Reflections of Jamesburg: What Our Community Means

     Over time, the hands of progress push forth and new ideas, philosophies, inventions, and individuals emerge while sometimes regrettably, others slowly fade away to nothing but mere memories. It is the memories that are just as important as the new ideals because without the history behind it, the "new" has no beginning. Most importantly, we must look back at our histories to see how we have grown, matured, taken steps in the wrong direction, and then ultimately arrived at our present state of being. Over the past fourteen years, I have watched the Borough, as well as my life experience new things. Some for the worst, some for the best. Now that I will be entering college in the fall and spreading my wings beyond Jamesburg, I find it most appropriate to reflect on some of the memories of Jamesburg that I, along with many community members, classmates, and teachers will never forget and are vital to our histories and traditions.

The Grace M. Breckwedel Middle School Most appropriately first, I will reflect on the aspect of Jamesburg that has encouraged me to attain the best and represent Jamesburg to my fullest potential. With that said, it is the Jamesburg Public School District that has provided me with the most inspiration throughout my academic career. There is no other school that can teach children to love themselves or how to be supportive to each other like Jamesburg has done for many generations. Even if I had forgotten all of what I was taught in Jamesburg (very unlikely), I will never forget how to love and appreciate others. The John F. Kennedy Elementary and Grace M. Breckwedel Middle Schools built my character to the level it is at today. Without the amazing and wonderfully caring teaching staff that supports EVERY student, some students would not be performing to their fullest abilities. Some very special teahers, who are no longer with us, or retired, are memorialized in our classrooms, in our libraries, and most importantly, in our hearts.

Jamesburg is a very special community. Despite the recent lack of school funding, we find unique and creative ways to give our students the very best. Over the past year, budget cuts have been tremendous and devastating. One day I hope that all of the lost monies can be restored. To think that character building programs such as the Soccer and Basketball teams and after school activities have been cancelled breaks many hearts. I participated and looked forward to after school activities every year. However, when the staff must tell a child that we cannot have those programs because of budget cuts, it is hurtful and confusing to young children that do not understand the concept of not having sufficient funding. Hopefully once again this year, the Jamesburg Recreation Department and PTA can reestablish these lost activities as they had done last year.

Volunteers in Jamesburg have made their mark. The dedication of our elected officials and community members show that Jamesburg can move ahead successfully. Groups such as the Jamesburg Civic Association, the Jamesburg High School Alumni Association, and the Jamesburg Area Chamber of Commerce have worked dilligently to attain progress and preserve the beauty of Jamesburg. The Fireworks, circus, Tonkery Day, and Buckelew Day are all some of the many traditions that Jamesburg carries forth because of groups such as these. This coming school year, one of the newest group of volunteers will be retired professionals and teachers in our school libraries. Once again, when something cannot be afforded, a group of caring citizens have come to the rescue to stabilize the high standards that Jamesburg is known for.

Jamesburg Skate Park In 2001, another achievement occured through the work of volunteerism and charity. The children of Jamesburg asked the Borough Council for a skate park. At that time, the Council could not procure the necessary funds to build one. Therefore, the children and their parents took it upon themselves to fundraise for their skate park. They held car washes, spaghetti dinners, and even collected donations so that their dreams could become a reality. After much effort, their dream did come true. A local company donated their time to pave the lot, and many residents and children pitched in to construct the park. This community activity shows the strength that can be obtained from one dream. The children learned a valuable lesson in working together and following their dream for a facility. Once again, no money was taken from the Borough taxpayers and the children of Jamesburg have something to be extremely proud of. I always think to myself, where else can something like this happen? Only in Jamesburg is my answer.

Over the past two years, the Jamesburg landscape has changed dramatically. New businesses The new commerical center on Forsgate Drive
have flocked to Jamesburg to open storefronts. The mom and pop stores of times long past are fading. Stores like Holman's Pharmacy, Intravotolo's Market, Jamesburg Music, and The Kerwin Agency have closed their doors one final time. Yet, some remain and are staying strong. Inevitably, new stores must replace the old. While some business owners want to preserve the mom and pop atmosphere, we cannot hold back the corporate America from entering Jamesburg. The CVS, Forsgate "Mall", Subway, Little Shop of Treasures, Family Framers, Video Disco, and First Constitution Bank have all opened shop in Jamesburg in the past year, demonstrating that Jamesburg is a community where commerce thrives, therefore defining our downtown area.

Another sometimes overlooked item that many people take for granted, are our sidewalks. Jamesburg is a walking town. Sidewalks are needed to travel through the downtown area in order to get from one store to another and the school children need them so that they do not need to walk in the streets. Most of the new sidewalks in Jamesburg were built through grants - not directly from the taxpayers. These sidewalks provide safety for all our residents, but most importantly, our children that walk to school every day, in all weather conditions.

Jamesburg has a remarkable history. However, we must examine it, teach it, and most importantly, appreciate it so that future generations of residents can understand what exists and become familiar with the process in which it was established. Many times, people brush away the history and facts, taking what they have for granted. Yet there is a reason for everything and the curiousity must exist. The curiousity raises questions and new ideas, which further supply the constant hands of time and progress, improving upon what we have and being careful not to let history repeat itself.

Other changes and unforgettable moments in Jamesburg History over the past few years:

Changes to Come:

Feel free to E-Mail and share your opinion and comments!