2013-02-14 / Front Page

North Brunswick honored for assistance after Hurricane Sandy

BY KATHY CHANG
Staff Writer


Seven-year-old Aminah Kazmi (c) and her siblings, Adil (l) and Anum, helped make puppet pens that were sold to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. They raised more than $1,000. 
KATHY CHANG Seven-year-old Aminah Kazmi (c) and her siblings, Adil (l) and Anum, helped make puppet pens that were sold to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. They raised more than $1,000. KATHY CHANG NORTH BRUNSWICK — When Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the tri-state area, Aminah Kazmi took action the best way she knew how.

Just 7 years old and a first-grader at Livingston Park Elementary School, Aminah — with the help of her mom Alia and older twin siblings Anum and Adil, both 13 — said she brought out her creative side with the creation of decorated puppet pens.

She sold puppy, tiger, panda, chicken, polar bear, frog and other animal pens for $2.50 each. All of the proceeds, which amounted to over $1,000, went to those in need following Hurricane Sandy.

Alia Kazmi said she felt it was important that her children reach out and volunteer.

“We did projects for the tsunami and made T-shirts for the earthquake in Haiti. … They were all hit ideas,” she said.

Many school officials, maintenance staff, students, and staff from Chartwells food service company were honored as “Community Heroes” at a recent Board of Education meeting for their relief efforts during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

“So many [people] went above and beyond,” said Principal Barbara Gibbons of Judd Elementary School. “There were so many great stories, personal and professional.”

Schools Superintendent Brian Zychowski said he could not agree more.

“The Building and Grounds crew were on hand that Monday and Tuesday to remove debris. … Just a job well done,” he said.

North Brunswick Township High School Principal Pete Clark said his staff members collected gift cards for those in need.

“Some 300 to 400 items were collected and sent down to Lavallette Elementary School, which we adopted,” he said.

There were also stories of teachers helping teachers, some of whom lost their homes due to Sandy.

The Judd Elementary staff supported their colleague Jen Herrick, whose house in Sayreville was destroyed by the storm.

Staff members recognized for the help they provided to Herrick and her family were Ernie Ta, who manned the rescue effort for two days on her street; Carol Stolzenberg, who coordinated media contacts; and Corrie Hopson, who coordinated the majority of the details and donations at the new address.

Linwood Middle School, led by Krystina Valdes, Bernadette Baldino, Denise Petraco and Nicole Hodge, spearheaded the adoption of three Ocean and Monmouth county Schools — Bayhead Elementary, Henry Hudson Regional and Union Beach.

“I spent 12 years previously at Henry Hudson Regional, which overlooks Sandy Hook,” said Zychowski. “I am pleased to hear that we are helping a district that is so close to me.”

Craig Jones, a custodian at one of the schools, said it felt great to be honored by the school district.

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