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Ridgefield's Scotland Elementary Hosts Far Rockaway School For Field Day

Fifth-grade students from Far Rockaway P.S. 104 and Ridgefield Scotland Elementary School played with Harlem Wizard Dave Paul during a field day. P.S. 104 was invited to Scotland after exchanging pen-pal letters since January.
Fifth-grade students from Far Rockaway P.S. 104 and Ridgefield Scotland Elementary School played with Harlem Wizard Dave Paul during a field day. P.S. 104 was invited to Scotland after exchanging pen-pal letters since January. Video Credit: mscfairfield
Students from Ridgefield's Scotland Elementary School greeted their pen pals from Far Rockaway P.S. 104 outside Scotland Wednesday morning. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
Farida Olaleye, from P.S 104, and Maddy Dec, from Scotland Elementary have been pen pals since January and met for the first time in Ridgefield on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
Ridgefield teacher and coach Tom DiMarzo led the students in several rounds of Simon Says outside Scotland Elementary School. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
Harlem Wizard David Paul visited Ridgefield's Scotland Elementary school and held them in thrall as he performed his tricks and played games with them. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
Harlem Wizard David Paul visited Ridgefield's Scotland Elementary school and held them in thrall as he performed his tricks and played games. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
Ridgefield's Scotland Elementary School teachers Wendy Hamann, Danielle Donovan and Cheryl Osher were joined by P.S. 104 Mary Bermudez, Ms. B on the Field Day for both schools. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. – Fifth-grade students from Far Rockaway P.S. 104 were greeted in Ridgefield not only by their pen pals at Scotland Elementary School but by a day of games, prizes and a visit from a Harlem Wizard.

The schools connected after Hurricane Sandy devastated the Far Rockaway area displacing nearly 150 families who attend P.S. 104, not including the teachers and administrators who work at the school.

“We’ve just been helping our families in need” said Mary Bernudez a teacher at P.S. 104 who goes by Ms B. Bernudez is one of the coordinators of the Play it Forward program started by P.S. 104 to help students and families in their area.  “This year, we need help and [Scotland] adopted us, and what a school to adopt us.”

On Wednesday, the fifth-grade classes from both schools met for the first time after months of exchanging pen-pal letters. Scotland’s fifth-graders stood outside their school holding signs with their pen-pal’s names shouting “P.S. 104” as the two busses approached the school.

Friendships that started in letters grew as they met each other in person. For Farida Olaleye, from P.S 104, and Maddy Dec, from Scotland, meeting was really exciting.

“I’m most excited about the field day because we get to meet out pen pals,” said Olaleye. In many ways these two girls became very good friends. Olaleye’s mom is having twin girls this year, and one will be named Maddy. “My baby sister will remind me that Maddy was my best pen pal.”

All the students were excited to meet each other and find out the secrets like a visit from David Paul a player from the Harlem Wizards. The students from P.S. 104 also received full backpacks donated by Pepsi Co. and their pen pals added personal prizes and other goodies.

“Hands down, without a doubt this will continue,” said Bernudez. “These kids love it. Most of them don’t ever leave Far Rockaway. We do anything that we can to get them life experience.”

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