Indian River School District
This spring, outgoing fifth-grader Brynn McCabe was named a 2015 Carson Scholar, capping her experience at Phillip C. Showell Elementary School.
The Carson Scholars Fund awards $1,000 college scholarships to students in grades 4 to 11.
Hayden McWilliams and Griffin McCormick, students at Indian River High School, recently attended the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar held at Wesley College in Dover. They joined more than 70 other young high school leaders from the region June 5-7.
Denise Adkins is sometimes blown away by her eldest vocal students at Southern Delaware School of the Arts.
“They have a great ear,” Adkins said of the students in grades 7 and 8. “You can sing a melody, and they just make up harmonies to go with it.”
Whether working with elementary students once weekly or the music majors three times weekly, SDSA’s Teacher of the Year for 2015-2016 loves when the students’ music comes together: “When the kids get really, really excited about something, and they’re surprised that they do it,” Adkins said, “and they get that great sound.”
Now in her 11th year of teaching at SDSA, Adkins spent the last decade as the vocal music teacher. Although she trained and spent 15 years in special education, her passion blossomed in music education.
Charlynne Hopkins of John M. Clayton Elementary School in Frankford has been named Delaware’s Elementary School Principal of the Year for 2015.
The announcement was made during a special assembly at the school on Friday, May 29. Hopkins was presented the award by Indian River School District officials and representatives from the Delaware Association of School Administrators (DASA).
Indian River High School recently announced its honor roll students for the third marking period in the 2014-2015 school year.
Students receiving High Honors (grades 93 to 100) were:
The Academic Challenge Program at Delaware Technical Community College’s Owens Campus recently held its annual awards ceremony for the 2014-2015 academic year.
The Indian River School District’s school board is down one member after Shaun Fink resigned last week. Fink submitted a letter of resignation to the superintendent and the board president on Wednesday, June 27, the day after Sussex Central High School’s graduation.
Graduation caps were flying before the graduation ceremony even ended at Indian River High School on May 27. The Class of 2015 held frantically onto their mortarboards as the wind gusted on an otherwise beautiful evening in the school’s football stadium.
“If somebody asked me ‘rain or wind,’ I’ll take wind any day,” Principal Bennett Murray said, beginning the 46th commencement at IRHS.
“What a group of young adults we have this evening, and we are proud of each and every one of them,” he said of the 199 grads.
Murray estimated that about 82 percent of the class will continue their education at colleges in Delaware, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Tennessee, California and more. Another 5 percent are going into the military, and 15 percent will directly enter the workforce.
Although her classroom is at the end a long hallway, Marci Ginsberg’s art class does not exist in a vacuum. At John M. Clayton Elementary School, she uses art to build upon regular classroom lessons.
When fourth-graders learn about polygons, she’ll teach Picasso. When science classes learn about landforms, she’ll teach landscapes, pointing out the mountains and plateaus. She’s also inspired by current events, such as space shuttle or rocket launches.
That’s part of what made Ginsberg the JMC Teacher of the Year for 2015-2016.
“I extend their learning or refine it into another way, and it’s really cool to see them make those connections,” Ginsberg said of the students.
She works closely with other teachers, building on their lessons. She also wrote module maps, so other specialist teachers can follow core classroom standards.
“She tries to align her classroom to what [teachers] are doing and the state standards,” said JMC Principal Charlynn “Char” Hopkins.
The Ocean View Historical Complex was buzzing with excitement last Friday, as all five fifth-grade classes from Lord Baltimore Elementary School were able to tour the facilities.
“It’s important, I think, for the kids to see physically what life was like in the past, what people had to deal with,” said Richard Nippes, president of the historical society.
Students were able to tour the Tunnell-West house, furnished with period furniture and artifacts; an 1800s outhouse; the town’s first post office, built in 1889; and an exact replica of Cecile Steele’s first chicken house.
While in the Tunnell-West house, students were given a tour and then sent on a scavenger hunt to find objects that they wouldn’t necessarily be familiar with today, such as a chamber pot.
They would also go outside to use a period water pump — to understand that indoor plumbing was not available when the house was built in the late 1800s.
Plenty has happened around the community over the off-season. In case you’ve been out of town, or have just been too busy to stay on top of things, here are some of the items that could most affect your summer season.
The Indian River School District will begin using a new payment system in all cafeterias, starting June 1.
Currently, parents can prepay for their children’s meals online with the PayPAMS system. However, that payment system will be deactivated on May 27 and replaced later this summer.
Four local students are capping the school year with a June trip to Anaheim, Calif. After earning gold and silver medals at the state leadership conference, the Indian River High School students will represent Delaware at the national conference of HOSA: Future Health Professionals.
Formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America, HOSA lets students learn and become leaders as they approach careers in the health field.
At state compeition in March, Meghan Paulus won first place for the Pathophysiology event; Taite Daisey won first for the Nutrition event; and Bridgette Blatzheim and Samantha Mushrush took second for the Health Career Display event. Coaches Shelly Robinson and Shirley Townsend led the team.
Paulus and Daisey demonstrated their expertise on paper at the state competition. Paulus won for pathophysiology, “the study of disease and functions in the body,” she said. That ranged from the stomach to the brain.
The Indian River School District will remain in the hands of incumbent school board members for another year. In the May 12 election, three candidates kept their seats on the Board of Education. The unofficial results were posted within an hour of the polls closing.
As she makes her way up the stairs of John M. Clayton School near Frankford — stopping every so often for an enthusiastic hug hello, careful not to miss one and unable to even if she might have — it doesn’t take long to tell that counselor Jan Bomhardt is... well, kind of “the bomb.”
That notion was made official on March 27, when Bomhardt was named the 2015 Elementary School Counselor of the Year for the state of Delaware and garnered some well-deserved recognition in the process.
“We knew she was going to be so excited,” said John M. Clayton Principal Charlynne Hopkins, who got the news a week before it was officially announced at a counselor’s luncheon in Dover. “So deserving. She’s part of our heartbeat every day. [We] couldn’t do it without her.”
While her colleagues were somehow able to keep the booming news a secret, Bomhardt still had her suspicions when both Hopkins and Vice Principal Allisa Booth accompanied her to the luncheon.
Business is the name of the game for Indian River High School’s BPA, which racked up another year of awards at the state competition this spring.
Business Professionals of America introduces students to the real world of business, and IRHS students emerged triumphant from the spring competition at Dover Downs, where hundreds of students showed their business prowess in research, administration, finance, communication, marketing and more.
With their months of hard work, IRHS students earned a chance to represent the First State at the BPA National Leadership Conference. On May 10, the finalists returned from the five-day event in Anaheim, Calif.
“It’s a really neat experience. I’m excited for everyone to go,” Hannah Davis said beforehand, having attended in 2014. “Everyone’s arriving on the same day. You’re already kind of scouting your competition.”
That mirrors a real-world business conference, advisor Jeff Bunting said.
“Not only are they there to compete, they’re there to learn in numerous seminars, workshops, networking opportunities and general informal schmoozing.”
Although he had to take a break from athletics, Charles Wayne still wanted his Eagle Scout project to help Indian River High School. So the Eagle candidate built three portable equipment boxes for the IRHS Athletic Department.
To reach the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts plan their own community service project, and as an IR senior and equipment manager for football, Wayne knew the team “didn’t really have an equipment box.” With that in mind, he also approached the other sports teams: “Hey, would you like one, as well?’”
In the end, lacrosse, soccer and football said yes.
“This is your equipment box,” Wayne told soccer coach Steve Kilby on April 23. “The idea behind it is to outfit a whole player.”
The 4-by-1.5-foot wooden cart is 2 feet deep, with two compartments. The larger is wide open, while the smaller latches shut. With wheels at one end and a handle on the other, the cart only needs one person to tote it, like a wheelbarrow. Or it can stand up, like a closet.
Three candidates are vying for one seat on Indian River School District’s Board of Education in the May 12 election. Voters in District 4 will choose between incumbent Charles M. Bireley, and challengers Gregory Michael Goldman and Judith Ladd Teoli.
Each term on the board is now five years. The winner will represent District 4, which includes Frankford, west Dagsboro and points east.
East Millsboro Elementary School received a threat on Tuesday, May 5, which placed the entire Indian River School District in a low-level lockdown.
According to Delaware State Police, around 9:50 a.m. “an unknown person called the main office of East Millsboro Elementary School, located at 29346 Iron Branch Road, Millsboro, and threatened to harm the children at that school.”
For 14 years, Jennifer Cordrey has inspired students, delighted parents and earned praise from her administrators at Indian River High School. Now the agri-science teacher has been named IR School District’s Teacher of the year.
The surprise announcement was made April 30 at the annual Teacher of the Year celebration, held near Long Neck. She was chosen as the district’s overall winner from a pool of 16 candidates — one from each school.
The audience watched video presentations about each candidate. They chuckled to see Cordrey handling a dog in her classroom. A voiceover described Cordrey’s dedication to education, as written by her coworkers, students and their parents.
“Mrs. Cordrey’s encouragement shaped me into the person I have always wanted to be, and her faith in me unlocked the potential I never thought I had,” one student said.
As of 12:20 p.m., the lockdown was lifted at Indian River School District. Delaware State Police determined that the threat at East Millsboro Elementary was not credible. School and afternoon activities will continue as usual.
School board candidates got to face their electorate directly last week, answering questions in a District 4 debate on April 21. The League of Women Voters in Sussex County hosted the non-partisan debate among candidates for the Indian River School District’s Board of Education
The Indian River School District’s school board is looking on the sunny side, having voted April 28 to take the first step toward solar power.
Sussex Central High School was one of five Delaware locations chosen for a Solar Resiliency Pilot Program.
Not only would the school “go green,” but the solar array saves money and is installed at no cost to the school district.
More than 20 years have passed since the county chorus concert, as they can recall. But a group of Sussex County teachers decided to start up the music again, forming the 2015 Sussex County Junior Honor Choir, which performed for one grand night, on April 1.
The project began last summer, with a group of teachers lamenting the lack of a choral equivalent to the county band.
“Do you want to just do it? Who says we can’t do it?” Laura Day, Georgetown Middle School choral and band teacher, recalled the group asking.
According to anecdote, the last junior concert was in 1986. A current chorus teacher remembers senior chorus in 1993.
“The only thing chorus has is All-State Chorus, but it’s very selective,” said Eric Tsavdar, Selbyville Middle School chorus director. “It gives the opportunity for students who maybe aren’t All-State level singers yet to kind of break out of their school choir and sing with a more [advanced] group.”
High schools will be invited to participate next year, and auditions will be added in future.
About 40 high school juniors filled the Sussex County Council chambers last Thursday, April 16. They were not in chambers to request a grant or make public comment on a proposed ordinance, but rather as representatives of Girls and Boys State.
Boys and Girls State are programs through the American Legion, offering high school juniors the opportunity to become part of the operation of local, county and state government.
“The national organization requires them to be a member of the junior class, becoming seniors in the fall,” explained Lyman Brenner, chairman of Delaware Boys State. “The state of Delaware has added, too, that they must be in the upper third of their class academically.”
Boys State has existed in Delaware since 1946, and those who wish to participate may be recommended from their school, previous Boys and Girls State participants, American Legion posts or military service academy nominees.