Students Bring Moms to Tears with Their Own PEOPLE Covers and Essays for Mother's Day (Exclusive)
Teacher Katie O'Hara tells PEOPLE her 4th grade class celebrated Mother's Day with an extra special assignment
This 4th grade class from New Jersey thinks their moms deserve to be recognized by PEOPLE — and we do, too!
All 24 of Katie O'Hara's students at Hooper Avenue Elementary School in Toms River, N.J., celebrated their moms on Friday in honor of Mother's Day.
Each of the students' mothers attended a special Mother's Day Tea Party at the school, where their kids surprised them with special essays they wrote about why their mother deserves to be featured in PEOPLE and their own, hand-drawn cover.
"It's truly a special afternoon of magical surprises, emotions and laughs!" O'Hara tells PEOPLE.
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For their essays, each student was tasked with detailing everything that they believe makes their mother truly special, and why she should be named "Mother of the Year."
"My mom is also a VERY hard working mom. She has to work for two kids, me (Skylar the favorite) and my sister (Madison, sorry - not sorry, Maddy)," writes Skylar Eden.
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"My mom is also my best friend and a very good playmate," adds the 4th grader, who says that even though mom Wanda doesn't know how to do a front flip on the trampoline correctly — "I think she is going to hurt herself" — she's still "the ONLY and BEST option."
Some mothers' cooking received higher marks than others, though. Colin Vukan says, "I might not like all of the meals" mom Laurie makes, but "we need food to live."
"I do like a lot of the food she makes," he adds, later mentioning her "delicious meatloaf."
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Karis Hartwell gives her mother Jackie's cooking a five-star rating — the result of her "Mother Magic."
"She very rarely messes up on any food," she adds, "and when I don't like her food, it's not because her food is bad, I'm just a picky eater."
Emily Kennedy also argues that her mother Kristy is a "5-star cook," and that her macaroni and cheese "makes me tear up just because of how good it is."
"Her angel hair pasta is delicious, but there's always room for improvement," she adds. "Sorry mom, but you never put enough seasoning!"
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Meanwhile, Nicholas LaGrossa says his mom is "just like Gordon Ramsay" in the kitchen. He also gives her high marks for being "a crazy sports mom" and the "fisher-woman" of the family.
"She does everything for me," Nicholas adds. "She brings me to hibachi and she buys me everything I want with her hard working money."
The ladies were also commended for other skills, from being "a great party planner" to being a "great chauffeur" — showing just how much these little ones depend on their mothers.
"Like her cooking, when she works her 'mother magic' behind the wheel her driving skills never disappoint," Karis writes in her essay.
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None of the moms were aware of the assignment until they attended Friday's special tea party, O'Hara tells PEOPLE.
After each essay, the students thanked the mothers for attending the special event — and O'Hara says "many moms were moved to tears while listening to their children read their essays."
She then took photos of each student and their mother against a PEOPLE backdrop "with their creative magazine cover" that the kids designed.
"Year after year we practice various types of writing in 4th Grade. As their teacher, I instruct, assist and guide my students, but this assignment is different," says the teacher. "All the information comes from my students' hearts on why their mother is SO special."
"I always remind my students they are experts on their mom — no one but them can write this persuasive essay for them," O'Hara adds.
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Read the original article on People.