By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
For kids, it’s the best time of the school year: the end. And right about now, they can taste it.
Literally so, for some students at the Red Bank Charter School. Yesterday, they invaded the grassy field of Riverside Gardens Park for their annual field day, which includes a free-for-all for kids to blast tone another and their teachers with water balloons.
Red Bank Middle School students, meanwhile, still have another few days until they can hit the beach with any regularity. But the school’s 6th graders spent Thursday priming for the dog days with their counterparts from Monmouth Beach.
On the eve of the charter school’s last day of the regular school year, not a dry shirt or unsmiling face could be found at the park overlooking the Navesink River.
“It’s a day just to have fun with them, and with school spirit,” said principal Meredith Pennotti. “It’s a good way to finish up. It’s been a really good year.”
There’s a two-week break until voluntary summer classes start at the charter school, Pennotti said. The program, which lasts five weeks, is less book-heavy and more hands-on, she said.
“Most of them will be back,” she said.
Elsewhere in town, Monmouth Beach kids paired with Red Bank students to take a walking tour through Red Bank, learning about and pointing out similarities between the two boroughs. redbankgreen caught the roving pack of about 70 students en route to Strollo’s Lighthouse on North Bridge Avenue.
The two class bodies have spent the last three years alternating visits to each borough as part of an educational/social initiative to expand students’ horizons. They learn everything from facts about each town to what the classes are learning throughout the year.
The annual meeting of the classes at the end of each school year serves the students like a jolt of sugar at the end of a long day, said Jayne Frankenfield, the middle school’s supervisor of technology and media.
“Everybody comes back inspired. And at this time in the year, to keep them insprired?” she said. “It’s always a reflection of how good kids can be.”
Primary school students end the school year on Monday. Last day at the middle school is Tuesday.
The middle school will run its summer programs from July 5 to Aug. 13.
Monday is also the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and official start of summer.