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Students From Edison School Destroyed By Fire Get Special Treat At MetLife Stadium

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Hundreds of students whose New Jersey school was gutted by a fire got a special treat Wednesday.

As CBS 2’s Elise Finch reported, more than 450 students got the chance to stomp the football field during a surprise trip to MetLife Stadium.

Cheers and high-fives greeted the students as they entered the stadium. The youngsters were excited, but unsure about exactly why they were there.

Moments after taking the seats, their principal shared the surprise. It was a super field day.

The students were treated to a football-centric field trip – complete with inflatable obstacle courses, and tossing, tackling and field drills.

“Running around, enjoying the sunshine, and having a good time with my school and my friends,” was what fifth grader Raina Alaboura got out of it.

The students were scheduled to take a field trip in May. But when their school burned to the ground, it put that trip and much more in jeopardy.

That was when the MetLife team stepped in.

“We just really wanted to do something to help the school and the kids,” said MetLife Stadium spokeswoman Nicole Fountain. “We’re working together with the Jets, the Giants — our whole staff is out here volunteering today.”

“This is going to be a life-defining moment that is really going to, I think, make a huge difference in how they look at community service and giving back to others,” said school principal Lynda Zapoticzny.

The students told CBS 2 the best part of the surprise was being able to have fun with their friends at the place that hosted this year’s Super Bowl.

“I really hope I’m standing where Bruno Mars stood — the exact same spot,” said fifth grader Marisa Tufaro.

“It’s awesome being here, but I can’t wait to just hang with my friends. And go Jets!” said fifth grader James Tutalo.

“Wow, because I love the Giants and they played here,” said fifth grader Jaylen Davenport.

After a morning spent playing on their favorite team’s field, students were treated to lunch before heading home.

A six-alarm fire destroyed the James Monroe Elementary School on March 22.

Head custodian Jerome C. Higgins, 48, of East Brunswick, was charged with a petty disorderly persons offense for smoking inside the school, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office said.

The charge was filed after detectives determined that Higgins smoked a cigarette inside the building and tossed an unfinished portion of the cigarette into a trash can.

The contents of the trash can, located in a custodian’s office, caught fire and the blaze spread through the building, according to the prosecutor’s office.

The students’ classes have been moved temporarily to Middlesex County College. They will be leasing a new school building in the fall.

It could take at least two years to rebuild the original school.

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