Learning Points

'Gatsby' gets green light for IR premiere this weekend

Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: The cast of Indian River High School’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ takes time from rehearsal to mug for the camera. They will perform both Friday, May 26, and Saturday, May 27.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: The cast of Indian River High School’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ takes time from rehearsal to mug for the camera. They will perform both Friday, May 26, and Saturday, May 27.Whether they’re coming in from East Egg, West Egg or across any other egg-less province, the local community is getting the “green light” to head out to Indian River High School this Friday and Saturday night for the IR drama club’s production of “The Great Gatsby.”

The Simon Levy adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic story will “borne back ceaselessly into the past” to feature everything 1920s — from snazzy suits and flapper dresses to the jazz stylings of the Indian River High School band during intermissions and throughout the show.

Coming off the success of their production of “Romeo & Juliet” this past winter — in what was the first-year drama club’s first-ever show — hopes were even higher for “Gatsby,” with everything coming together just in time for curtain call.

“We have a lot to pull together in the last week — as is the nature of theater — but we’re all really excited,” said Sadie Andros, director and first-year English teacher at IR. “We’ve gone a little bigger for this show. We’ve got a great set that we’ve been designing and painting. We have a car, live music — it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

IR’s Clark takes first at BPA nationals in presentation management

Coastal Point • Submitted: IR senior David Clark took first place for presentation management at the BPA National Leadership Conference held in Orlando, Fla. from May 10 to May 14.Coastal Point • Submitted: IR senior David Clark took first place for presentation management at the BPA National Leadership Conference held in Orlando, Fla. from May 10 to May 14.David Clark knows a thing or two about management.

The soon-to-be graduate of Indian River High School has spent the past four years managing his time while juggling a laundry list of extracurricular commitments, ranging from the student council and his responsibilities as the senior class president, to his involvement with the Leo Club and National Honor Society, to running for the varsity cross-country team and helping lead the varsity boys’ tennis team to a Henlopen South division championship this past spring, just to name a few.

With his wide array of leadership roles and as a four-year member in the school’s Business Professionals of America (BPA) organization, Clark also knows a thing or two about presentations, often finding himself being called upon to give a speech during school-wide pep rallies or a senior scholarship awards ceremony.

So when he was called upon to deliver his most important speech to date earlier this month — this time with the focus on the very subject of presentation management, at the BPA National Leadership Conference on Orlando, Fla. — David Clark knew a thing or two about not being nervous, as he went on to take first place in the country and bring home the school’s first BPA national title since 2007.

SMS reading teacher gives it her all

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Meredith Wallace was recently named Selbyville Middle School’s Teacher of the Year.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Meredith Wallace was recently named Selbyville Middle School’s Teacher of the Year.Meredith Wallace would rather do headstands in front of a classroom than give a newspaper interview.

Then again, she would do anything for her students.

That attitude helped make her Selbyville Middle School’s Teacher of the Year for 2017-2018. Wallace teaches seventh-grade English language arts.

“I try to have fun. … I think that I’m silly. You have to be able to laugh at yourself for them to be able to laugh at themselves,” Wallace said. “Because when you struggle, that’s when you learn, so you have to show it’s OK to make mistakes and learning is fun.”

And the students notice. Student James Livingston gave her a solid review: “Mrs. Wallace is a good teacher. She helped me learn what I didn’t learn before. She makes learning fun.”

For Wallace, teaching was a destiny she welcomed, especially with other educators in the family.

“From the time I was in first grade, I can remember wanting to be a teacher,” she said.

She taught for 13 years in her home state of Maryland, then a year in Millsboro. After teaching social studies, special education and elementary education, she’s loved her four years at SMS.

Teachers, secretaries change contracts to help IRSD

More than 900 IRSD staff impacted

Some Indian River School District staff won’t make as much money this year as they were originally entitled to. They’ve reduced their next three years of raises to help the district deal with budget shortfalls and impending state budget cuts.

PCS students painting for the stars

Coastal Point photos • Submitted: Jeremy Hill, Madelyn Clattenburg and Everett Hall enjoy painting their bees on the nose cone.Coastal Point photos • Submitted: Jeremy Hill, Madelyn Clattenburg and Everett Hall enjoy painting their bees on the nose cone.Local elementary-school students’ artwork could someday be described as “out of this world,” as first-graders at Phillip C. Showell Elementary School were invited in April to paint the top of a sounding rocket. Around 4 feet tall, the nose cone would be attached to the top of a small rocket that carries experiments into the atmosphere, collects data and falls back to earth within 30 minutes.

According to art teacher Laurie Hall, a Selbyville resident who judged the school science fair also works at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Soon after the fair, he invited the first-grade students to help paint a nose cone.

Each PCS student painted a bumblebee on the hive-shaped metal chunk.

Bees have become a school mascot, encouraging students to “Bee responsible, bee respectful, bee positive, bee safe.”

“There can be so many great partnerships formed,” Hall said. “Everybody in the community has something to give or share. You never know who’s living here and what they can bring to the students and the school … [to] help enrich their education.”

Will the hand-painted creation find its place among the stars? Maybe. Even Wallops personnel can’t guarantee it’ll actually be used for a mission.

Sussex Academy announces Honor Roll

Third Marking Period

2016-2017 School Year

6th Grade

Distinguished (A Honor Roll)

Brady Thompson

B Honor Roll

Richardson wins IRSD Teacher of the Year award

A love of reading at core of specialist’s work to help students

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: The 2017-2018 Indian River School District Teachers of the Year pose in the Indian River High School auditorium.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: The 2017-2018 Indian River School District Teachers of the Year pose in the Indian River High School auditorium.“I love to read,” said Lisa Richardson, reading intervention specialist at Millsboro Middle School.

Richardson is the 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year for the Indian River School District. Her win was announced at a dinner on Wednesday, April 29.

Not only does Richardson treasure the worlds that can open through books, but she also has a keen understand of the impact the ability to read has on everyday life.

Richardson’ students come to her needing help meeting reading requirements. The main challenge of her job, she said, is “helping them catch up so they can be successful in their core classes.” If a students is struggling to read, she said, everything else in school becomes a struggle as well.

IRSD celebrates Teachers of the Year

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: The 2017-2018 Indian River School District Teachers of the Year pose in the Indian River High School auditorium.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: The 2017-2018 Indian River School District Teachers of the Year pose in the Indian River High School auditorium.Hundreds of teachers have made the Indian River School District a leader in education. On April 26, the IRSD honored the best of the best, their Teachers of the Year for 2017-2018.

In a surprise announcement, Millsboro Middle School reading teacher Lisa Richardson received top honors as IRSD Teacher of the Year.

“Her story is in many ways the story of the Indian River School District. She is product our school district who returned to give back, and has done that in many capacities and done it well. Both inside and outside the classroom, she is and has been a role model for others,” stated Gary Brittingham, former principal and assistant superintendent.

As the district’s Teacher of the Year, she is now eligible for the state Teacher of the Year Award, which will be announced in October.

Lighthouse Christian to hold annual breakfast fundraiser

This weekend, the community can enjoy breakfast while also supporting Lighthouse Christian School families.

“It’s just so wonderful,” said Pat Viguie, event and curriculum planner at Lighthouse Christian.

Murray stepping away from IRHS for family

After four years, Bennett Murray has announced that he will leave the position of Indian River High School principal.

Starting this autumn, he’ll be assigned as an assistant principal in the district, spending half his time at Georgetown Elementary School and half at the Howard T. Ennis School.

Crooks named Delaware School Counselor of the Year

Coastal Point • Submitted: Erin Crooks of Georgetown Middle School was recently named 2017 Delaware School Counselor of the Year.Coastal Point • Submitted: Erin Crooks of Georgetown Middle School was recently named 2017 Delaware School Counselor of the Year.Erin Crooks of Georgetown Middle School has been named the 2017 Delaware School Counselor of the Year.

The award was given on April 10 by the Delaware School Counselor Association during its annual spring conference. Prior to winning the overall state award, Crooks was named Middle School Counselor of the Year by the DSCA in February.

Crooks came to Georgetown Middle School as a school counselor in 2009 after spending the previous two years as a counselor at Georgetown Elementary School. She is a member of Georgetown Middle’s Instructional Leadership Team and is the school’s AVID site team coordinator. One of her priorities during the past nine years has been taking GMS students on visits to college campuses. During that time, she has accompanied more than 350 students on visits to the University of Delaware, Delaware State University, Morgan State University, Delaware Technical & Community College, Rutgers University and the University of Maryland.

Crooks is co-chair of the Sussex County Inter-Agency Council for Children and Families and a middle school representative for the Delaware Goes to College Advisory Council. She also served as an adjunct professor at Wilmington University in 2015-2016.

This is the second consecutive year, and third overall, that an Indian River School District counselor has won the state award. Other state winners were Cheryl Carey in 2016 and Lisa Hunt in 2005. It is also the fourth consecutive year that an IRSD counselor has won either the elementary or middle school Counselor of the Year award. Other district winners were Carey (2016 and 2007), Jan Bomhardt (2015), Cathy Showell (2014), Dawn Brasure (2009) and Hunt (2005).

Music lessons offered to expand homeschool learning

Homeschooling gives families the freedom to better control their kids’ education. But they can lack some musical experiences, such as chorus and band lessons. So, starting this fall, longtime high school music teacher Mark Marvel will offer private daytime music lessons to individual students.

Hall draws outside the lines as Showell Teacher of the Year

Coastal Point • Kerin Magill: Phillip C. Showell Elementary School art teacher Laurie Hall recently received recognition as the school’s 2017 Teacher of the Year.Coastal Point • Kerin Magill: Phillip C. Showell Elementary School art teacher Laurie Hall recently received recognition as the school’s 2017 Teacher of the Year.Phillip C. Showell Elementary School art teacher Laurie Hall didn’t always want to teach art.

“I went through a medical-thriller book phase” as a teen, she said. “I wanted to be an epidemiologist.”

She also had a fondness for art. however, and “I always loved my elementary school art teachers. I always used to play school, too.”

And in her junior year in high school, Hall said, “something just clicked.” She majored in elementary education at Frostburg State University and followed that with a master’s degree at George Mason University in “initiatives in educational transformations,” which involved work on bringing visiting artists to schools on Delmarva.

Hall is the 2017 Teacher of the Year for Phillip Showell. She has been at the Selbyville elementary school for five years. During that time, she spent two years without a classroom of her own, pushing her “art cart” from room to room throughout the day.

“It was actually a really good thing for me. It made me be really organized!” she said. Now, however, Hall has her own room, the walls of which are brimming with recent student work.

She is also certified as a special-education teacher and spends part of each week “pushing in” to special-education classrooms. While her work as the school’s art teacher allows her to work with every student in the school each week, she said she also enjoys her special-education classwork, in which she works one-on-one with students or with small groups.

Millsboro student saves sister's life with school training

Coastal Point • Laura Walter : Lindsey Espinoza, center, was recently honored by local and state fire associations for using first-aid skills to save her little sister’s life during a choking incident.Coastal Point • Laura Walter : Lindsey Espinoza, center, was recently honored by local and state fire associations for using first-aid skills to save her little sister’s life during a choking incident.When 14-year-old Lindsey Espinoza signed up for the fire-cadet class at Millsboro Middle School, who would have guessed she’d be saving her little sister just a few months later?

The Roxana Volunteer Fire Company started the fire-cadet class in autumn to introduce students to lifesaving skills and community service.

“Towards the beginning of the school year, we taught basic first-aid, puncture wounds, choking and hands-only CPR,” said RVFC Fire Chief Chris Uibel. “Little did we know that within two months, Lindsey would save her sister from choking.”

“She was at home, watching her 4-year-old sister. Her sister began to choke on a toy. Lindsey was able to quickly react, knowing everything that she had learned from our program. Through her lifesaving measure, she was able to help her sister from choking.”

IRHS students design elementary-school playground

Three Indian River High School seniors have taken the lead on designing a new playground at Georgetown Elementary School.

When the elementary school’s occupational therapist, Sara Heinicke, wanted to add more accessible playground equipment, she enlisted IRHS students to create one piece. When the budget blossomed with several local donors, the project expanded to a full remodel.

Scholarships help local workers get new career paths

Almost two decades ago, Kathleen Kisela started working toward an important goal in her life — becoming a nurse.

At the time, although her children were small, Kisela believed she could juggle the demands of family with those of nursing school at Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown. She found, however, that it was just too much, at the time.

“It was pretty stressful,” she said. “So I couldn’t finish what I started.”

For years, the Milton resident felt as if she just would not be able to achieve that goal.

IRHS students named to honor roll for second period

Indian River High School recently announced its honor roll students for the second marking period of the 2016-2017 school year. Students receiving High Honors were:

Three district teams qualify for Odyssey of the Mind Worlds

Three teams of Indian River School District students qualified for the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals with second-place finishes at the state competition on March 25 at Alfred G. Waters Middle School in Middletown.

IR Live! presents a musical of the decades

Live music is a hallmark of Indian River High School productions, and the students are ready to impress once again.

This year’s musical revue is IR Live! presents “The Corner Club on Baker Street,” featuring an original script by music director Nathan Mohler and student T.J. Oxbrough.

Performances are Friday and Saturday, March 24 and 25, at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $5 per person.

Creative Mentoring touches the lives of students and adults in IRSD

Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Officer AnnMarie Dalton looks on as OVPD mentees open gifts from the department. Dalton is one of three Ocean View officers who mentor a total of five Lord Baltimore Elementary School students.Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Officer AnnMarie Dalton looks on as OVPD mentees open gifts from the department. Dalton is one of three Ocean View officers who mentor a total of five Lord Baltimore Elementary School students.Although many kids have help and support from family and friends growing up, sometimes extra support can be key. That’s where mentoring can play a big role in a child’s life.

The Indian River School District participates in the Creative Mentoring Program, in which 299 students are active participants.

Lord Baltimore Elementary School Counselor Theresa O’Shields said the program really benefits young people in a positive way.

“It is really good for them. It’s gotten them out of their shy spells. Kids who have a lot of energy, or kids who don’t have a good male or female role model,” she said. “The teachers here are good, and they’re so flexible. They know it’s important for the child’s growth. They are wonderful people here.”

Local organizations offer scholarship opportunities

Entries sought for Jim Cresson Memorial Fund Scholarship

Applications are currently being accepted for the Jim Cresson Memorial Fund scholarship, administered by the Greater Lewes Foundation.

‘Oh, the places they’ll go’

Inclusion key to student success for special-needs education ‘Dream Team’ at IR

Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell: Xiomara Weaver, Jackie Johnson and the River Café crew are ready to start the day.Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell: Xiomara Weaver, Jackie Johnson and the River Café crew are ready to start the day.It’s 8 a.m. at Indian River High School. The bells have rung. The morning announcements have been made. And the River Café is officially open for business.

Today, on the menu: coffee, tea and complimentary homemade cupcakes with green icing, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

Senior Josh Timmons makes his way down the school’s history-lined hallways in his official green-and-gold River Café apron, pushing his cart, without paying much attention to the cart’s one stubborn wheel, wielding the day’s orders and approaching his first stop.

This is the final task for the River Café each Tuesday and Thursday morning — and Josh’s favorite. He greets each customer with their own personalized order, makes the sale, stamps frequent-customer cards and, of course, tops it all off with his signature Timmons’ touch — whether it be in the form of inside joke, friendly pat on the shoulder or well-timed smile.

Speaker tells the students: Share your blessings and have hope

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Inspirational speaker ‘Principal El’ joked around with Indian River High School students while encouraging them to be their best selves now.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Inspirational speaker ‘Principal El’ joked around with Indian River High School students while encouraging them to be their best selves now.There is something to live and aspire for, said the man from Philadelphia. You just have to be ready when that opportunity comes.

He calls himself “Principal El,” and his mission is to motivate, invigorate and inspire students and teachers across the country. The teacher, principal and motivational speaker Salome Thomas-El brought words of wisdom (and a few laughs) to Indian River High School and Selbyville Middle School on March 2.

“You get a blessing and use it to help others. ... It comes back to you,” he said. Doing good in one area might tip the scales toward another good opportunity, such as a job interview or scholarship.

Similarly, “The way you treat people, that will come back to you,” said Thomas-El. “You can say what you want, you can do what you want, but the way you make people feel is what they’ll remember about you.”

Local woman thanked for being a teacher who made impact

Coastal Point • Kerin Magill: Steve Shaner, left, reunites with Dorothy Fisch, his former eighth-grade English teacher, whom he had not seen since 1968.Coastal Point • Kerin Magill: Steve Shaner, left, reunites with Dorothy Fisch, his former eighth-grade English teacher, whom he had not seen since 1968.The meeting place seemed appropriate.

After all, college professor Steve Shaner wanted to thank someone who had opened up his eyes to the power of words.

And so it was that Shaner, 62, walked into the Frankford Public Library on Tuesday, March 7, and got to thank his eighth-grade English teacher.

He had not seen Dorothy Fisch, who now lives in Ocean View, since he finished eighth grade back in 1968. After all that time, his search for Fisch was started by remarks by a colleague who encouraged students and staff at Harding University, in Searcy, Ark., where Shaner is employed as an assistant professor of mass communication, to reach out to someone who had made a difference in their lives, and to thank them.

Special-education staff gets the spotlight

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: For their devotion to Indian River School District’s most vulnerable populations, these staff members were voted leaders in IRSD special education.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: For their devotion to Indian River School District’s most vulnerable populations, these staff members were voted leaders in IRSD special education.“Above and beyond” were the words most frequently used to describe 17 individuals who were named Special Education Ambassadors this week.

The Indian River School District honored educators who serve as role models for their colleagues while promoting a positive message of inclusiveness for students with disabilities.

“Ambassadors will be those who clearly support a mission to allow students identified with disabilities to become emotionally, socially and academically successful learners ready to fulfill their lifelong goals,” according to IRSD officials.

“[These are] folks in our schools who really make it possible for our students to achieve their goals,” said IRSD Board Member Heather Statler.

From Richard Allen history, a new sense of culture and community

Coastal Point • Submitted by Delaware Public Archives : A historical photo shows the Richard Allen School in 1923.Coastal Point • Submitted by Delaware Public Archives : A historical photo shows the Richard Allen School in 1923.Grade-school memories follow people through life, for better or worse. And, although the old Richard Allen School was born of segregation, people are being inspired today to transform it into a community and cultural center in Georgetown.

“When Richard Allen opened its door [in the 1920s], it was a beacon of hope for African-Americans living in Sussex County,” according to the Richard Allen Coalition. “When it reopens next year, it will welcome all of us who want to learn about the past while helping our youth explore their talents and prepare for a wonderful future.”

The non-profit Richard Allen Coalition wants to restore the school’s legacy as an educational and community center. Physically, the old building won’t just become a museum to freeze history, but a community center to breathe life into the town.

LB PTO holds Penny Wars to kick off sign fundraising

Coastal Point • Submitted: Lord Baltimore Elementary School Assistant Principal Matthew Keller was duct taped to the wall by the first-grade classes, which won the fundraising event.Coastal Point • Submitted: Lord Baltimore Elementary School Assistant Principal Matthew Keller was duct taped to the wall by the first-grade classes, which won the fundraising event.Lord Baltimore Elementary School students were able to do something a little unorthodox last week, as students were able to duct tape Assistant Principal Matthew Keller to a wall.

The students had participated in “Penny Wars” for two weeks to help raise funds for a new school sign.

“We had the grade levels compete against each other to bring in change — pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters. Some students even brought in bills,” said Jennifer Lovellette, president of the school’s PTO. “Each cent was worth one point... The grade level that brought in the most money won the Penny Wars.”

The students raised a little more than $2,800, which Lovellette said was likely driven by the prize the winning grade would receive.

“They were able to duct tape the assistant principal, Mr. Keller, to the wall, which was fantastic.”

The first grade won the Penny Wars, and Keller, being a good sport, spent his afternoon taped to a wall.

“It was such a great event,” said Lovellette. “He was taped to a wall in the cafeteria. We had mats stacked up, so he was able to stand on the mats and then the PTO officers started by putting a couple of larger pieces of tape around him, just to start it, just to make sure he was secure to the wall. We had fun, different duct tapes — Gummie Bears, Minions — cut into pieces.

Counting on kindness at Showell Elementary

PCS students wear their kindness proudly

Coastal Point • Submitted: Birannah Stevens, Ella Peterson and Edgard Chavez-Hernandez check out the bead supply while making kindness bracelets at Phillip C. Showell Elementary School.Coastal Point • Submitted: Birannah Stevens, Ella Peterson and Edgard Chavez-Hernandez check out the bead supply while making kindness bracelets at Phillip C. Showell Elementary School.Kindness can be like a rock in water. One good deed can ripple outward to distant shores.

Phillip C. Showell Elementary School celebrated January as Kindness Month by encouraging children to be kind and witness kindness in their lives.

With handmade Kindness Bracelets, students can now count and remember random acts of kindness each day.

“As they witness, give or receive an act of kindness through the day, they’ll move a charm,” said Laurie Hall, teacher of art and special education at the school. Hopefully, later, at home, “they talk about what they’ve done to move them.”

The bracelets are threaded so that people can slide the 10 beads deliberately, without them slipping backward again.

School concerts offering holiday music to community

Children across the land have been preparing for the upcoming slate of holiday concerts almost as diligently as they’ve worked on their lists for Santa. Horns are tooting, drummers are drumming and singers are tuning their pipes in anticipation of the chance to shine in front of their families and friends and spread some holiday cheer while they’re at it.

G.W. Carver serves up Thanksgiving for APELL students in need

Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Students from the G.W. Carver school enjoy a traditional American Thanksgiving meal on Friday, Nov. 18.Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Students from the G.W. Carver school enjoy a traditional American Thanksgiving meal on Friday, Nov. 18.At the G.W. Carver Center in Frankford on Nov. 18, the APELL (Advancing Proficiency of English Language Learners) staff was thankful for community.

With local residents coming together to not only donate, but volunteer, that’s how they were able to put on their second annual Thanksgiving feast for immigrant students, introducing most of them to their first traditional Thanksgiving with a celebratory feast.

“I think it was wonderful to see so many people involved with trying to make the kids have a welcoming first Thanksgiving in our country,” said Lori Ott, who teaches English and serves as the program’s unofficial “lead teacher” after 22 years in the district.

“The students really appreciated it, and I think the volunteers really enjoyed getting to meet the students. Even though there were language barriers, you could still see them communicating.”

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