True heroes don’t wear capes or possess superpowers. True heroes make a difference in the lives of children. That’s why NJEA and the Trenton Thunder teamed up to honor some students and their school heroes.

The winners are among several hundred students across the state who submitted essays on the topic, “My Hero Works at School.” The students, their families, and their heroes were the invited guests of the NJEA and Thunder at the Thunder’s game against the Akron Rubber Ducks on August 17 at Arm & Hammer Park. The students and their heroes took to the field for a pre-game ceremony. Members of the NJEA Public Relations Committee judged their award-winning essays.

First grader Alexandria Brand wrote about her teacher Karyn Essex at West Cape May Elementary School. She wrote, “Miss Essex is my hero because she keeps me safe. Miss Essex is the best hero in the whole world.”

Nadira Dietz wrote about her third grade teacher, Maureen Campbell, at Nut Swamp School in Middletown.. She wrote, “I think she should be recognized because she works really hard teaching 24 kids. She also has three kids of her own and one dog, and that’s a lot of work to do EVERY SINGLE DAY!!”

A class of preschool students with special needs worked with teacher Maureen Graves Eels to nominate their Occupational Therapist Kim Scheetz. Their entry included photos of Ms. Kim at work with the students, letters from parents, and the signatures of Isaac, Maria, Gabriel, Shannon, Zaeem, Sion, and Keiazha. The students worked hard to show Ms. Kim they could sign their own names. A parent wrote that her son had tactile sensitivities until he started working with Ms. Kim. “The first time Isaac drew me a picture of a smiley face, I was in tears! These are important readiness skills and we are thrilled by the efforts from Miss Kim. She deserves to be recognized.”

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