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Cornelia F. Bradford School PS16 Newsletter

January 24th, 2021

Dear Parents,

Our CPA newsletter started as a way to communicate with parents and to highlight the activities and achievements of our students. Virtual learning has reduced the activities our students are able to participate in but it has also created opportunities for new ones. This week, our students were able to watch the inauguration of their new President. They were able to witness history in the making as Vice President Kamala Harris took her oath of office becoming the first woman, the first woman of color and the first woman of Asian descent to hold this position. The feature article in this week's newsletter is an in-depth report on the inauguration of President Biden. Our fourth grade students were tasked with an assignment to write a newspaper report on the event. We are delighted to be able to share one with our school community. As we continue with virtual learning it is our hope to be able to give more students the chance to amplify their voices and see their work published.

Activities that are normally conducted in our school auditorium were able to continue via Zoom this past week. Preliminary auditions for the annual Jersey City MLK Oratory Contest were conducted with great enthusiasm and highlighted how confident and talented our students are. Our spelling bee final spell off was held on Thursday when fifth grade student Shyla Singal was crowned the 2021 Cornelia F. Bradford Spelling Bee Champion.

Our children continued to learn more about the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through writing, song and projects. Mrs. Kane's second grade students worked together to recreate Bill Withers famous song 'Lean On Me'. Student Raina Warrior (Room 201) shared "We celebrate Martin Luther King because he helped end segregation and he made the world a better place. He was also treated unfairly but he did not let it stop him. This is why we celebrate Martin Luther King."

Please continue to encourage your children to celebrate and share their traditions with our school community via our newsletter. This week we learn about the Scottish celebration for 'Burns Night'.

The following newspaper article was written by PS16 journalist, Haley Roca.


On Wednesday, January 20th, 2021, on Capitol Hill, in Washington DC, President-Elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn-in, as our 46th President and our (first female, first Black female, first Asian female) Vice President of the United States, on a beautiful sunny afternoon.

There were great performances before the swearing-in. Lady Gaga performed the National Anthem. Jennifer Lopez sang “My Land Is Your Land”, and surprised us with “America The Beautiful”. Kamala Harris was sworn-in by Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina Supreme Court Justice. Then, Joe Biden was sworn-in by Chief Justice John Roberts. The Bible used has been in the Biden family for 127 years. Afterwards, Garth Brooks performed “Amazing Grace” and a beautiful poem was recited by Amanda Gorman. The inauguration was closed with a Benediction by Reverend Silvester Beaman.

After the ceremony, our new Vice President Harris and our (first) 2nd Gentleman Emhoff escorted former Vice President Mike Pence and wife, Karen, to their motorcade. Both couples said their goodbyes, and even shared a moment of laughter; the Pence's then drove-off waving goodbye. I noticed that their license plate number read 800-002. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill weren’t able to escort the former President and First Lady because the former First Family left the White House without attending the Inauguration. The Former President and First Lady broke tradition; this hasn’t been done in over 100 years. Therefore, the Biden's couldn’t escort them and say their goodbyes.

Biden then gave his first speech as our 46th President. He mentioned important messages like, “We should love the unlovable”, “We must end this uncivil war”, “I will be a president to all Americans”, “We will make friends out of our enemies”, and “We will get through this together”. Biden called for “empathy and unity” and he “denounced problems in our society”. Before finishing his speech, he said, “My whole soul is in this”, a reference to Abraham Lincoln’s first speech.

The ending song “Our Stars and Stripes Forever” played while the National Guard retired our national colors.

The Inauguration is a very important ceremony. The first one was attended by only a few people, now it is viewed by millions around the world. It was an exciting moment to watch.


Congratulations to all our boys and girls on their amazing performance in our spelling bee. We commend each and every one of you for participating in this year's spelling bee which was very different from what you are accustomed to. Despite this, you all excelled and have set a record high for the amount of medals that will be distributed when we are able to have our award ceremony!

On Thursday, 16 of our students competed in the final rounds of our school spelling bee championship. These students had already battled their way through their classroom spell off to make it to this point. Going into this final round they all knew that the words they would be expected to spell would be challenging and would consist of words they had never seen before. Every great spelling bee begins with studied words from provided lists but they always end with words that haven't been studied. We are proud to say that each one of our students more than met the challenge and exceeded all expectations.

Our teachers, Ms. Golombos and Mrs. Destasio, officiated the spelling bee under very different circumstances than they are accustomed to. We thank them for all their time and effort in helping make the spelling bee a success. Thursday was a long day, for our officiators and our students. We are proud of you all.

Congratulations to our 2021 PS16 Spelling Bee Champion, 5th grader Shyla Singal (Room 304)! We wish you much luck as your move on to represent PS16 at the Hudson County Spelling Bee.

We also congratulate 2nd place winner, 4th grader Vedant Hamirwasia (Room 307) and 3rd place winner, 4th grader Anshuman Bagaria (Room 306)!

Without financial assistance from our parents , the CPA of PS16 would be unable to provide opportunities like the Spelling Bee to our students. We thank you for continuing to support our students. Pledges for students who participated in the Spelling Bee can be made via this link: Spelling Bee Pledges

Our students celebrate many traditions from around the world. The diversity of our student body is what makes PS 16 so special. Second grader, Kieran Robertson (Room 203) and his sister, first grader, Elin (Room 205) will be celebrating Burns Night tomorrow. Kieran and Elin are very proud of their Scottish heritage and love going to visit their family and explore Scotland every summer.


PS 16 parent, Sabila Khan, has been an inspiration over these past few months offering friendship and support to those who have suffered the loss of a loved one from Covid. Indeed her story has reached all over the world. Councilperson James Solomon highlighted Jersey City's part in the National Memorial by saying; "This event has been spearheaded by Sabila Khan who has been an inspiration healing those who lost loved ones to Covid. I'm so deeply grateful to her and all those who bring light to Jersey City in a dark time." Sabila shares her reflections from last weeks memorial event in Jersey City.

"I had the honor of organizing and emceeing a Covid memorial event at City Hall Plaza on Tuesday, January 19th. The event was in concert with the national Covid memorial organized by the Biden administration that same evening. Jersey City joined the nation in pausing, honoring, and remembering not only the more than 600 locals who we’ve lost to the virus, but also acknowledging the staggering loss of over 400,000 across our nation. On a personal level, the event helped me to honor my father, Shafqat Rasul Khan, who spent many years as a community activist here in Jersey City.

We lost my father to Covid on April 14th and four days after his passing, I created the first Covid support group for people like me, who are struggling with the unique challenges of Covid loss and grieving in social isolation. Nine months and six thousand members later, the group has become a beautiful space where members of my traumatized community can support one another in healing. Tuesday night’s event was also meant to spread the word that this group—Covid-19 Loss Support for Family & Friends—exists for anyone who is facing Covid grief.

Jersey City’s Covid Memorial was attended by Mayor Steven Fulop, Council President Joyce Watterman, and Council Members James Solomon, Rolando Lavarro, Mira Prinz-Arey, Jermaine Robinson, and a number of reporters from local news outlets. In joining us as we remembered our loved ones lost, these city officials reassured my community that it is not alone and that our loved ones will never be relegated to statistics. I’m the mother of two PS 16 students—3rd grader Gabriel Cheng and kindergartener Aylah Cheng. I truly hope that through hearing stories of their beloved grandfather’s community activism and watching me advocate for the Covid bereaved community, I’m raising two kind-hearted, community-focused, and politically engaged Americans."

"To help our parents and students bridge the gap between elementary and middle school, and learn about the acceptance processes involved, Principal Watkins-Williams and the CPA Team launched the Middle School Connection, inviting principals of various middle schools, as well as academic program supervisors, to our monthly CPA meetings, to speak to our parents about their schools and programs available."

Our Middle School Connection Program has been very successful the past few years, providing a valuable resource to our 5th grade parents as they prepare to transition their children to sixth grade and beyond. This program, and the series of guest speakers, is also of great assistance to parents of younger students as they begin to make plans for the future. It is never too early to start educating yourself about your child’s options for the future.

We are pleased to announce that Principal Stellato, from MS4, will kick off our Middle School Connection Program at our next meeting scheduled for February 1st. Please sign up in advance via this link

Meals continue to be distributed at MS4 on Bright Street. JCPS are also operating a "Meals on the Bus" program where meals are available to be picked up from set locations. Bus 6 Route is the closest for our school. Meals can be picked up on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 12:20pm from the bus at our school corner.


If your child will be absent from school you should email your child's teacher AND our school Community Aide. Ms. Claudia can be reached at croyster@jcboe.org

The calendar for the 2020-21 school year can be found here.


Wishing our staff members who are celebrating this week a very happy birthday!

  • Mrs. Gina Talalai - January 26th

  • Mr. Fateen Reid - January 29th

Our next CPA monthly meeting will be held on Monday, February 1st at 6pm. We will begin our Middle School Connection Program with guest speaker Principal Stellato of MS#4. Please sign up in advance to attend via this link. A Zoom link will be shared with all registrants on February 1st.

Interim President - Jessica Smith

Interim 1st Vice President - Jackie Cox

Interim 2nd Vice President - Angela Park

Interim Secretary - Maeghan Robertson

Recording Secretary - Leanne Kerr

Interim Treasurer - Shaheen Yadav

Interim Ass. Treasurer - Shaili Marwaha


Please support Concerned Parents Association of PS16, a 501(c)(3) organization, through your Amazon account. Login to Amazon Smile, link your account and select “CPA of Ps16 - Cornelia F Bradford” as your charitable organization. Through Amazon Smile, 0.5% of every purchase will be donated to CPA of PS16.

**UPDATE** You can now participate in Amazon Smile through the Amazon App on your phone! Update to the latest version of the Amazon Shopping app on your phone. Under 'Settings' tap on 'AmazonSmile" and follow the onscreen instructions.

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Boxtops for Education is online now! Download the Box Tops app, find your school as “Cornelia Bradford Elementary 16”. After you shop, simply scan your store receipts to find participating products.The app will automatically credit your school's Box Tops earnings online.

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