LYNDHURST, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – As large as their family tree may be, their roots are even deeper.
Starting Wednesday, four generations of a New Jersey family will have attended the same elementary school.
Getting ready for the first day of school is a tradition for most families, but the Restrepo family is a bit different. For the last century, members of the same Lyndhurst family set out for the same school after Labor Day: Columbus Elementary.
“It’s really unheard of for four generations,” said Liz Restrepo. “Over 100 years worth of heritage and tradition.”
When 5-year-old Francesca Restrepo walks through the doors of the Lake Avenue school on Wednesday morning, into kindergarten, she will take after no just her mother and father, but grandmother, grandfather and two of her great grandmothers. At one point, all of them went to the same Lyndhurst school.
“We have told her stories of teachers from the past. Mrs. Crowles from 4th grade. Mrs. Rizzo, our 5th grade teacher, who we still see around town,” Liz said.
It’s a legacy Francesca is ready to take on, learning in the same classroom as her role models did.
“Because it’s amazing,” Francesca said. “I love my family so much.”
Their roots run deep. While some of her family members found love there – her parents were high school sweethearts – others found careers. Her grandmother became the school principal.
“Was not fun when you’re in the 6th grade and your aunt is the principal,” said grandmother Susan Coppola.
The school was built in 1917, so Francesca’s great-grandmothers were in two of the first classes ever taught there. They have both since passed away.
“She would be thrilled. Thrilled. I like to think that she is looking down at this, seeing her great-granddaughter she never met, seeing going to the same school. It’s uncanny really,” Susan said.
“She’ll learn, hopefully on her own and hopefully from the traditions that my daughters learned from and wife and I did, many years of tradition that we are trying to carry on,” said grandfather Gerry Coppola.
So much history and heritage: This 5-year-old knows she stands on the shoulders of so many others.
Even after 100 years in one school, no family members ever shared the same teacher. They say they always retired before the next generation started.