Indian River School District
Although not quite so packed as its meeting in October, the Indian River School Board still had a larger audience than usual on Nov. 24. Nearly every member of the public present wanted to discuss the proposed health curriculum and, more specifically, Board Member Shaun Fink’s comments in favor of abstinence-only sexual education and the exclusion of homosexuality from the curriculum.
Most students at Indian River High School aren’t old enough to join the armed forces. But that doesn’t mean the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) can’t celebrate the ideals and 239th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.
“It’s honoring the Marines and the way they celebrate their founding. Without them, we wouldn’t have this,” said sophomore Kayla Emerson.
The U.S. Marine Corps was founded Nov. 10, 1775. Every year, JROTC cadets stand tall at the annual school dinner celebration, hosted with friends and family, this time on Nov. 13.
Those families are “integral to our success” — fundraising, driving students, cleaning uniforms and much more, said instructor Maj. Frank Ryman (Ret.).
“It’s fun giving them a taste of what we do every day at school and sharing fellowship with them,” Emerson said.
Now dressed in camouflage and taking a leadership class, she joined JROTC because she was impressed by a middle-school recruitment day. But she stayed because of “the support from everybody. And you get really close to Gunny and Major,” she said of instructors Lester “Gunny” James and Ryman.
For the second year, the Indian River Band Boosters are raffling off a “Wreath of Wealth,” full of gift cards, to raise money for the upcoming spring band trip.
An American military force that’s older than the United States, the Marine Corps was immensely proud to celebrate 238th birthday last week, and Indian River High School JROTC cadets stood just as tall as their military counterparts at the annual school dinner celebration on Nov. 7.
Founded in 1775, the U.S. Marine Corps now use the cake-serving ceremony as “a symbol of passing traditions, customs and courtesies from the old corps to the new corps,” said JROTC instructor Maj. Frank Ryman (Ret.).
After cutting the cake with a sword, the oldest cadet passes a slice of cake to the youngest cadet. Therefore, C/Pvt. Annel Calles Vildiva ceremoniously passed more than 200 years of history to C/PVT Jessie O’Neal in front of their classmates, families, guests from AMVETS, American Legion, Indian River School Board and more.
Special guest 1st Sgt. Jonathan Dixon told the story of his first experience driving tanks in a training exercise. Smashing through the wilderness was “the best thing in the world” for the 18-year-old, until he drove the tank into a ditch. That night, he was terrified of the flak he might receive from his comrades.
Suspected of swallowing heroin while at Selbyville Middle School, a 13-year-old student now faces drug charges.
During an after-school dance on Friday, Oct. 31, a male student allegedly went into the boys’ bathroom and ingested suspected heroin, said school district spokesman David Maull.
Story edited online Oct. 31, 2014.
On Oct. 27, for the first time in many years, students flooded the Indian River School District’s school board meeting, to denounce a board member’s recent comments about the place of homosexuality and abstinence in health education.
This is just another civil rights movement, said Sussex Central High School senior Matt Price.
Board Member Shaun Fink has made no secret of his desire to eliminate the discussion of homosexuality from the new health curriculum, based on his own religious beliefs. He prefers an abstinence-only course that excludes even the definitions of homosexuality and transgender and related terms.
For seven years, Lighthouse Christian School has been doing their part to honor the nation’s veterans. Each year, around Veterans Day, the school holds a program to honor veterans in the community.
Just three Delaware schools were named 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools, including Frankford’s own John M. Clayton Elementary School. JMC, Lake Forest North Elementary and the Academy of Dover charter school and are among the 337 schools that will be officially honored in November in Washington, D.C.
For nearly a decade in Dagsboro, Indian River High School has made a name for itself in sports, service, academics— in all ways, but one: literally.
IRHS has never had a school sign, until now.
A rainy Saturday couldn’t stop the new 10-by-14-foot electronic sign from proudly glowing on its dedication day. Funded by the IRHS Alumni Association, with support from the community and local legislators, the new sign was dedicated on Oct. 11.
When the new school building opened in the fall of 2005, former principal Mark Steele began socking away extra funds to eventually buy a sign. Principal Bennett Murray continued the tradition and brought that request to the IRHSAA, which began fundraising for it one year ago.
The dedication this week might not have happened for another decade without significant contributions from local lawmakers. State Reps. John Atkins and Ron Gray and state Sen. Gerald Hocker Sr. all donated thousands of dollars, footing the majority of a $40,000 bill.
There is excitement amongst the fourth-graders at Lord Baltimore School in Ocean View. Their school is becoming a sister school with Samata Shiksha Niketan, near Kathmandu, in Nepal. The special focus will be an exchange of art and culture.
Each of the five fourth-grade classes taught by art teacher Melissa Kelly has been visited by Holly Kaufman and her mom, Amy Kaufman, to present the program and answer questions. Holly was herself a student of Kelly’s at Lord Baltimore about 10 years ago, and she has also taught at Samata.
Holly started her presentation with the typical Nepali greeting “Namaste,” her hands prayerfully together and with a little bow. She then proceeded to talk to the students in fluent Nepali, just to give them an idea of how the language sounds. They were impressed. Then Holly used slides to tell the children about Nepal and the differences between their schools and daily lives.
The children at first had difficulty understanding where to find Nepal on a map. Then one remembered that Nepal is where Mount Everest is located and another realized it must be in Asia, and another guessed it was sandwiched between China and India. Nepal is approximately the size of Tennessee. Holly told the students that, because of the high altitude, the Nepalese think their country is at the top of the world.
Indian River High School senior Taite Daisey recently attended the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) Leadership Academy in Washington, D.C. Held Sept. 20-23, the event was attended by HOSA student leaders from across the United States. Daisey is vice president of Delaware’s HOSA chapter and plans to pursue a career as a physician after graduation.
Students were divided into 10-person teams during the four-day academy. They attended leadership courses, participated in team-building activities and toured Washington, D.C. Daisey’s team included students from Hawaii, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan and Wisconsin.
“It was a lot of fun to meet new friends from all over the country,” she said. “I think I learned a lot to bring back to the state.”
Shirley Townsend, an instructor in Indian River High School’s Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program, said Daisey has played a major role in building the school’s HOSA chapter, which is only two years old. Daisey also serves as vice president of the IRHS chapter.
“Taite is in a class by herself,” Townsend said. “She’s very much a go-getter.”
The Indian River School District’s Adult Education course offerings for Fall 2014 can now be viewed online at irsd.net, officials announced this week.
Nearly 10,000 students attend schools in the Indian River School District, and school officials aren’t done counting, since state funding is based on student populations on Sept. 30. At this point, the IRSD has 9,872 students — a number that will likely increase in the next week.
That’s already 437 students more than last year’s 9,435 students.
“That’s the state’s indication of how much money we are going to receive,” said Assistant Superintendent Mark Steele at the school board’s most recent meeting.
Because the State of Delaware funds a certain number of staff based on unit count, IRSD is currently understaffed, until that additional funding arrives for about 30 more positions.
Sussex County students can earn a lesson in politics — and pocket a little cash for their education — this election season, as the County is once again is sponsoring its Election Year Scholarship Contest for local students. As in elections past, students will be asked to predict which candidates will win office in the 2014 general election, set for Nov. 4.
After being ousted from his position as school principal in January, John Turssline of Ocean View is on administrative leave from Indian River School District after violating a personal restraining order. Turssline was the assistant head of school (similar to assistant principal) at G. W. Carver Academy, an alternative school in Frankford.
School bus routes are affecting more than just parents. Sharon Moore and her coworker stood before the Indian River School District Board of Education on Aug. 25 to share how direly the new bus schedule could affect Guardian Angel Daycare.
Living just 15 minutes from Phillip C. Showell Elementary, the school’s new principal can’t wait to get involved in her school community, and Heather Bethurum’s short commute to Selbyville means she can really live in her school community.
“It’s so much easier to be involved in evening things,” she said, coming from Millsboro. “It’s important to go to the festivals or see kids at the grocery store sometimes, and I didn’t see that at Seaford. I loved my school, but it was just time to consolidate.”
Bethurum was principal of Blades Elementary in Seaford for two years. Before becoming assistant principal, she taught art and enrichment.
In the beginning of her PCS tenure, Bethurum is “just getting to know everybody. There are so many things that are working here so well. The challenge is not to change things that are working so well,” but step into the system and make changes together. “The staff here is very capable. I’d rather come in alongside them.
“What a fabulous school. The staff has been so friendly,” Bethurum said. “The community’s been wonderful.”
She’s worked with returning Assistant Principal Brandon Snyder on a revamped schedule and local emergency responders for drills.
Head coach Steve Kilby and the Indian River High School soccer team will have a few streaks to defend this season, looking for not only their seventh consecutive conference championship, but another state championship, as well, after the team made history with their first ever DIAA title last season.
However, after graduating eight seniors from last year’s roster, the Indians will have to do so behind the leadership of a few key returners and a youth infusion from some talented incoming freshmen.
One of the most crucial roles that needed to be filled was in the goal, with All-State keeper Sam Cannon now playing at Lynchburg College. Kilby said this week that junior goalie Ian Walls was adjusting well to his new starting role.
“Ian’s looking very solid. We’ve been fortunate to have a legacy of goalkeepers at Indian River, and I think Ian’s gonna fit that role,” Kilby said. “He got in some big minutes in the conference championship game, and he played in several games for us last year.”
In the field, the Indians will rely on three returning All-State seniors and captains: midfielder Luis Cruz, midfielder Danny Garza and defender Sean Whelen.
“Luis is healthy. We’re kind of looking for him to play a big role in the central midfield, get him forward when we need to,” Kilby explained.
Selbyville Middle School has a new leader at the helm this year. Jason Macrides is excited to join SMS students, staff and parents.
“I come to the Indian River School District with a high level of excitement and enthusiasm, and they can count on getting my best every day,” he said.
Macrides (pronounced “mac-REED-ess”) was the principal at Delmar Middle School for two years and assistant principal there before that. He taught social studies at Stephen Decatur High School for 13 years prior to his administrative roles, also coaching lacrosse.
“Education allowed me to combine the things I loved as a younger person,” he said, pointing out that it has allowed him to share his love of history “and continuing my involvement in athletics via coaching.”
Originally from Syracuse, N.Y., Macrides came to Salisbury University for its lacrosse team, but stayed for the teaching program. Now he loves working at a middle school.
“I don’t think I’d have it any other way. Middle-school kids — they’re still malleable, they’re receptive, they’re eager. They come to school excited,” Macrides said. “That just makes for a great atmosphere. I really do enjoy working with the middle-school kids [although] they have their quirks.”
As Macrides often tells parents, his outlook changed when he joined their ranks and became a parent himself four years ago.
The Indian River School District is teaching at all hours of the day, having announced its Adult Education offerings for the fall of 2014, which include everything from babysitting certification to aerobics.
This year, Self-Defense and Karate returns to the lineup on Tuesday nights, Sept. 9 to Dec. 16, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at John M. Clayton Elementary. People can join to get a few self-defense basics that might come in handy in a dark parking lot, or they can begin long-term training, so the person who dreams of a black belt can continue taking these sessions in winter or spring.
Classes are flexible, so people can skip a semester or work side-by-side with people at vastly different skill levels.
The Indian River School District will host a special public information session regarding school choice on Monday, Aug. 25, at Sussex Central High School at 6 p.m. The session will take place prior to the regularly-scheduled Board of Education meeting at 7 p.m.
Kids at Phillip C. Showell Elementary School can now go outside the classroom to learn, thanks to the help of Eagle Scout Michael Thompson.
Like it or not, September is coming, but Indian River High School officials want new students to feel at home immediately. IRHS is inviting all incoming ninth-graders and any transfer students to a New Student Orientation on Thursday, Aug. 21, at 6:30 p.m.
“It’s something that we’ve always wanted to do” — prepare students for the next four years, said Principal Bennett Murray.
The Indian River School District’s Adult Education course offerings for Fall 2014 can now be viewed online at irsd.net, officials announced this week.
Fall 2014 courses for youth include:
• Babysitting Course — Delaware Safety Council: Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 6-7, 4:30-7 p.m., $50, Lord Baltimore Elementary School library. Advance registration required.