While the COVID-19 pandemic may have stolen milestones from students and their families, the superintendent of the Old Bridge Township Public Schools came up with a way to create new memories, giving them “a banner day”.
David Cittadino booked a New Jersey aviation company to fly over the township with a message of support to students and the Class of 2020.
The banner, which read “OB Schools We Miss Our Kids & (heart) the 2020 Class. Stay well,” was flown crisscross over the township between 11:15 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on May 9.
“As a superintendent I am presented with many suggestions from what other districts across the nation are doing to recognize their students during these very difficult times,” Cittadino said. “When you have nearly 8,500 students and approximately 750 of them are from the Class of 2020, certain ideas, like putting up pictures of every senior around town, are not as feasible as when a school that has 30 seniors does something like that.
“I wanted to do something that was original, memorable and truly a New Jersey thing. The banner planes at the New Jersey shore are iconic symbols of the Jersey Shore experience. For me, the concept of a banner plane sending a positive message to our students and the Class of 2020 is more symbolic than anything else.”
Prior to the banner waving over the students and their families, Cittadino said he asked students, who are part of the selfie generation, to capture some good photos of the moment and post them at #OBBannerDay.
Cittadino, who is paying the majority of the costs with help from the Old Bridge Education Foundation, let the students and parents know about the event via a tweet Thursday night.
"It was nice to see the excitement mount and families from our community have something to look forward to," said Cittadino. "I saw many families gathered on their lawns looking up toward the sky smiling. I especially hope it creates “remember when” moments for students of the class of 2020 who have had so much taken away from them."
Aidan Aisenberg, a member of the senior class, said, it was “such a nice idea for the Board of Education to show us a token of appreciation during this difficult time. We miss OBHS too! Stay well!”
“Even during tough times, keep your head up, find the positive and look for the clouds with the silver linings,” Cittadino said.