MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — News 8 is not the only one celebrating a big birthday this year. Wesley Elementary School is celebrating the big five!
Chief Meteorologist Gil Simmons is kicking off his anniversary tour this year. He stopped by Wesley Elementary School to help them celebrate their five-year birthday.
The school is named after Vivian McRae Wesley, the second Black woman hired in Milltown, New Jersey, as an educator. She was the district reading coordinator and had a joy and passion for reading and teaching.
Last year, Janice Pawlak, a third-grade teacher at Wesley, was doing a Black History project and had a guided slideshow by some community members.
“And the kids were like, oh oh yeah, we’ve seen her picture on the wall, but we didn’t know that she was important. I was like, “Oh my God, we gotta change that. That’s how this whole project got started,” Pawlak said.
Pawlak said the students were surprised they didn’t understand McRae’s legacy and why a school would be named after her. She said the students now feel they can look up to her.