School No. 9 and School No. 10 each took part in the “Great Bedtime Story Pajama Drive” during the holiday season, to help children in uncertain situations feel cozy and warm at bedtime.  Pictured at School No. 10, from left, are Detective Tim Hubert, president of PBA Local 42; School No. 10 paraprofessional Kristin Zuk; Principal David Walker; Sgt. Joseph Birch, president of LPSOA; and teacher Fran Czylek. The children are Brielle Suros, Gianna Cedeno, Natalie Diaz and Jeremiah Fortuna.

Between the two schools, 415 new pairs of pajamas were collected.

“As a teacher and mother of three, I understand the importance of reading to a child each night,” said Fran Czylek, a School No. 10 teacher who organized her school’s drive. “Through Scholastic, I was made aware of this incredible opportunity to help children in our area affected by instability.”

The drive was organized by Scholastic Book Club in cooperation with Pajama Program, a non-profit group dedicated to promoting a comfortable bedtime routine for children affected by instability. For every pair of pajamas donated, Scholastic donates a new book to Pajama Program.

“It is never too early to start teaching our students the lifelong lesson of helping those in need,” said Superintendent Danny A. Robertozzi. “Pajamas may seem like a small item, but they can make a great difference in keeping a child warm and comfortable at bedtime, and that’s something our students can really make a connection with.”

The drive was boosted by the generosity of the Linden Police Department’s two police unions. When School No. 10 was falling short of its goal, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association Local No. 42 and the Linden Police Superior Officers Association stepped in to donate 25 pairs of pajamas to help School No. 10 surpass its goal.

teacher and class of students posing while wearing pajamas

Theresa Rogakos' fourth-grade students at School No. 9. The whole school wore pajamas to spread the word about the pajama drive.

School No. 9 was able to collect 211 pairs, including 15 pairs donated by the school’s K-Kids, a student service organization sponsored by the Kiwanis Club. Donations also came in from other schools and the Administration Building.

“We would like to thank everyone who helped us make this event a positive learning experience for the children.,” said fourth-grade teacher Theresa Rogakos, who led the school’s efforts. “I was happy to see how excited the students were to hear the weekly announcement updating our count total.

“I hope they learned that they may be young but they can achieve big things when they work toward a common goal to make a difference in the lives of others.”

students posing with donated pajamas

The School No. 9 K-Kids donated 15 pairs for the pajama drive.