Love and acceptance tree in full bloom at H.W. Mountz

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The love and acceptance tree on display in the entryway of H.W. Mountz Elementary School. COURTESY OF H.W. MOUNTZ PTA

SPRING LAKE — The caring tree at the entrance of H.W. Mountz Elementary School has blossomed into a love and acceptance tree ahead of Valentine’s Day.

For the month of February, students were asked to take home red and pink paper hearts, decorate them and write down ways they can demonstrate love and acceptance.

“Some examples of what the students wrote about are sharing, being inclusive and saying nice things,” Keri Talucci, H.W. Mountz PTA recording secretary, said. She added that the school’s Elyse Fattizzi was instrumental in putting the tree together.

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Showing their love for the students of H.W. Mountz, the PTA also gave each student a sweet treat — a gift card to Hoffman’s Ice Cream.

The idea for the tree in the school’s entryway began with the PTA last November and focuses on students’ social and emotional character development, Ms. Talucci said. The leaves of the tree have changed a few times since it was created.

The project began as a gratitude tree in the fall of 2020 as a way for students to show appreciation for teachers and staff members at the school, especially amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

By December the leaves had changed yet again and students decorated the tree with paper ornaments surrounded by snowflake cut-outs. The winter caring tree was filled with students’ thoughts on how they can show they care about others.

Since November the PTA has also been sponsoring a raffle, where each week they spin a wheel and award two members of the school’s staff a pizza pie. All of the pizzas that are purchased support the eighth grade pizza fundraiser.

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