Learning Points

Bingo! IR Band Boosters to host fundraiser Friday night

It’s time to break out those bingo daubers, at the 8th Annual Bingo Fundraiser, hosted by the Indian River High School Band Boosters.

Players can get the thrill of being in a speedy game of bingo on Friday, March 4, at the Millville Volunteer Fire Company’s fire hall, all while supporting the band. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and games start at 7 p.m.

Lego Maniacs

SMS building Lego robotics club to compete statewide

Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell: Selbyville Middle School's First Lego League team, the ‘Block Busters,’ shows off their robot, ‘The Terminator.’ Not pictured is James Cook.Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell: Selbyville Middle School's First Lego League team, the ‘Block Busters,’ shows off their robot, ‘The Terminator.’ Not pictured is James Cook.They might have named their team robot “The Terminator.” They might have a “team snack,” and it might be popcorn. But chances are, you probably aren’t as smart as these fifth graders — at least, not when it comes to Lego engineering.

The “Block Busters,” made up primarily of Selbyville Middle School students, is currently in the midst of their inaugural year as members of the First Lego League (FLL), going up against other schools from across the state in Lego-based robotics competitions.

According to coach Chester Boggs — who’s been involved with FLL for nine years — while his squad might be young, so far this season they haven’t looked much like rookies. In fact, the team nearly tripled their score from the first scrimmage of the season to the second and appears on track to add more points at the FLL Challenge.

“We’ve come a long ways,” said Boggs. “We were looking at 129 points the first scrimmage, and they were over 327 at the tournament. They’re on track to be somewhere in the 450 to 490 range.”

District needs new schools to address overcrowding

One problem to address: three new schools for voter approval

Students are squeezed into conference rooms and shuffled into auditoriums. Teachers are working out of boxes instead of classrooms.

The Indian River School District just needs more space.

District officials have dreamed about a new school for several years, but now they’ve got four new schools on the brain, plus two major additions.

‘Under’ the spotlight: SCHS original musical digs into mysterious deaths

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Chilling between scenes are Rebecca Bristow (Dr. Joy Lovejoy), Braeden Swain (James Dean) and Richard Jake Ward (Jimmy Hoffa).Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Chilling between scenes are Rebecca Bristow (Dr. Joy Lovejoy), Braeden Swain (James Dean) and Richard Jake Ward (Jimmy Hoffa).Ponce de Leon would be jealous. The Fountain of Youth was discovered in a new musical, opening soon at Sussex Central High School.

In March, the Take Two Drama Club will debut an original show, “Under,” created by two school district teachers.

The zany comedy was written by David Warick, SCHS drama teacher, with music and lyrics by Eric Tsavdar, Selbyville Middle School music teacher.

In the show, after discovering an elixir of life in Florida in the late 1950s, a billionaire secretly builds the town of Under. Real-life celebrities known for mysterious deaths or disappearances came to this underground utopia.

Here, Marilyn Monroe has become warm and nurturing, Billie Holiday is a wise woman, and James Dean is still cool.

“They have their talent, but they don’t have an audience,” Warick said. “We come in at a time where there’s a lot of problems.”

IR Multicultural Art Festival to warm the mid-winter

Art and music will be on display as Indian River High School hosts a lively new concert, mid-winter and mid-week. The Multicultural Art Festival & Concert are free to the public on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at the Dagsboro high school.

Guests can arrive at 6 p.m. for the fine-art exhibit, then be seated for the 6:30 p.m. band and chorus concert.

Millsboro Middle School student picked as a top youth volunteer

Millsboro Middle School student Will Kenney, 13, of Delmar and Micah Freer, 18, of Wilmington were recently named Delaware’s top two youth volunteers of 2016 by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism.

Local teen’s group spearheading the fight against veteran suicide

Coastal Point photos • Submitted: Indian River High School JROTC students organize food, clothing and toiletry donations.Coastal Point photos • Submitted: Indian River High School JROTC students organize food, clothing and toiletry donations.Sussex County is a small place, but it’s not immune to nationwide problems, including military veterans committing suicide. Some young people have been victims, but some of their peers are now pushing for a brighter future.

Richard Pope, 18, founded Operation Yellow Spear in 2015 “to spearhead the assault on veteran suicide through art, love and grace.”

Based in Laurel, his homeless outreach program is attacking the statistics from the ground up.

“Veteran suicide starts with the community they live in and the struggles they face. We’re reaching out to veteran homelessness, because that can lead to suicide,” Pope said.

Bomb threat called into Clayton Elementary, nothing found

A Frankford elementary school this week joined the long list of schools being harassed by bomb threats.

School district trades additional staff positions for cash

Having exceeded a certain number of students enrolled, the Indian River School District is eligible for State funding to hire additional staff, but district officials have instead chosen to use the money for other expenses.

Two seats on IRSD board up for election on May 10

Election will determine reps from Districts 2, 3

Candidates may now file to run in the 2016 school board elections. The Indian River School District has two positions up for election on Tuesday, May 10.

There is a four-year term in District 2 (north Millsboro and southern Georgetown).

There is a two-year term in District 3 (south Millsboro and northern Dagsboro). Terms begin on July 1.

IRSD: Kids are safe, despite bomb threats

Almost daily bomb threats are weighing heavily on parents, as schools across the Delmarva Peninsula are peppered with (thus far unfounded) bomb threats.

The Indian River School District is encouraging families to remain calm, despite receiving threats at four schools between Jan. 11 and Jan. 20.

Teen scholarship writing contest will reward stories about diversity

To push back against stereotyping, intolerance, racism and bullying, high school students across the region are being encouraged to write and illustrate books that highlight diversity and inclusion.

H.T. Ennis briefly shut down for pool pump problems

Strong smell raises concerns, but ‘resolved’

Due to a problem in the school’s swimming pool pump room, the Howard T. Ennis School was briefly evacuated on Tuesday, Dec. 22.

“Apparently, there was a strong burning smell coming out of that pump room, and they were concerned” about the potential for a fire,” said David Maull, Indian River School District spokesperson. “It’s all resolved now.”

Public can register for free adult literacy program

Adults who struggle with reading can get a boost at the Frankford Public Library.

To help Sussex County adults with low literacy skills, the library started a free reading program through Literacy Volunteers Serving Adults (LVSA).

IR staff may be prohibited from sharing rides, social media with students

In a perfect world, every student athlete has parents or friends cheering on the sidelines. In real life, some kids can’t even get a ride home from practice.

Painting and packing holiday warmth:

SDSA students send supplies to homeless shelter

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Southern Delaware School of the Arts students were at times a flurry of hands as they packed six suitcases of supplies for a homeless shelter.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Southern Delaware School of the Arts students were at times a flurry of hands as they packed six suitcases of supplies for a homeless shelter.Students at one Selbyville school got a glimpse of gratefulness this month when they sent donations to a Salisbury, Md., homeless shelter. Southern Delaware School of the Arts students painted and filled six suitcases with supplies for HALO, a faith-based ministry that serves those who are homeless or in need.

The Junior Honor Society eighth-graders learned to be more grateful as they packed suitcases on Dec. 14. They categorized each suitcase by items: toiletries, warm hats, blankets, gloves, socks, diapers, books and games.

“Some of these things are common needs, and I can’t imagine not having these things in my life,” said student Grace Morris. “So the fact that people need these things so much just really shows you how much you should be grateful for the things you have.”

Sussex County high-schoolers to award $10,000 in grants

Funds available to treat substance abuse, harassment and suicide prevention

Who should serve on a nonprofit board? Typically, high-ranking folks in business, arts, medicine or education are responsible for bestowing thousands of dollars in grant money.

Indian River health teacher: Ease up on the vaccines

Paris Mitchell and his own children have been vaccinated. But, given what he’s learned in the past few years, he said he would have second thoughts if given the opportunity to vaccinate now.

WWII in the spotlight at Lighthouse Christian

Coastal Point photos • Laura Walter: Students at Lighthouse Christian School prepare to sing ‘The Lord’s Army’ to veterans on Veterans’ Day. Below, veterans line up for handshakes and thanks from everyone in attendance.Coastal Point photos • Laura Walter: Students at Lighthouse Christian School prepare to sing ‘The Lord’s Army’ to veterans on Veterans’ Day. Below, veterans line up for handshakes and thanks from everyone in attendance.Lighthouse Christian School is on a mission to teach students to honor U.S. veterans, filling their Dagsboro chapel at their annual Veterans Day program on Nov. 13.

A special tribute to World War II included student-led skits, prayers, songs and recognition of military families.

Before a full house of veterans and families, children sang songs from the 1940s, explained memory boxes and witnessed a POW/MIA remembrance ceremony.

Lighthouse Christian has two main goals, said organizer Pat Viguie: first, to honor veterans, families, current service members and those who paid the ultimate price.

The second mission is to educate. Children ages 3 to 14 put hours of work into the performance before the event even begins.

“We love America and we love our veterans,” Viguie said.

Worcester County, Board of Education escalate battle over school

Called to the carpet three weeks ago by the Worcester County Commissioners and facing a Nov. 23 deadline from the state for construction plans to replace Showell Elementary School, Dr. Jerry Wilson, Worcester superintendent of schools, continued to stand his ground Tuesday.

These kids will ‘Bee’ great spellers

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: In a battle of words, nearly 30 students competed in the first Southern Sussex Rotary Third Grade Spelling Bee, here with State Rep. Ron Gray and organizer Brendan Crotty.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: In a battle of words, nearly 30 students competed in the first Southern Sussex Rotary Third Grade Spelling Bee, here with State Rep. Ron Gray and organizer Brendan Crotty.One letter at a time, local students made history at the first Southern Sussex Rotary Third Grade Spelling Bee on Nov. 10. In all, 30 students (two per classroom) were invited to represent their elementary schools: Phillip C. Showell, Lord Baltimore, John M. Clayton and Southern Delaware School of the Arts.

First place went to Rosnell Lewis of JMC (teacher Yanira Stoker). Second place was Katelyn Wingate, and third place was Gabriel Young (both from Olivia Lein’s classroom at LB).

For years, the Southern Sussex Rotary has provided a dictionary to every third-grader in the area. This year, these books prepped students for the first annual Southern Sussex Rotary Third Grade Spelling Bee.

The evening started with words like “birthday,” “young,” “across,” “leave” and “true.” Although it was single elimination for the first round, they were allowed to restart a word after an error, since they’re younger than the usual Spelling Bee age.

Students, staff feel the strain of increased population

An educator’s job is to support his or her students. But this month, Sussex Central High School’s student government lobbied for their staff, which is feeling the weight of a growing student population.

Student council president, senior Charlie Megginson described a recent meeting between State Rep. Ruth Briggs King and a cross-section of Sussex Central High School students.

Costumed kids ready for Halloween

Coastal Point • Kerin Magill: These boys are ready for Halloween and told the Coastal Point what they’ll be up to on Halloween this year. From left are:?Jaxon Rickards, Howard Toomey, Angelo Retzos and William Retzos.Coastal Point • Kerin Magill: These boys are ready for Halloween and told the Coastal Point what they’ll be up to on Halloween this year. From left are:?Jaxon Rickards, Howard Toomey, Angelo Retzos and William Retzos.Halloween is upon us, and no one is more excited that the children of southeastern Sussex County. The Coastal Point spoke with four youngsters at John M. Clayton Elementary School in Dagsboro this week to find out just who or what they are planning to be when they hit the streets in search of treats this weekend.

Second-grader Angelo Retzos is planning to dress up as a police officer. When asked why he wants to don the uniform of such a community superhero, he declared that “me and my friend always go trick-or-treating together and we always dress up as the same thing” — ever since they were little kids, in fact, added 7-year-old Retzos.

At the ripe old age of 10, fifth-grader Harold Toomey declared, “I don’t really trick-or-treat.”

“I’m just going to wear a mask and scare people,” he said, although he admitted that he and his scary mask might just find their way onto a front porch or two on Halloween night in search of candy. With all those years of Halloween fun behind him, Toomey said the year he was a zombie was probably his favorite.

Worcester Prep students earn Advanced Placement honors

Worcester Preparatory School (WPS) students in the Class of 2016 and alumni from the Class of 2015 captured 43 Advanced Placement honors from the College Board, the school announced this week.

State senator proposes mail-in voting for school elections

Mail-in voting could improve elections in Delaware, according to state Sen. Karen Peterson (D-Stanton), as public discussion begins over her bill proposing mail-in ballots for school-related elections. Introduced in July, SB 165 is titled “An act to amend the Delaware Code relating to public school elections.”

Literacy at the library: Volunteers sought to teach adult literacy

Most people take reading for granted. From email and medicine bottles to the occasional birthday card, Americans are constantly reading. But life isn’t so simple for people with low literacy levels, so the Frankford Public Library (FPL) is looking for people interested becoming tutors for adult literacy.

IRSD hits 10,000 students, examines state test numbers

The Indian River School District’s student population has unofficially hit the 10,000 mark.

The State of Delaware doesn’t take its official tally until Sept. 30, so there is still time for students to enroll or leave the district. But as of Sept. 21, the count was 10,208, which is 366 more than last year’s 9,842 students.

Mediacom offers $55,000 in scholarships to high-school seniors

Mediacom Communications is offering $55,000 in scholarship support for high-school seniors who plan to obtain further education. The scholarship program is in its 15th consecutive year and Mediacom’s investment will award $1,000 World Class Scholarships to 55 high-school seniors.

Rozell makes Dean’s List at Delaware Valley University

Steven Rozell, a resident of Frankford, was recently honored for academic achievement by being named to the Dean’s List at Delaware Valley University for the Spring 2015 semester.

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