Learning Points

School district locked down after East Millsboro threat

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.”

Cordrey wins Indian River School District Teacher of the Year

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Jennifer Cordrey, center, poses with all the IRSD Teacher of the Year school winners.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Jennifer Cordrey, center, poses with all the IRSD Teacher of the Year school winners.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.

Debate gives voters a look at candidates

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

Indian River School District makes first step toward solar power

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.

Lighthouse Christian hosting breakfast to raise funds

Lighthouse Christian School in Dagsboro will be hosting its annual Spring Breakfast Fundraiser this weekend to help collect funds for the school’s Learning Assistance program.

“Every penny goes to helping needy families keep their kids in the private school,” said Rudy Viguie, whose wife, Pat, is the event planner for the school.

Take it from the top: County Chorus returns after more than two decades

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Middle-schoolers in the Sussex County Junior Honor Choir sang their hearts out at the April 1 concert, according to guest director Jane Grudzina.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Middle-schoolers in the Sussex County Junior Honor Choir sang their hearts out at the April 1 concert, according to guest director Jane Grudzina.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.

Boys and Girls State students take over County chambers

Coastal Point • Maria Counts: High school juniors from across Sussex County filled Sussex County Chambers last week as part of the American Legion's Boys and Girls State program.Coastal Point • Maria Counts: High school juniors from across Sussex County filled Sussex County Chambers last week as part of the American Legion's Boys and Girls State program.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.

Sussex Central serious about mock trial

Coastal Point • Submitted  : Sussex Central High School is rocking the Mock Trial. The 2015 team includes (front row, from left) Coach Tom Murphy, Helen Gonzalez, Hallie Smith, Holly Williams, Anya Klimitchev, Attorney Coach Ashley Bickel, Coach Helen Elliott, (back row) Faith Kinsler, Derya Sen, Danny Keenan, Charlie Megginson, Nathan Greenlee, Bryce Molnar, Devon Lynch, Maaz Nasir and Emily Ritter.Coastal Point • Submitted : Sussex Central High School is rocking the Mock Trial. The 2015 team includes (front row, from left) Coach Tom Murphy, Helen Gonzalez, Hallie Smith, Holly Williams, Anya Klimitchev, Attorney Coach Ashley Bickel, Coach Helen Elliott, (back row) Faith Kinsler, Derya Sen, Danny Keenan, Charlie Megginson, Nathan Greenlee, Bryce Molnar, Devon Lynch, Maaz Nasir and Emily Ritter.

“The courtroom is a stage,” a judge once told a local mock-trial team. If that’s the case, then Sussex Central High School is putting on a show. SCHS was the top-ranking public school at the 2015 Delaware State Mock Trial Competition, earning sixth place behind five Wilmington-area private schools and among 24 teams total.

Annually, teams are judged at the New Castle County Court House by a panel of attorneys and other legal professionals. Actual justices preside over the mock-trial courtroom.

A relatively young team, SCHS worked hard for four months, as well as the previous four years.

“Five years ago, we were ranked 25th in the state,” noted coach Helen Elliott.

On average, the school has improved by five spots every year, including taking 11th place in 2014.

Each school has two teams: plaintiff and defense. Both halves compete against other schools in the courtroom, arguing a pre-written case.

Teoli throws hat in the ring for school board

Education is simply “my background,” Judith “Judy” Ladd Teoli said. “It’s what I spent my life doing.”

She’s now turning that lifetime into momentum for her campaign for Indian River School Board’s 2015 election. Teoli is one of four candidates for a single District 4 seat, representing Frankford, west Dagsboro and points east.

Cordrey brings life to the classroom at Indian River High School

Coastal Point • Laura Walter : Jennifer Cordrey laughs with her senior students at Indian River High School.Coastal Point • Laura Walter : Jennifer Cordrey laughs with her senior students at Indian River High School.On a typical day, a gray furball runs circles around Jennifer Cordrey’s classroom at Indian River High School.

Baloo the bunny is one of a menagerie of ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, fish and a chinchilla that live in Cordrey’s room. Leopard geckos are coming soon.

“There’s always been some kind of animal running around,” Cordrey said of her agricultural-science classroom.

Bringing life to the class, Cordrey was named IRHS Teacher of the Year for 2015-2016.

Cordrey has taught “agri-science” — an umbrella term for animal science, horticulture, pre-veterinary science, landscaping, turf management and more — at IRHS for 14 years.

“I’ve always had a knack for animals,” said the woman who once wanted to be a veterinarian. But a college professor planted the seed of teaching in her head, and it blossomed.

That, in turn, led to Indian River’s greenhouse of flowers, pond of fish and classrooms of animals. The diversity of life teaches students to handle unique creatures. They learn the responsibility, but also compassion, needed in raising animals.

Welcome to the show: IR Variety Show returns this weekend

Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark : Krista Carroll prepares for the spotlight at this weekend’­s IRHS?Variety Show.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark : Krista Carroll prepares for the spotlight at this weekend’­s IRHS?Variety Show.Teens are running the show at Indian River High School’s Variety Show, for one weekend only, March 27 and 28.

“We hope to continue to maintain that high level” of performance that the community is used to “and provide nice entertainment for the public,” said IRHS Music Director Nathan Mohler.

The musicians are getting creative, with a drum line, sax quartet and rocking Bruno Mars finale. There’s even an acoustic cover of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.”

The lineup ranges from music to stage routines, including a comedy game show. Musical renditions include a variety of genres: country (Aaron Lewis), R&B (Whitney Houston), pop rock (One Republic), Christian music and more.

Most of the acts have live accompaniment from a 27-piece pit band.

“We have a very good variety,” Mohler said.

The student performers also decided what they wanted to put on stage, choosing their own songs and acts.

“I’ve always felt, in the music world, a performer’s gonna get more out of it [based on] what they put in,” Mohler said. “If they’re doing what they want, they’re gonna care more about it… harbor that same passion and intensity.”

SMS teacher makes a difference at her home school

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Kelsea Dell hopes to make a difference in her students’ lives at Selbyville MIddle School, starting with giving them ownership of their ‘textbook.’Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Kelsea Dell hopes to make a difference in her students’ lives at Selbyville MIddle School, starting with giving them ownership of their ‘textbook.’Kelsea Dell wouldn’t want to do anything else besides teach eighth-grade math at Selbyville Middle School.

“Even though it can be challenging, with the hormonal changes that goes on between sixth and eighth grade … they’re a super-cool group of kids. It’s fun,” Dell said.

After teaching her first year at SMS, she spent four at Millsboro Middle School and has come home to be named Teacher of the Year for 2015-2016 at her own alma mater.

“I wouldn’t do anything else. I graduated from this district,” Dell said. “I loved Millsboro Middle, [but] this is where I came from. … I wanted to get back home.”

Now, her former teachers are her SMS colleagues.

“That’s the good thing about this area,” she said. “It’s so small — even when you come back, in education they still remember you.”

Sussex Academy Aquatics Center could be ready for 2016 swim season

The pool at the Howard T. Ennis School may not be the only option for Georgetown-area swimmers for much longer, as Sussex Academy announced this week its plans for a state-of-the-art aquatics center, which is set to break ground this summer and could be ready before next winter.

IR students Gonzalez, Hall present research at HOSA event

The future of medicine was on display at the A.I. DuPont Hospital in Wilmington last Friday, in an event organized by HOSA-Future Health Professionals (formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America) that included Indian River High School seniors Krystal Gonzalez and Montanyah Hall, who presented their research on achondroplasia.

Kids ask questions, get messy at Sussex County Science Fair

Do video games alter our awareness of time? Does your gender affect your memory? Which is stronger: bamboo or phragmites?

These are just a few of the questions students asked for the 2015 Sussex County Science Fair.

IRHS announces honor roll for second marking period

Indian River High School recently announced its honor roll students for the second marking period in the 2014-2015 school year.

Students receiving high honors (grades 93 to 100) included:

Students spend less time, more thought, on state tests

Delaware public students are already spending a lot less time in standardized testing. This year, the State shifted to the Delaware System of Student Assessments (DeSSA), meaning that, after years of interrupting classrooms three times annually for state standardized tests, Delaware is returning to a one-time student assessment.

Students spend less time, more thought, on state tests

Delaware public students are already spending a lot less time in standardized testing. This year, the State shifted to the Delaware System of Student Assessments (DeSSA), meaning that, after years of interrupting classrooms three times annually for state standardized tests, Delaware is returning to a one-time student assessment.

McDowell named to Dean’s List at Alvernia University

David McDowell of Millsboro has been named to Alvernia University’s Dean’s List for the fall 2014 semester as a junior. A graduate of Cape Henlopen High School, McDowell is a communication major at Alvernia.

To be eligible for the Dean’s List, students must carry a semester GPA of 3.5 or better and take a minimum of 12 credits.

Schultz named to JMU president’s list

Selbyville resident Amanda Michelle Schultz has been named to the president’s list at James Madison University for the fall 2014 semester. Students who earn president’s list honors must carry at least 12 graded credit hours and earn a GPA of 3.900 or above. Schultz is a senior whose major is psychology.

Coastal Carolina University announces Dean’s List

Approximately 2,125 students, include three local students, have made the Fall 2014 Dean’s List for academic achievement at Coastal Carolina University. They include: Carly Bartell of Frankford, a freshman majoring in early childhood education; Kasey Keith of Ocean View, a senior majoring in communication; and Matthew Tribbitt of Ocean View, a senior majoring in sociology.

Atkins makes Dean’s List at Washington College

Washington College in Chestertown, Md., recently announced its Dean’s List for the Fall 2014 semester, and Marisa Atkins (Class of 2015) from Selbyville was recognized for academic excellence and achieving a grade point average of 3.5 or higher for the semester.

Lynch graduates from Albright College

Cody Lynch of Frankford recently graduated from Albright College with a bachelor’s degree in business administration/digital media, the college announced recently. More than 100 graduates received diplomas at Albright College’s 2014 Winter Commencement ceremony on Dec. 13, 2014.

Downing named to dean’s list at Wesleyan College

Morgan Downing of Dagsboro has been named to the 2014 fall semester dean’s list at West Virginia Wesleyan College. Being named to the dean’s list requires students to earn a grade point average of 3.5 to 3.9 in 12 or more semester hours.

McCollum makes Mount St. Mary’s University dean’s list

Elizabeth McCollum of Millville is among the 556 students who earned dean’s list honors for the fall 2014 semester at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md.

The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas McCollum, McCollum made dean’s list by maintaining a 3.4 or higher grade point average.

Girardi named to Dean’s List at VMI

Abdias B. Girardi Jr. of Millsboro was among 768 cadets who were recently named to the Dean’s List for the first semester of the 2014-2015 academic year at Virginia Military Institute. Girardi, a freshman majoring in mechanical engineering, is the son of Maria A Morgan.

IRSD seeks candidates for school board seats

Four seats up for grabs in May 12 election — filing deadline nears

Election season is approaching for the Indian River School District’s Board of Education.

Four seats are up for election this year: two seats in District 1 (northern Georgetown), one seat in District 2 (north Millsboro to south Georgetown) and one seat in District 4 (Frankford, west Dagsboro and points east).

Each term is for five years, ending June of 2020.

School board election nears, and four seats open

Four seats on the Indian River School District’s Board of Education’s will be up for grabs during a May 12 election, and the deadline to file for one of those seats is right around the corner on March 6.

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