VENTNOR – About 60 eighth graders from the Ventnor Educational Community Complex will be promoted to the next phase of their educational careers next week, but before they graduate, they were treated to a day at the beach courtesy of the Ventnor PBA #97. The weather was a perfect 10 – cool and sunny with a slight seabreeze.
According to Police Chief Douglas Biagi, who was on hand to cook up hotdogs and hamburgers for the students, he’s been participating in the annual right of passage for 35 years.
“They’ve been doing this since I was a kid,” he said.
Newly installed PBA President Mike Newell said he believes the day at the beach program started in the 1970s.
In addition to the usual offerings, the police adjusted their menu to suit various ethnic diets and food allergies.
“We got a little bit of everything, including gluten-free rolls so that everyone could enjoy something,” Biagi said.
“It was nice of the cops to do this for us, especially because we didn’t think it would happen this year,” said Alexa Litrenta, 14, who will attend Atlantic City High School in the fall. “And the food was great.”
Arden Hazlett, also 14, who’s headed to Ocean City High School in September, said the last week of school is always a fun time.
“On Monday, we went on our class trip to 6 Flags, but on Tuesday, it was regular schoolwork. It’s so nice to see that this came together for us today after the year of COVID,” she said. “I’m looking forward to getting back to a normal class schedule and not have to wear masks. But, I’ll always miss the VECC.”
Students enjoyed dips in the cool ocean water, soccer, volleyball and frisbees.
Luca Boianelli, 14, is headed to ChARTerTech High School where he will learn animation.
“I’m looking forward to learning new things, and making new friends, but I will miss the great field trips we had at the VECC and my friends,” he said.
Teacher Annette Peitzman said the students were in an out of the water all day, although the water was not “super cold.”
“We love that one of the highlights of the end of their school years in Ventnor was able to happen. The kids missed everything last year because of the pandemic. You can tell they are very appreciative,” she said.