The school parade began at 11 a.m. with each class wearing colorful hand-decorated hats and crowns labeled “100th day.” Students wore new creations and held signs. Music was played through a loudspeaker and there were cheers from parents and teachers as students marched to the school.
The festivities on Feb. 24 marked the 100th day of learning for students and teachers at Kellman Brown Academy in Voorhees, where events also featured counting from one to 100 in both Hebrew and English and attendance by students from preschool to eighth grade.
The 100 days included in person learning during the pandemic, a feat in itself as other schools operated with hybrid or all-remote instruction.
Ilene Mautner has taught at Kellman Brown Academy for 11 years. She is grateful for the opportunity to celebrate in person.
“Typically, the 100th day of school is celebrated in class among the younger grades – usually preschool to first or second grade. It has always been a huge day in kindergarten,” Mautner explained. “However, 100 days of in person learning is such a source of pride for our school this year.
“We have all worked so hard to achieve this accomplishment, so it was only fitting for it to be a school-wide celebration!”
The decision to teach in person was not made lightly. Numerous safety measures were implemented to ensure the safety and health of students and teachers prior to their return in September. That included updating the school’s HVAC system to include LED, in-duct air purifiers; creating outdoor learning spaces; reconfiguring classrooms to maintain social distancing; and adding faculty to further reduce class size. School administrators also formed a health and safety team that includes an infectious disease specialist and highly trained nurses.
Rachel Zivic, the school’s headmaster, reflected on what she’s learned over the past year.
“I’ve always loved the moment when the school bus pulls up to our school and the students run off the bus smiling and eager to come into school. This year, I cherish it,” she said. “I also take a moment at the end of each day to appreciate that another full day of safe and joyful in-person learning is complete.”
Kellman Brown is a private, Jewish day school whose students range from preschool to eighth grade. After the parade, students gathered in the school parking lot and sang “The Star Spangled Banner,” followed by a Jewish prayer.
“Choosing where your child goes to school each day is one of the most important decisions parents ever make,” Zivic said. “With strong public schools in our area, some parents think it’s not worth exploring private school because they assume they can’t afford it. Many families this year have learned about our need-based financial aid programs and other donor-funded incentive grants.
“If the pandemic has taught us anything,” she added, “it’s that now is an opportunity to rethink and consider what’s most important to us. Our students at KBA are our family. We are proud to be able to give them our best each day.”