Over 900 children and their family members stood excitedly on line outside of Weehawken’s Daniel Webster School dressed in their holiday best on Saturday, Dec. 3 in preparation for the Parent Teacher Participation Association’s annual breakfast with Santa.
The attendance was so great, the PTPA had to split the breakfast into two sessions: one for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten at 8:30 a.m., and one for first and second graders at 12:30.
Principal Anthony Colasurdo and volunteers from the Peer Leadership program, the National Honor Society, the Girl Scouts, and St. Lawrence Church sported green and red elf hats provided by TD Bank – one of over 120 local businesses and locals who donated raffle prizes, food, and supplies for the event.
“The parents have been so amazing. We couldn’t have done this without them.” –Amy Mitchell
One prize all the young girls eyed breathlessly was an autographed Jonas Brothers poster, framed and bowed by a generous parent. “The parents have been so amazing,” PTPA Vice President Amy Mitchell said. “We could not have done this without them.”
Mitchell said that in order to accommodate so many children, the PTPA must start planning the celebrity breakfast in early summer. She herself had been cooking breakfast in the kitchen that day since the wee hours of the morning. “It’s a huge collaborative effort,” she said, “and we all love it.”
Bring on the Clauses!
Emcee and local actor Tony Grimaldi stood on stage clad in a festive red velvet suit “smoking” an oak pipe as he oversaw the breakfast events. “Honestly,” he said, “the place goes crazy.” In the true spirit of family participation, his wife Ann, also a performer, played the part of Mrs. Claus.
Just then, a first-grader approached the stage as Grimaldi held his pipe in his mouth and asked, “Why are you always holding that thing?”
“It’s my character,” Grimaldi replied, and went on to introduce 16-year-old Jack Skuller, who is something of a local hearthrob in the Weehawken school system. A professional musician, Jack donated his musical talents and sang Christmas tunes while he played his guitar. The stage was promptly rushed by around 20 very young, starry-eyed students.
The place certainly did go crazy as soon as Mr. and Mrs. Claus arrived, decked out in full North Pole holiday regalia. They entertained each child with a photo and a gift.
This was young Zachary Ramshur’s third holiday PTPA breakfast (indicated by the holding up of three shy fingers), but despite his veteran status, he was still so starstruck by his sit with Santa he couldn’t even speak as he opened up his gift.
With a giant grin, Zachary revealed his brand new toy Tonka trucks.
Gennarose Pope may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org