Saturday, June 15, 2013

Kinnelon Public Library 50th Anniversary Kickoff Student Starlit Showcase Event: Relive the Magic!

Kinnelon Public Library 50th Anniversary Kickoff Student Starlit Showcase Event
Were you able to attend the Kinnelon Public Library 50th Anniversary Kickoff Event on Saturday, June 8th and experience for yourself the "Student Starlit Showcase" Event? What did you think? I thought it was pure magic.

I was blown away...

By the amazing talent of our children.

By the enthusiastic response of everyone who attended.

By the borough-wide collaboration - from parents, grandparents and friends, students and teachers to Kinnelon School Principals, Borough Council members, members of the Kinnelon Board of Education, and Trustees of the Kinnelon Library, CLL and the Friends of the Kinnelon Library, our Superintendent of Schools and our Mayor, and everyone in between!

By the thoughtful showcase of students' literary works in a way that demonstrated the continuum of learning from 3rd grade through 8th grade.

By the boundless energy of 'Hurricane Aileen' - aka Aileen Florio - who masterminded (or rather mistressminded?) this unbelievable event, and produced the summary below.


KINNELON, NJ—June 15, 2013. More than 500 members of the community joined a borough-wide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Kinnelon Public Library on Saturday, June 8th from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at the library. The event, titled “Student Starlit Showcase,” featured a collaborative effort with Stonybrook Elementary School and Pearl R. Miller Middle School and showcased information books and other texts written by students in grades 3 through 8.

The entire community came out to celebrate the library’s
50th anniversary at the “Student Starlit Showcase” on June 8.
The event, hosted by the Kinnelon Public Library, drew crowds including guests Mayor Robert Collins; Borough Council members Carol Sventy, Ronald Mondello, and Gary Moleta; Board of Education members Marianne DeAlessi, Brian Davin, Michael Petruccelli, and Marcy Pryor; Superintendent of Schools Diane DiGiuseppe, school principals Jodi Mulholland (Kiel), Mark Mongon (Stonybrook), Jack Hynes (PRM) and assistant principal Louis Caruso (PRM); as well as teachers Gina Koonjy, Annika Levitt, and Nancy Bosch (Stonybrook), Karen Baker (Kiel), Marisela Lane (ESL), Jeanne Chamberlain, Lisa Kelly, Amy Stickley, Faith Vanderzee, and Aileen Florio (PRM).
Teachers Faith Vanderzee (left, with daughter)
and Lisa Kelly attend from PRM.
Kiel School Principal Jodi Mulholland (center) with teachers
Annika Levitt (left, with daughter Jenna) and
Gina Koonjy celebrate with students and residents.

Listening to student presentations are Stonybrook School
Principal Mark Mongon with daughters Paige and Kyleigh
 (left to right) and PRM
Middle School Assistant Principal Louis Caruso with son Christian (pictured)
and daughters Ella and Olivia.

2013 marks a very special year for our library,” said Library Board of Trustees President Anne Vosatka. “We are so excited to honor 50 years of service to our borough, and we wanted to kick off the year with a celebration that involved our entire community with a special spotlight on our young patrons.”

Ms. DiGiuseppe enthusiastically supported the joint celebration idea. “Having the Kinnelon Public Library as a key partner of our school district is a win-win for school administrators, staff, parents, and especially the children. Bringing together the extraordinary talents and resources of our teachers, students, borough leaders, and library is a spectacular way to celebrate.”

The ‘Starlit’ Showcase featured a number of rising stars,” added borough Mayor Bob Collins: “our supportive residents, our talented children, our outstanding teachers, the Borough Council, the Board of Education, and of course our Library, a community center for Kinnelon.”

PRM Principal Jack Hynes (left) and Kinnelon
Mayor Bob Collins talk with seventh-grade students.
Dr. Vosatka and Ms. DiGiuseppe greeted guests as they arrived to the event and directed students to the raffle table in the main lobby. Library Trustee and Board Secretary Linda Farmer and Borough Councilwoman Carol Sventy invited each student to fill out a free raffle ticket. Prizes, generously donated by Friends of the Kinnelon Library and the Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL), included two Nooks, two iPod Shuffles, and gift cards for iTunes, Dairy Queen, and Subway.

Two students fill out free raffle tickets while Kinnelon Library
Board of Trustees Secretary Linda Farmer wishes them luck

Ron Leavesley, President of CLL and Friends, said, “I was impressed by the response of the school students, the creativity of what they submitted, the synergy between the library and the school system, parent involvement and the terrific opportunity to capitalize on the momentum of this joint effort.

Al Louis Music (a.k.a. Alan “Mr. T.” Tedesco, Stonybrook School band director) donated his DJ services on the main floor, where the lights were dimmed and strobe lights provided a party atmosphere for kids. He took music requests throughout the evening and announced raffle winners toward the end of the event.

Also donated were platters of cookies from Baker’sPerfection in Rockaway.

DJ Alan Tedesco of Al Louis Music creates the
party atmosphere for the library’s 50th anniversary.

Upstairs, the meeting rooms housed the writing showcase—a gallery filled with more than 250 information books and other texts written by students in Stonybrook and PRM schools. The writing pieces were the result of a concerted K-8 formal implementation of Writing Workshop, an integral component of the district’s writing curriculum. With information writing as one of the three pillars of the Common Core State Standards, all students in K-8 learned and practiced the techniques specific to writing texts that teach readers. Topics ranged from pets to pollution, soccer to skateboarding, food allergies to Ford’s Theater.

Students, teachers, parents, and school administrators
admire the writing of students.
In the children’s library, students who volunteered to talk about their work and the writing process captivated audiences.

It was such an honor to be able to present my work at this amazing community event,” said fifth-grade student Jack McHenry, whose presentation about his writing began with his congratulations to the library on its 50th anniversary. Jack’s sister Caitlyn, also in fifth grade, added, “It was fun learning about what other classes do for their writing assignments, and sharing that with friends was a cool experience.”

Fifth-grade writer Jack McHenry congratulates Kinnelon Public Library
on 50 years of service before delivering his presentation.
 “It was a great evening where all children were celebrated for their creativity and hard work,” said Karen Baker, mother of three and kindergarten teacher. Her son Kevin, a third grader at Stonybrook, gave a presentation of his writing at the event. “It was fun listening to other kids talk about their writing,” Kevin commented.

Guests attentively listen to student-led presentations
simultaneously underway at both ends of the children’s library.

Eighth-grade student Derek Cavallo tells audience members
why he chose to write his information book about Ford’s Theater.
Eighth-grader Derek Cavallo agreed. “It was great to be able to hear what the other students liked to write about. The library was set up as the perfect place to present our books.” Derek’s mother Carolyn added, “It was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the library's 50th anniversary by bringing the community together to listen to our children present their books! Thank you to all who helped organize this wonderful event.”

Third-grade writer Braeden Carroll talks about his
experiences writing his information book.

Resident Karen Carroll said, “This was a wonderful opportunity to bring the entire community together. It was so nice to see so many different people celebrating the library's 50th anniversary. There were children of all ages, parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers and school officials, and many others from town. It was great to see the kids' writing projects and to hear them discuss their work. What a perfect opportunity for these kids to gain skills in public speaking – skills, which will serve them well in the future. We all look forward to attending more events like these in the future."

Carroll’s three children each presented their writing. Third-grader Kristyn said, “During this writing presentation, I was very proud of when I spoke to more than 20 people about my writing process. My grandparents and parents supported me by just standing near me. I also enjoyed the refreshments and music. This time will always be a fun memory." Her brother Braeden, also in third grade, agreed. “I enjoyed going to the library's 50th anniversary. I liked sharing my writing with the audience. This was a very fun experience for me." Fifth-grader Graeme added, “The 50th anniversary of the library was very organized. It was really fun presenting our non-fiction books to other kids. Overall, it was a great experience."

Yet another room featured Kinnelon High School student Brett Smith who gave presentations on the latest apps and information technology. Students and parents rotated through his room to learn how to make the most of their mobile phones, iPads, and other technology to access educational and other informational apps.

"Being part of the library's 50th anniversary was a really cool opportunity,” Brett commented. “I was able to display many applications for Apple and Android devices. I also showed computer programs as well as the TI N-Spire graphing calculators."

The library’s golden anniversary has been recognized and honored by Congressman Frelinghuysen, who entered a brief history of the library into the Congressional Record.


About the Kinnelon Public Library

The Kinnelon Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of Kinnelon, New Jersey and beyond. With 18 computers total on both the first and second floors dedicated to public use, and free Internet access, the library offers many programs for both adults and children as well as free materials, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars. Founded in 1963, the Kinnelon Public Library is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013.

For more information, visit


Thank you, "Hurricane" Aileen!

I invite you to share this story with your friends and family; congratulate every one of our young writing stars. If you couldn't attend the Student Starlit Showcase, ask a young star to share his or her written work with you. Then, come visit the Kinnelon Public Library. Explore its wonders. If you don't yet have one, register for your own public library card. 

Help us continue the magic of the Kinnelon Public Library 50th Anniversary celebration!

P.S.: I'll share with you in a separate article Congressman Frelinghuysen's entry about the history of the Kinnelon Public Library into the Congressional Record. 
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