Wearing colorfully decorated paper crowns and singing “We Three Kings,” students from kindergarten through third grade sat patiently Tuesday, Jan. 7, eyeing up the tables brimming with toys for the Three Kings Day celebration at North Main Street School.
The plethora of toys waiting to be chosen by the excited students were donated by the Atlantic County Sheriffs Foundation, Toys for Kids and Jonathan and Linda Diego. The Diegos have been involved in the distribution of toys for Three Kings Day at North Main Street School for several years.
The Pleasantville Police Department, Atlantic County Sheriff Department and North Main Street School teachers Ms. Alford, Mr. Barnard and Mr. Kelly, all assisted with the set up and distribution of the toys. Members of the Sheriff's Office and Pleasantville Police Department present for the program were Sheriff Eric Scheffler, Under Sheriff Rich Komar, Deputy Chief Williams, Capt. Vaughn Howze and Lt. Stacy Schlachter.
They were introduced by Jonathan Diego, a local attorney and North Main Street elementary student alumnus.
Scheffler said, “I want to thank Mr. Diego and say that we are here to support this event. These uniforms that you see us wear, our first job every single day, is to protect your family. So I never want you to be afraid when you see this uniform. We are your friends, your community partners. We are here to help you.”
Scheffler, in closing, added, “This is an exciting day; and I will be right behind you getting my toy when I get a chance.” Which evoked a chuckle from the audience.
Students were called up in small groups to pick their toy of choice. You could hear the buzz of whispered excitement in the young voices of the students as they discussed what to pick. Legos, Barbie Dolls, a magician box, crafts, trucks, soccer balls, board games and so much more.
Mr. Santanello, guidance counselor at North Main, commented on the generosity of several students for picking a toy that would be for a younger sibling instead of for themselves.
“This really touches on the spirit of the day,” Santanello said.
Student photographers Katherine and Manuel couldn’t resist stopping from time to time during their photography assignment to comment on the benefit of one game or toy over another. Then they took some final shots of their fellow student who now had broad smiles on their faces. As the program ended, the tables once filled to almost overflowing with toys were now mostly empty. The sound "thank you" and appreciative applause indicaed it was a successful Three Kings Day celebration.