Volume 17 • Issue 18 | SEPTEMBER 24 - 30, 2004


Downtown Express photos by Elisabeth Robert

Cecilia Gault, 5, left, and Arianna Lamser, 5 slide.

P.S. 89 event shows school can be fun and games

By Melanie Wallis

P.S. 89 held its second annual back to school party for students and their families on Wednesday afternoon.

The party, held in the schools playground and on Warren St., where kids excitedly ran from one activity to the next.

“I like it,” Samantha Pastoressa, 4, said while eating a hot dog. “It’s the greatest school ever,”

“We wanted a party to bring the community together and for the new families to feel welcome,” said Ronnie Najjar, the school’s principal.

The welcome party boasted four large inflatable rides, a food area including a barbecue, and other activities such as spin art, a fake tattoo table, lucky dip and the guessing jars game where children had to guess how many sweets were in a jar to win the jar itself.

The school fete was enjoyed by the parents as well, who were welcoming the opportunity to socialize with each other, “it’s really nice to get the parents mingling and meet each other” said Karen Pastoressa, Samantha’s mother.

Aren Gallagher, 8, balances during the P.S. 89 back to school party Wednesday.
Pamela Tucker, chairperson of the P.T.A., said the event took a lot of organizing to ensure everything ran smoothly. Despite their efforts, not everything went according to plan. The school got permission from the city to close off Warren St. to traffic to make way for the inflatable amusements, but the city parking signs had the wrong day. “We put up our own no-parking signs, but without the police enforcing it, the street was full of parked cars,” Tucker said. N.Y.P.D. ended up towing several cars, whose drivers thought they were legally parked.

Tickets for the rides and food were on sale at $10 for 12 tickets, with most activities costing two to four tickets a go. “This is more of a community builder than a fundraiser,” Tucker said. Tucker added that any profit made from the event would go back into the PTA.

The event was sponsored by Mosaic Manhattan, a church group, which holds Sunday services in the school. Mosaic’s pastor, Gregg Farah, has a child in the school.

Najjar said she checked to make sure a church group could sponsor the event. “We checked with the Department of Education about sponsorship guidelines, for anyone, not just Mosaic, and there is an agreement for Mosaic not to hand out literature or to promote the church,” Najjar said.

With its support and popularity, Najjar hopes the event will return. “Once it’s started, it’s like a keeper,” she said. “It’s to welcome back families who have been committed to P.S. 89.”

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