A New Jersey teacher who had a passion for celebrating even the smallest holidays with her students was honored by an entire town Tuesday, several months after she died.
Elizabeth Ersalesi, or "Mrs. E," as her second-grade students at Washington Elementary School in East Rutherford called her, loved making a big deal out of holidays, from National Bubblegum Day to National Pie Day.
"She was a really fun teacher and she was really nice, too" said Skylar Wazinski. "My favorites were when she did the national days, like National Ice Cream Day."
After she passed away in May, students decided to honor her on her birthday, July 30, on what they called "Mrs. E Day," by recruiting town businesses and streets to post cutouts of Mickey Mouse, Ersalesi's favorite character.
"My mom always had something Mickey," said son Brad Ersalesi. "A Mickey pin of some sort for every school day."
Mrs. E had visited Disney World 50 times, her son said.
Storefronts from the jeweler to the nail salon sported the Mickey Mouse cutouts, and shops like Ice Cream Charlie's gave away free ice cream in the beloved teacher's honor.
The effort was driven by a student who promoted Mrs. E Day on Facebook. It's a lesson in caring and honor that Mrs. E's family says the teacher herself would have celebrated.