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SPECIAL GUESTS AND FESTS, AT LOCAL SCHOOLS

australia-500x333-4853544Children’s book author-illlustrator and award winning educator Timothy Bellavia comes to Tower Hill School in Red Bank, as part of a special presentation for students on Friday, October 18.

A discussion of what high school athletes and parents should know about college athletics. An annual autumn festival with an engaging environmental angle. An anti-bullying workshop for young children that employs a unique teaching device. Just a few of the activities presented by and for students in the schooldays to come, all around the greater Green.

LITTLE SILVER: On Thursday, October 17, Red Bank Regional High School invites all parents and athletes from the Shore Conference to a presentation on the college athletic recruitment process, conducted by former high school/ college coach and athletic director Jack Renkens of Recruiting Realities. Scheduled for 7 pm in the RBR auditorium, the free, public-welcome forum is designed to “detail the facts about the college athletic recruitment, while clarifying popular misconceptions and will detail the role that high school coaches, social media and even parents play in the process.”

A former high school, college coach and athletic director, Renkens has written several books on the subject of athletics program recruiting, and has spoken at high schools across the United States for the past 16 years. RBR athletic director Del Dal Pra, who invited Mr. Renkens to speak at the school, states, “This is a great presentation for all parents and athletes to see, particularly as they embark on their high school athletic career. It provides them with helpful information on the possibility of playing sports at the collegiate level and attaining college scholarships.”

RED BANK: For years, if not decades, both Laraine Gaunt and Timothy Bellavia worked the same side of the street for the children of their communities — demonstrating the beauty of diversity, and bringing awareness to intolerance and bullying while implementing their innovative school programs. Both award winning educators focus on celebrating differences, promoting acceptance and peace within the classroom and beyond.

Still, it wasn’t until meeting on Facebook (and eventually in person, at a 2012 American Girl doll-making event in Greenwich, CT) that the veteran special education teacher and the children’s author-illustrator discovered that their philosophies shared many things in common — and established the foundation for a professional collaboration that comes to fruition on Friday, October 18.

Gaunt, a Red Bank resident and a faculty member at the borough-based Tower Hill School for Early Childhood Education, is the developer of It’s OK To Be Different, a program on “forming and nurturing friendships, anti-bullying behavior and respecting each other’s differences” that has been offered to pre-K and kindergarten age students at Tower Hill and other public and private schools throughout New Jersey since 1987. The three-part curriculum has earned Gaunt awards and grants from the New Jersey Education Department, the Holocaust Commission, the Anti-Defamation League and other governmental and nonprofit entities.

An assistant professor at NYC’s Touro College and creator of the children’s book We Are All the Same Inside (as well as the Sage doll character), Bellavia has toured the country with his in-school presentation The Words Remain Inside: Bullying Stops Here! For the 10 am presentation on October 18 (an event that is open only to Tower Hill students), Bellavia hosts “a special bully prevention workshop for children in which students create a doll with the outside skin as well as the interior organs; but use a permanent marker with hurtful words. The dolls then will be collected and washed with detergent and presented. The results will show that despite all the detergent and fabric softener the words remain inside, thus displaying the concept and a project based approach to combat bullying that reinforces dignity for all.”

More information on the two tolerance-promoting programs for young learners can be found here and here.

RUMSON: For a fun time and an educational look at ways to protect our natural resources, few events fill the bill as well as the annual Fall Fest at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School. Now in its third year and hosted by the RFH Environmental Club, Fall Fest heightens  environmental awareness and appreciation, and benefits local organizations as well as the RFH Environmental Club scholarship fund.

This year’s event will be held on the grounds of the high school at the corner of Ridge and Bingham Roads in Rumson on October 19, from 9 am to 2 pm. Vendors participating in Fall Fest reflect the day’s themes of “having fun while celebrating the earth and its gifts of food and decorations,” and participants can expect quality offerings from Freezee Freeze, That Sounds Delicious, Oceanic Decoys, Cups and Cakes, and Rain Barrels International.

Rain barrels, which protect streams and oceans from runoff pollution while reducing water bills, are available for purchase in a fundraiser organized by RFH Environmental Club and Rain Barrels International. Barrels must be ordered in advance of the event here, clicking on the “EVENTS” tab, and specifying Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School.

In addition to the ever-popular vendors, several RFH student organizations are participating in Fall Fest by hosting information booths and providing an assortment of free treats. These include French Honor Society, Art Honor Society, and Key Club. Student volunteers from Key Club will be on hand to collect non-perishable food items as well as monetary donations for their “Students Change Hunger” campaign.

The donations will be distributed to organizations in Monmouth and Ocean county that supply local food banks — such as Red Bank-based Lunch Break — which are seeing an unprecedented high demand at this time. Local environmental organizations such as Clean Ocean Action, American Littoral Society, and Surfers Alliance will sponsor booths at Fall Fest as well. Representatives from these groups will provide details about volunteer opportunities and conservation efforts in the areas surrounding the Rumson-Fair Haven community.

From press materials furnished by Red Bank Regional HS, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional HS, Tower Hill School

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