In 1974 a former professional football player and New Jersey Assemblyman John Villapiano decided to start a school. It would be a school unlike others in New Jersey that would set the bar high for academic and social excellence. The niche that would catch the eye of his beloved student and parent body was that it offered a full day kindergarten which was pretty rare in the '70s. So they came. And then they kept on coming.

Making Seashore School one of the most popular private schools in New Jersey, eventually it spawned its own summer camp, too. And as a Long Branch resident (as I was), the Seashore Day Camp students were always there — happy, energetic, sunburned and ubiquitous around Long Branch.

And Seashore, the private school, just kept on flourishing, at its peak educating 250 students who loved being there every day. And while it’s true that in recent times the school began to lose some of its student body it was the little private school that could, chugging along with his 100 students and creating a homey and warm atmosphere for kids. But with private school funding and enrollment dwindling, seashore school was already on shaky ground when the COVID-19 pandemic became the final nail in the coffin.

Although the day camp remains open and hopes to open now, with Gov. Phil Murphy lifting the day camp restrictions, seashore school, sadly, will not reopen in September. “Given the pandemic situation, there's a lot of question marks about the fall, whether we'll be forced to go virtual or if we'll return to in-person classes. I just made the decision it was time to move on," Villapiano said in an article on APP.com. It was a Long Branch and a New Jersey icon for 46 year, and we will miss it.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.

More from New Jersey 101.5: