Honorees from the Feb. 28 Board Awards & Recognitions Night
Board of Education Honors Outstanding Students, Staff, Schools and Programs at Feb. 28 Awards & Recognitions Night
Posted on 03/02/2017
Congratulations to the outstanding students, teachers and staff, programs, schools and departments recognized at the Feb. 28 Board of Education Awards & Recognitions Night held at James M. Bennett Auditorium. Please read on to learn more about their achievements. Photos will be posted on the school system’s website (www.wcboe.org) and on its Facebook page (www.facebook.com/wcboe).


Outstanding Leadership with Jump Rope for Heart / Hoops for Heart

Extraordinary things are happening in Wicomico County Schools where Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart are concerned. This annual event gives students the chance to collect donations to help fund awareness and research of heart health. Students also participate in a day of heart healthy activities with Jump Rope for Heart or Hoops for Heart.

Certificate of recognition for Northwestern Elementary 3rd-grader Delanie Spear. In four years as a student at Northwestern, Delanie has been very enthusiastic about collecting donations for heart health through Jump Rope for Heart. Last school year she was recognized as the American Heart Association’s top fund-raiser in Maryland. She was the second-highest fund-raiser in the Mid-Atlantic, and the 3rd-highest fund-raiser in the country. This year with the support of her family and many others she raised $12,579! This beat her own goal of raising $10,000, and brought her personal fund-raising total for the American Heart Association to around $35,000. We are very proud of Delanie and the heart she shows for others.

Certificates of recognition for Ms. Megan Block, Physical Education teacher at Northwestern Elementary, and for Northwestern Elementary School, represented by Principal Kirby Bryson. Northwestern Elementary is a small school with about 300 students, and this year it raised $26,410 with Jump Rope for Heart. That exceeded the school’s $25,000 goal and put the school at more than $100,000 in donations for heart health in the past nine years. That level of success is only possible with the great leadership of Ms. Block and the support of the entire school.

Certificate of recognition for outstanding leadership in support of heart healthy activities in all Wicomico schools to Nicholas Thompson, Supervisor of Physical Education and Health Education. Under his leadership, Wicomico County Public Schools has become the first school system in the state to have 100% of its schools participating in Jump Rope for Heart and/or Hoops for Heart for the American Heart Association. Jump Rope for Heart has been a fixture on the elementary calendar for many years, but as of this year our middle and high schools are also participating. We look forward to sharing the fund-raising total for our entire school system within a few weeks.


Maryland Council on Economic Education Stock Market Game

The Maryland Council on Economic Education sponsors an annual online Stock Market Game for teachers and student teams. The Stock Market Game is an educational simulation that teaches about the stock markets, the American economic system, and the global economy. This year, 470 teams from elementary through high school competed in Maryland, with each group starting with $10,000 in virtual dollars. Students researched and identified stocks they wanted to purchase with their money, and they had to make at least five trades.

Certificates of achievement for this year’s 1st place state winner: the Rainbow Pandas of North Salisbury, with a 12.66% return on their investments. Team members were Hannah Ashcraft, August Fritz-Ayers, Austin Loar and Tori Stivelman.

Certificates of recognition for finishing 3rd place in the state, 1st place in the region: North Salisbury’s Diamond Wolves. Team members were Noah Calhoun, Jennifer Hock and Elizabeth McGrath.

Certificate of recognition for Mrs. Jill Adams, teacher of these winning North Salisbury teams.


FIRST LEGO League Winners 

As part of Wicomico County’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics ) initiative, Wicomico County hosted its 8th annual regional FIRST LEGO League tournament in December. This event included Lego-building challenges for younger students, a robotics workshop, the inaugural Jr. FIRST LEGO League Tournament, and the FIRST LEGO League team tournament.

Certificates of recognition to the middle school teams that advanced from the regional level to participate in the state tournament at University of Maryland Baltimore County:

Bennett Middle School Shark Rescue Squad, advancing to state and regional 1st place in Robot Performance: Josh Fykes, Jacob Donalds, Asher Ortiz, Caleb Bradley, William Creese, Tyler Parsons, Catherine Chatterton and Andrew Kim, Coach Sarah Dudas

Wicomico Middle Wicomico Wolf Pack, advancing to state and regional 1st place in Robot Design: Heaven Rodriguez, Mark Martin, Skylar Dearth, Kevin Bonet Perez, Robert “Bobby” Schaller, Ethan Hudson, Coaches Victoria Danna and Jamie Eakin

Certificates of recognition to the elementary teams that placed in the Jr. FIRST LEGO League Tournament:

Delmar Elementary LEGO Busy Bees, 1st place: Camrynn Battle, Desmond Brown, Anaya Collins, Caden Fooks, Melanie Maximoss, Peyton Rieben, Coach Vanessa Stein

Prince Street Elementary LEGO Explorers, 2nd place: Hannah Bohtling, Hunter Tinsley, Brandon Nadeau, Jonathan Gonzalez Maldonado, Meghan Trivits, Donald Kirby, Coaches Jamiliah Marshall and Gina Deal

Delmar Elementary Honey Bears, 3rd place: Faith Adams, Holly Adams, Brandon Garraway, Quinn Hopkins, Abisha Shrestha, Errond Truitt, Coach Laura Melvin

Certificate of recognition to Dave Harner and Gretchen Boggs, Wicomico County’s STEM coordinators, and the many sponsors and volunteers who have supported the Wicomico Regional FIRST LEGO League tournament for the past eight years. More than 125 teams and nearly 2,000 students have participated in this event. Last weekend Maryland recognized, for the very first time, the importance of the enormous task of putting together a regional tournament. Wicomico received an Excellence in Tournament Operations Award. Representing all the many volunteers and sponsors for this recognition was Tim Chatterton of RMF Engineering. This award is shared by students, parents, coaches, volunteers, anonymous donors, Robinson’s Family of Businesses, AWB Engineering, Baxter Enterprises (McDonald’s), Sweet Frog, Peninsula Regional Medical Center, TigerMart, Home Depot, Chick-fil-A, Wawa, DavCo (Wendy’s), Salisbury Middle School teachers and staff, Five Guys, Salisbury University, Wor-Wic Community College and the Wicomico Public Libraries.

Maryland EXCELS Level 5 Recognition

Four Prekindergarten programs have earned the Maryland EXCELS Quality Rating of 5. These are the first schools in Wicomico County to earn this distinction. Level 5 is the highest rating that any Prekindergarten program can receive. EXCELS stands for the “EXcellence Counts in Early Learning and School-Age Care” initiative, which recognizes the hard work of Prekindergarten administration and staff throughout the last school year. These schools planned and implemented rigorous hands-on lessons, and engaged families and their communities in learning experiences designed to improve school readiness skills and inspire lifelong learning. Evidence of their accomplishments was submitted through the online rating system and the onsite visual inspections by representatives of the Maryland State Department of Education. This recognition is awarded to participating public Prekindergarten and other child care programs meeting the nationally recognized quality standards and best practices.

Certificates of recognition for achieving Maryland EXCELS Level 5 rating to these schools, with administrators representing their teaching staff:

Charles H. Chipman Elementary: Principal Antionette Perry, Assistant Principal Alexan Dargan

Pemberton Elementary: Principal Melissa Eiler, Assistant Principal Carla Hicks

Beaver Run Elementary: Principal Curt Twilley, Assistant Principal Kimberly Waters

Wicomico Early Learning Center: Principal Melva Wright, Family Service Coordinator, Trina Tilghman-Dix


2017 All State Music Ensembles 

Certificates of achievement for students chosen for the 2017 Maryland All State Musical Performing Groups. These students have proven themselves to be among the best in the state, and were selected by audition from among thousands of candidates. The All State ensemble performances take place at the Maryland Association of Music Educators conferences in February and March.

From James M. Bennett High School, Megan Centineo, Choral Director:

Treyce Wilson, 9th Grade – bass – All State Junior Chorus

Joshua Harman, 10th grade – bass – All State Senior Mixed Chorus

Joshua Dennis, 12th grade - tenor – All State Senior Mixed Chorus. Josh is a vocal student in the Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program.

Christina Sun, 11th grade, alto – All State Senior Women’s Chorus

Sandra Zelaya, 12th grade – alto – All State Senior Women’s Chorus

Alison Sahler, 11th grade – soprano I, All State Senior Chorus alternate. Alison is a vocal student in the Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program.


From James M. Bennett High School, Douglas Miles, Band Director:

Peter Lim, 12th Grade – oboe and English horn – All State Senior Orchestra

Alexis Emerson, 12th Grade – trumpet – All State Senior Orchestra

Michael Avanessian, 10th Grade – percussion, All State Band alternate


From Parkside High School, Kevin Zaczkiewicz, Band Director:

Hannah Lewis, 12th grade – French horn, All State Senior Band. Hannah is an instrumental student in the Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program.


From Parkside High School, Antoinette Daniel, Choral Director:

Brooke Bennish, 12th grade – soprano II, All State Senior Chorus alternate. Brooke is a vocal student in the Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program.


From Wicomico High School, Dr. Jeff Baer, Choral Director:

Katelin Beach,12th grade – Alto, All State Senior Mixed Chorus. Katelin is a vocal student in the Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program.

Schyler Sample,12th grade – Bass, All State Senior Mixed Chorus


Honors Musical Performances 

Certificates of achievement are presented to students selected to the West Virginia University Honors Band February 9th to 11th in Morgantown. Musicians are nominated for this honor by band directors, and are chosen for musical achievement and the needs of the ensemble. Selected students traveled to West Virginia to perform, participate in master classes and clinics, and attend a concert of the West Virginia University Wind Ensemble.

From James M. Bennett High, Band Director Douglas Miles. Both of these students are also part of the Visual and Performing Arts Program:

TJ Williams, senior, trombone, top band

Jon Adams, senior, clarinet, top band


From Parkside High, Band Director Kevin Zaczkiewicz:

Gracie Perry, 10th Grade, clarinet, top band

Allyson Morris, 11th Grade, French horn. Allyson is a student in the Visual and Performing Arts Program.

Hayleigh Turner, 10th Grade, baritone


From Mardela High, Band Director Cory Boltz:

Madison Horner, 9th Grade, percussion

Mitchell Adams, 10th Grade, trombone

Hunter Wirt, 10th Grade, percussion. Hunter was 1st chair percussion for the top band.


Mardela High musicians Hunter Wirt, percussion, and Mitchell Adams, trombone, were also selected via audio audition to perform with the Carnegie Hall Honors Performance Series in New York City. They traveled to New York in early February to work with master conductors and perform with other talented high school musicians from around the United States and the world. This is a highly selective ensemble, and it is a huge achievement for this these two Mardela students to be selected to perform in the Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall. The Board presented them with certificates of achievement.


Fireflies 100 Ladies of Elegance

The Denton-based organization Fireflies serves as a catalyst to unify community groups and to create opportunities for youth and young adults. Fireflies organizes mentor groups, college tours and community events including soup kitchens, Easter egg hunts, back to school pool parties and adopt a youth programs. Earlier this year, Fireflies honored 100 Men of Distinction, and on Oct. 22 it was time to shine the spotlight on 100 Ladies of Elegance from across the Eastern Shore for their many contributions to the community. Several staff members of Wicomico County Public Schools were honored among the 100 Ladies of Elegance:

Ms. Tana Ellis, Assistant Principal, Prince Street Elementary, for providing children with after-school programs such as Prince Street Steppers for girls, Prince Street Above and Beyond Steppers for boys, Nothin’ But Net Basketball, and the Oratorical contest, to name a few.

Ms. Heather Buckner, home school liaison, Choices Academy, for supporting youth by working with the students and families of Choices Academy.

Ms. Kesha Cook, math teacher at Choices Academy and a Parkside graduate, for instilling confidence, self-worth and integrity on the court and in the classroom as a teacher, assistant basketball coach at Parkside High for eight years, and now the head coach for girls basketball at Mardela High for the past seven years.

Ms. Tamyra Foreman, special education teacher at North Salisbury Elementary, for her work in advocating for youth, especially those with special needs and behavioral concerns. A Wicomico High graduate, Ms. Foreman is working toward her Administrator I certification to become a principal at a juvenile facility.


Optimist International Essay Contest

High school students were invited to participate in the Optimist International Essay Contest to develop their own views around a central idea. The theme this year was “Chasing Optimism in the Face of Challenges.” Students attended an Optimist Club of Salisbury dinner where they read their essays aloud and received cash awards. Optimist Club President Mike DeFiore joined the Board for the presentation of certificates to the winners:

Apeksha Ghumatkar, 12th grade, Wicomico High, 1st place

Samantha Wiersberg, 11th grade, James M. Bennett High, 2nd place

Madison Synowiec, 9th grade, James M. Bennett High, 3rd place


American Legion Oratorical Contest

Since 1938, the American Legion Oratorical Contest has presented participants with an academic speaking challenge that teaches important leadership qualities, the history of our nation’s laws, the ability to think and speak clearly, and an understanding of the duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship. The contest exists to develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution among high school students. The Wicomico County Board of Education presented a certificate of achievement for placing 1st in the recent Regional American Legion Oratorical Contest and winning a $1,000 scholarship to Apeksha Ghumatkar, Wicomico High School.


United Way Campaign Recognition

Every year the employees of Wicomico County Public Schools generously support the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore’s campaign. In 2016-2017, the school system campaign raised a grand total of $60,390.25 to help people right here in our community through the United Way. This year Wicomico school system employees were joined by students, and together they boosted the giving total from Wicomico Schools by more than $7,000 over the previous year and $17,000 more over two years. Thank you to the thousands of employees and students who supported the United Way. Thanks also the coordinators who serve in every school and department to gather contributions, and to Payroll staff for making United Way payroll deductions happen smoothly. Joining the Board to recognize departments and schools that achieved 100% participation were United Way Board member Dana Seiler and Pam Gregory, Community Impact Director. The 100% honorees were:

Fruitland Primary – Carroll Nichols and Kerri Conway

Willards Elementary – Jennifer Rice and Tracey Twilley

Human Resources – Rebecca Canterbury

School Improvement – Brooke Barnes 

Certificates of recognition for the three schools at each level with the highest contribution totals. Their efforts will be celebrated on a billboard so the entire community can appreciate what they’ve done.

Pinehurst Elementary – Peggy Troiano and Trina Lowe

Bennett Middle – Mike Campbell and Julie Webster

Mardela Middle and High – Cathy Ramey and Linda Nestor

Certificate of appreciation for being a Shining Star for the United Way to fantastic school bookkeeper Jeannie Underwood. For more than 27 years she has served as the “bookkeeper of bookkeepers” for the United Way fund drive, keeping the books straight on this massive effort. Her expertise and her never-ending willingness to help has benefited countless people throughout our community. Ms. Underwood will retire at the end of this school year, and Wicomico Schools appreciates all she has done.

The school system and Board of Education presented the $60,390.25 check to the United Way, with the school system’s United Way coordinators Mark Thompson, Brooke Barnes, Courtnie Jones, Laura Bounds, Beth Sheller and Betty Richardson.


Outstanding Wicomico Science and STEM Teachers

Several Wicomico teachers have recently received national recognition or funding for science and STEM education, and the Board presented each of them with a certificate of recognition.

The National Science Teachers Association’s Maitland P. Simmons Award recognizes outstanding early career science teachers who demonstrate the initiative and dedication necessary to develop into teacher-leaders in the field of science education. For the first time in the history of the Wicomico County Public Schools, we have a teacher who has received this honor. The Simmons award will provide Ms. Catherine Krygeris, Earth/Space and Environmental Science teacher at Mardela Middle and High School, with mentoring, professional development, and opportunities for meaningful involvement in the NSTA. She will travel to Los Angeles to attend the annual NSTA Professional Development Conference next month. Ms. Krygeris is off to a fast start for her students and school: Last year, in her first year as a teacher, she brought $13,000 in prize money to Mardela for lab materials and equipment and professional development as a national finalist for the NSTA’s Shell Science Lab Challenge.


Mr. John Reichenberg, Parkside High School Science teacher, has been accepted into not one but two national programs. The American Farm Bureau Foundation sponsors the On the Farm STEM workshop to provide science teachers with a deeper understanding of the science, technology, engineering, and math concepts that are a major part of modern agriculture. The Space Foundation sponsors the Teacher Liaison program, which is designed to provide a link between the foundation and its work in space exploration and schools from around the world. These programs have a highly competitive application process so it’s outstanding to have been accepted into both of them. This teacher will join educators from across the United States, as well as South America, Africa, Australia, and Asia and will bring the latest in cutting-edge research and technology back to Wicomico County. Last year, Mr. Reichenberg was one of 50 teachers from 13 countries selected to attend the Honeywell Green Boot Camp.


Each year the Northrup Grumman Foundation sponsors the Fab School Labs competition. This competition challenges schools to develop innovative plans for facility and program improvements to support STEM Education for a chance to win one of five $100,000 lab makeover prizes. Science Teacher Dr. Chad Pavlekovich and Technology Education Teacher Mr. Bill Cecil wrote an application package for Salisbury Middle School that placed the school among 25 national semifinalists. They engaged the community in the voting process. While the school didn’t win one of the top prizes, it did earn $2,000 for supplies and equipment for its labs.


Community Foundation Calcott Award of Excellence

The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore has honored two Wicomico schools with the Mary Gay Calcott Award of Excellence. The award is presented each year to the most creative education program in each county submitted for an Education Awards Grant. The award is named for the late Professor Calcott of Salisbury University whose life embodied her teaching ideals of liberal education: teaching students to think, to express themselves with clarity, and to care about the world they live in. This year the $1,000 award was split between two Wicomico County schools for a schoolwide One School, One Book initiative. Along with Erica Joseph, President of the Community Foundation, the Board was pleased to present a certificate of recognition to the Wicomico recipients of the 2016 Mary Gay Calcott Award of Excellence from the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore:

Bennett Middle School, represented by Assistant Principal Vera Reed and Principal Liza Hastings. The school also received $5,500 to purchase “Booked” by Kwame Alexander and to carry out One School, One Book activities with all students and staff. The school has even reached out to the author through social media to extend the project. The Calcott Award provides another $500 for the initiative.

Wicomico Middle School, represented by Professional Development Coach Traci McGovern and Principal Kelley Morris-Springston. The school received $5,439 to purchase “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park for its One School, One Book initiative with all students and staff. The Calcott Award provides another $500 for the program.

The Wicomico school system thanks the Community Foundation for its generous grant support of education projects that will enhance learning for Wicomico students. This year the Community Foundation also awarded grants to STEPPING Into Your Future” for James M. Bennett High and Parkside High and “WiHi Success for the Best,” and Sensational Six – Let’s Get Fit! at Prince Street Elementary.


Unified Strength and Conditioning State Invitational Tournament Gold

Wicomico County Public Schools is proud to partner with Special Olympics Maryland to offer Unified Sports seasons in the four high schools. Students with and without disabilities join to have fun, master the skills of a sport, and compete in tennis, bocce, and strength and conditioning. Competing against teams from around the state, teams from James M. Bennett High and Parkside High advanced through the brackets in their divisions to gain the most points and be named gold medalists on Feb. 7 at Chesapeake College.

Certificates of achievement for these gold medal winning Strength and Conditioning Teams:

James M. Bennett High: David Gillespie, Corey Jarmon, Adam Darcy, Dara Gregory, Connor Hudson, Catherine Smoot, Matthew Aukward, Ian Hoisington, Noah White, Emma Chandler, Carly Mann, Coaches Julie Morrow and Rebecca Gregory

Parkside Team 1: Brady Cheesman, Jon Maciarello, Daniel Gianelle, Dylan Laing, Taylor Dodd, Jeremiah Justice, Mikayla Amey, Omar Godwin, Jake Renshaw, Asher Amey, Umieea Ahmad, Abby Roskovich, Coaches Bruce Harrell, Kim Pelot and Emily Miller