A Lighthouse Christian Middle School sixth-grader has been granted a special exception from the Dagsboro school’s dress code for the last year. Dillon Polly, 11, of Laurel, has spent the last year growing out his blond hair to donate to a wig-making charity for children.
For one week this summer, Drew Szlasa was flying airplanes, or controlling them from an aircraft carrier ship.
But this Selbyville Middle School eighth-grader wasn’t really up the air or at sea. She was in an immersive National Flight Academy summer camp, with hints of virtual reality, at Pensacola, Fla.
The whole building was designed to look and feel like a ship. Even the dorms were laid out like an aircraft carrier.
There were two teams — those flying the aircraft, plus the mission control team helping the aircraft navigate.
“They had these flight simulators where they taught you how to fly it,” said Szlasa. “There was this place called the JIC [Joint Intelligence Center] where you told the planes where to go.”
When flying, the plane started on the actual boat, “and then you take off from there,” she said. “The aircraft was really fun. … It was laid out like an actual airplane. It would be just you and a co-pilot.”
Every day at the flight simulator, campers sat in front of screens, maps and diagrams to complete the mission.
Life has changed since Gov. Jack Markell graduated from Newark High School in 1978. Back then, he said, people could get a decent job immediately after high school.
Nowadays, to find a job “that’s going to allow you to pay the kind of life you probably want to lead, you’re going to have to pursue additional training after high school,” Markell told Indian River High School seniors this week. “That doesn’t mean you have to start immediately after high school. But in order to advance, you’re really going to have to continue to invest in your education.”
Markell isn’t saying everyone needs a two- or four-year degree.
But the State of Delaware has invested in post-secondary training, and students should, too, Markell told the IRHS senior class on Sept. 20.
His visit was part of Delaware Department of Education’s third annual senior class tour, which supports students in transitioning from high school to college and career.
The Delaware State Police Explorers program consists of young men and women who have an interest in law enforcement.
This past spring, Indian River High School students collectively took 152 Advanced Placement exams. They blew those exams out of the water, earning “qualifying scores” on 76 percent of those exams, far exceeding the national average of 57 percent. They also won about two dozen scholar awards.
Patricia Dailey-Lewis, who heads the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children, recalls the moment the foundation was born.
The Delaware Botanic Gardens has selected four expert speakers for its upcoming lecture series, beginning in September 2016 and continuing through April 2017. Admission to all lectures is free.
• Sept. 24 — Donald Pell, “Embracing the Regional Landscape,” 10 a.m. to noon, South Coastal Library, 43 Kent Avenue, Bethany Beach.
Indian River School District will welcome more than 10,000 students back to school when the 2016-2017 school year begins on Tuesday, Sept. 6. Preschool programs, including Project Village and TOTS, will begin on Monday, Sept. 12. The last day of school for students is Friday, June 16, 2017. The last day for preschool is Friday, June 9, 2017.
Indian River School District officials have been telling people for years now that the student population is growing much faster than once anticipated. This month, the school board slashed the district’s budget by about 13 percent, amidst plans to potentially build three new buildings and renovate three more in the near future.
The cafeteria at the Southern Delaware School of the Arts resembled a giant classroom on the morning of Monday, Aug. 22, with fresh faces seated at rows of tables, surrounded by shiny, colorful new school supplies — except that many of those at the desks had brought their own cups of coffee and all were at least in their early to mid-20s.
Readers who think young people today spend too much time on computers might want to stop right here. On second thought, keep reading… and be impressed.
Two students in Indian River High School’s Junior ROTC program spent a week in August at CyberPatriot camp at the Randolph Macon Academy in Front Royal, Va. The camp is part of a cybersecurity education program in which teams from all over the country learn cybersecurity tactics and compete against each other to identify threats and defuse them.
The program was started in 2009 by the U.S. Air Force Association and funded by the Department of Defense.
The AFA has been increasingly concerned with cybersecurity — keeping the nation safe from threats against computer systems. Disruption of computer systems can cause major damage to the country’s banking, commerce, manufacturing, defense and other industries — and the CyberPatriot program has several goals that address those threats.
This year, hundreds of Indian River School District parents will begin navigating a new pathway they didn’t expect: special education services for their kids.
It’s a tricky road to follow. Families try advocate for their children, sometimes not even fully understanding the educational process and their rights.
August is National Family Fun Month, so here are some ideas of free or low-cost activities brought to you from Beacon Pediatrics and Beebe Healthcare, to keep your family healthy, safe and active for the rest of summer!
Teachers are trusted to manage classrooms, from grades to discipline. But when parents are unhappy with a teacher’s decision, they’re sometimes taking advantage of the system, according one local teacher.
At Indian River High School, students aren’t getting equal treatment when parents demand that the administration intervene, said physical education teacher Wendy Megee.
This year, 10 students of all ages won college scholarships from the Indian River High School Alumni Association.
The group far surpassed their original goal of awarding four IR Pride Scholarships, which were presented to college students and to recent high school graduates at their Aug. 1 meeting.
Five recent grads won the $1,000 IR Pride Scholarship; four alumni won the $500 IR Pride Scholarships for Current Alumni; and one grad won a special memorial scholarship of $3,150.
The award celebrates school spirit, beyond the usual academics or athletics.
The Indian River School District recently announced its adult education course offerings for the fall of 2016. They can now be viewed online at irsd.net.
Fall 2016 courses for youth include:
• Babysitting Course by Delaware Safety Council (ages 11-16): Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 17-18, 5-7 p.m., $50, Southern Delaware School of the Arts library. Advance registration required.
The Bethany Area Repertoire Theater (BART) has been providing stage performances to the area for three years, and last week the theater company’s goal of funding scholarships for area students bore fruit.
BART awarded scholarships to three students, all recent graduates from Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes, during a ceremony at BART’s home stage at the Dickens Parlour Theatre in Millville on Friday, July 23.
Robert Ravida, chairman of BART’s scholarship committee, said BART’s intention from the beginning was always to fund arts scholarships with the proceeds from ticket sales for its plays, which are performed on the Dickinson Parlour Theatre stage by an ever-growing group of volunteers from within the community.
Scores from the 2016 Smarter Balanced Assessment, released by the Delaware Department of Education on July 21, revealed that the percentages of Indian River School District students who were proficient in English language arts (ELA) and math were higher than the overall state averages, district officials announced this week.
The Indian River School District is continuing to produce new episodes of its “IRSD Spotlight” podcast. The episodes can be accessed free of charge through iTunes, soundcloud.com, the district website at irsd.net and several mobile podcast apps.
Kelsey Elise Murray and Mikaela Brosnahan, incoming juniors at Indian River High School, recently returned from representing their school and the state of Delaware at the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Lowell, Mass.
The Congress is an honors-only program for high school students who want to become physicians or go into medical research fields.
Administrators and teachers in the Indian River School District will receive child sexual abuse prevention training this summer through a special program sponsored by the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children.
Indian River High School recently announced its honor roll students for the fourth and final marking period in the 2015-2016 school year.
Students receiving High Honors were:
The Delaware Department of Education this week announced the new U.S. Department of Agriculture policy for free and reduced-price meals for children unable to pay the full price for meals served under the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program and After School Snack Program.
Headmaster Dr. Barry Tull recently congratulated the students who made the Worcester Prep Term 4 Headmaster’s List for the 2015-2016 school year.
Students on the Headmaster’s List earned an average of 93 percent or above in their major subjects and had no grade lower than 76 percent in any subject. Local students named to the list included:
The Friends of the Millsboro Library are preparing for their annual book sale. This year’s sale will take place on two weekends, July 29-30 and Aug. 5-6. A preview night for members will take place on Thursday, July 28.
Organizers noted that, each year, the sale has been extremely successful because of the thousands of books the public has donated.
Miller wins LB Teacher of the Year
Surrounded by small desks and chairs, Amanda Miller lights up when she talks about teaching.
Her joy and professionalism combined to make her Lord Baltimore Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year for 2016-2017.
“You only need to spend a short time with Mrs. Miller to learn that she cares very deeply about being an educator and strives to give her very best to her students each and every day,” according to Principal Pam Webb.
“Teaching isn’t just reading, writing and arithmetic anymore. We teach respect and socialization and how to get along with others … so time can be a challenge, fitting all those things in,” Miller said.
The staff of the South Coastal Library is inviting teens to participate in their 2016 Summer Reading Program, with sign-up now under way.
When students graduate from high school, they have decades of life still ahead of them. Indian River High School is again honoring alumni who have made the IRHS family proud with the 2016 Hall of Fame inductions.
Usually, there is just one inductee each year, but this year, two alumni were honored for their service to the community: Vincent E. Mumford (1983) in sports leadership and V. Graig Temple (1993) in emergency services.
“We are looking for high standards and representation up there, so to see two this year is incredible,” Principal Bennett Murray said at the May 25 graduating senior awards night. “There’s so many great Indian River High School alumni — not only in our area, but throughout the nation and world — giving back in [many] ways,” Murray said.
The Indian River High School Alumni Association re-started the Hall of Fame in 2013, honoring grads who have made significant achievements their professional lives and noteworthy contributions to society. They hope that will help inspire the next generation of students.
In what other school would rock band be part of the curriculum?
In the music department of Southern Delaware School of the Arts, Melody Oneschuk marvels that she gets to teach rock-and-roll to middle-schoolers.
Her school and students have marveled right back, as Oneschuk won SDSA Teacher of the Year for 2016-2017.
“[Music] was always just a big part of my life,” said Oneschuk, who realized that teaching fed her desire for music and a steady paycheck.
And she still gets to rock out. SDSA’s ensembles include jazz band and rock band, both of which perform in the community. Twice Removed is the student rock band that plays classic rock, a genre twice removed from the current generation, she said. Spring shows have included tributes to the Who and the Beatles.
She said she loves teaching rock band. It gives kids “the chance to play popular music and have kids play instruments they normally wouldn’t, like guitar or drums.”
At Salisbury University, Oneschuk played clarinet for her music-education major, but she fell in love with the guitar. Years of piano training helped her learn the chords, she said.
The students of the Indian River High School Business Professionals of America (BPA) and Future Farmers of America (FFA) will walk, jog and run to raise funds for the school, which is introducing a program called My School Color Run (MSCR).