in the 40-to-49 category; Steven Athaide of Maplewood and Nancy Sietsma were first in the 50-to-59 group, with Nancy coming in second overall among women. Prevailing in the 60+ category were Francisco Rodriguez of Bayonne – the eleventh-fastest man in the race – and Seth Boyden teacher Carol West of Maplewood.
Gift cards for the age-category winners were provided by Kitchen à la Mode in South Orange as well as by Maplewood shops Able Baker, Anthony Garubo Salon, No. 165, Paper Hat, and [words] Bookstore.
In the Fun Run, new Seth Boyden physical education teacher Jackie Gronek organized kids from 3 to 12 into four age groups, then set them off to run gleeful sprints. Much to their delight, all Fun Run participants received not only medals but also coupons for free kids’ scoops at the Village Ice Cream Parlour in Maplewood.
Every year, the Turkey Trot & Fun Run event benefits the PTA of Seth Boyden Elementary in Maplewood, an opt-in demonstration school known for its diverse student body, outstanding Outdoor Learning Center/garden program, and individualized, whole-child approach to education. The fundraiser helps support a variety of assemblies and field trips, including the upcoming Story Pirates show; community-building events, such as the annual Harvest Festival and an International Pot Luck Dinner; a Black History Month Gallery and associated programming; for fifth-graders, a musical, ballroom dancing lessons, and an etiquette-training dinner; a closet of backup school supplies for classrooms; and many other programs and amenities at the school.
Photo credits: Ginger Bartkoski; Rodney Fontil; Susie Adamson; Michael Steiner; George Lymperopolous (CompuScore)