Congratulations to Honorees from November 2017 Awards Night
Board of Education, School System Honor Outstanding Students, Staff, Schools and Programs at November 2017 Awards & Recognitions Night
Posted on 11/21/2017
Congratulations to the outstanding students, programs and schools recognized at the Nov. 16 Board of Education Awards & Recognitions Night held in the James M. Bennett Auditorium. Please read on to learn more about their achievements. Photos are posted on the school system’s website ( in Photo Events, and on its Facebook page (



2017 SkillsUSA National Championships Gold Medalist

Certificate of achievement for Joshua McKelvey for winning a Gold Medal in Electronics Technology in the 2017 SkillsUSA National Championships, and a certificate of appreciation for David Miles, Project Lead the Way instructor and former Electronics instructor, for going way outside the box to support his student in pursuing success.

Students from the Parkside High School Department of Career & Technology Education proved once again that they are among the best in the nation. This year, four Wicomico students who had earned gold medals at the state level traveled to Louisville, KY with their instructors in late June for the SkillsUSA National Championships. They joined more than 5,600 top students to compete in nearly 100 hands-on skills and leadership contests. Joshua McKelvey is a senior at Parkside High School and a student in the pre-engineering program Project Lead the Way. But he had a keen interest in electronics too, and with the support of instructor David Miles he worked on his own time to build his skills in Electronics Technology. Winning a national or even state gold medal in a skill area that is no longer offered in your school is almost unheard of, and we applaud both Joshua’s achievement and his initiative. He clearly has the right mindset and the right skills to build himself a great future.


Governor’s Citation for Superior Maintenance of Schools

Certificates of achievement for the members of the custodial staff at Pittsville Elementary and Middle School for the school earning a 2017 Governor’s Citation for Superior Maintenance of Schools:

Mona Lisa Price, Building Service Manager

Custodians: Dan Teagle, Dwayne Williams, Bradley Millman, Patsy Purnell, Kathy Chartrand

During an October meeting in Annapolis with the Maryland Board of Public Works, the custodial staff of Pittsville Elementary and Middle School was honored with a Governor’s Citation for Superior Maintenance of Schools. Pittsville was just one of nine schools statewide to receive this recognition, thanks to its Superior rating in the state’s FY 2017 maintenance survey. We congratulate Pittsville’s custodial staff and thank them for the excellent work they do every day to keep the school clean and working well for its students, staff and community.


National Finalist, Harbor Freight Tools for School Prize for Teaching Excellence

Certificate of achievement for Robert David White for being named a national finalist in the first Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence contest. Mr. White is an instructor in the Automotive Technology program in the Parkside High School Department of Career & Technology Education. There were 693 total submissions by teachers and teacher teams for this prize, and from that group Mr. White was chosen as one of the 54 semifinalists. After submitting additional materials and going through an intensive review by contest judges, Mr. White was named one of 10 finalists, and he finished as one of seven second-place winners. This won him $30,000, with $20,000 going to the high school program and $10,000 to the teacher. The school will also receive $1,000 to celebrate this honor for Mr. White.

Harbor Freight Tools for Schools is a program of The Smidt Foundation. This contest was created to foster and shine a light on excellence in skilled trades education in public high schools. Believing that access to quality skilled trades education gives high school students pathways to graduation, opportunity, good jobs and a workforce our country needs, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools aims to stimulate greater understanding, support and investment by public entities and others in skilled trades education.


2016-17 and 2017-18 Let’s Move! Active Schools National Award

Certificate of achievement to Prince Street Elementary for being named a Let’s Move! Active School National Award winner for 2016-17 and 2017-18. Prince Street Elementary School was recognized this fall as one of just six Maryland schools to be named a national Let’s Move! Active School. It is the only Let’s Move! school on the Eastern Shore. Attending the Board awards night on behalf of all Prince Street Elementary staff members, students, families and supporters were Principal Jason Miller, Assistant Principal Tana Ellis, Physical Education teachers Dustin Thomas, Teena Workman and Kyle Brown, and Reading Specialist Christopher McLaughlin.

The Let’s Move! Active Schools National Award celebrates the school’s commitment to integrating at least 60 minutes of physical activity before, during and after the school day. Prince Street Elementary School has been a leader in the school system’s Fuel Up to Play 60 initiative and has been a Touchdown School for the past several years. Students fuel up with healthy foods through the school system’s Healthy Snack Program. There are many clubs that require kids to get up and moving after school, such as both girls and boys step teams, ballet, jazz, tap, inspirational dance, cross country, Nothin’ but Net and Nothin’ but Cheer. Staff members take an active role with students’ physical activities, volunteering their time for these after-school clubs because they believe in the benefit of extracurricular activities and physical fitness. The school has developed community partnerships to help pay for the cost of these programs.

During the school day students are active during their 45-minute P.E. class three days a cycle and at recess daily. Teachers at Prince Street also included brain breaks during instruction to get the children moving and ready for the next task at hand. Once a month there are Panther Play days where students and staff join in an hour of fun, playing basketball, soccer, jump roping, and more. Thanks to these initiatives, students were focused on the importance of healthy eating and increasing their physical activity to improve their overall academic success and physical well-being. 


Atlantic Coast Championships (ACCs) Achievements for Marching Bands

Every Fall the marching bands of Wicomico County Public Schools participate in a series of field band competitions through the Tournament of Bands, one of the largest competitive band organizations in the country with more than 400 active schools and organizations. By finishing in the top 25 in the 9-state association, three Wicomico County bands qualified to compete at the Atlantic Coast Championships, known as ACCs.

Certificate of achievement to Band Director Mark Pages and the Wicomico High School Marching Band for a successful season ending with a score of 90.455 and a 3rd place Group 3-A finish at the Tournament of Bands Atlantic Coast Championships Oct. 28. Under the leadership of Mr. Pages, the Wicomico High School Marching Band presented the 2017 field show “Dreams.” Through band members’ dedication and the support of parents, administration and the community, the band received 1st place for Group 3-A at all five Chapter 9 competitions this season including high honors in music, visuals, percussion, and auxiliary. On Oct. 21, the band became Chapter 9 Champions in Group 3-A. The Wicomico High School Marching Band met the goal of competing in ACCs for the fifth straight year.

Certificate of achievement to Mr. Douglas Miles and the James M. Bennett High Clipper Band for its season’s best score of 91.7 and 9th place, Silver Medal Finalist in Group 3-Open competition at the Tournament of Bands Atlantic Coast Championships on Oct. 29 at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, PA. The James M. Bennett High School Marching Band presented the field show “The Hope of Spring” in 2017, under the direction of Mr. Miles. The JMB band once again earned a spot at ACCs as one of the top bands in the nine-state area.

Certificate of achievement to Band Director Kevin Zaczkiewicz and the Parkside High School Marching Rams for the band’s 92.75 score and 7th place, Silver Level finish in Group 3-Open competition at the Tournament of Bands Atlantic Coast Championships at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, PA on Oct. 29. The Parkside Marching Rams, under the direction of Mr. Zaczkiewicz, presented the field show “Asylum” in 2017. Band members, staff and parents worked very hard to fulfill the show's potential from the heat of band camp in August through the cold winds and rain of late October at ACCs.

Maryland Business Roundtable for Education June E. Streckfus Leadership in Education Award

Certificate of achievement for receiving the 2017 June E. Streckfus Leadership in Education Award from the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education to David Harner, Coordinator of Secondary and STEM Initiatives. On Nov. 13, at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education, Mr. Harner was celebrated as the 2017 winner of the leadership award that is named for the organization’s founding executive director.

Mr. Harner received the Streckfus Award because he has demonstrated his commitment to college and career connections in Wicomico schools through his role as the district coordinator for Secondary & STEM Initiatives, among many other responsibilities. He strives to leverage key community, nonprofit and business relationships to benefit the students of Wicomico County. Mr. Harner serves as principal of Wicomico County Evening High School, which provides the opportunity for current and former students to work toward a Maryland high school diploma. He has been instrumental in facilitating an enhanced partnership between Wicomico Schools and the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education as a key catalyst of support in the Next Generation Scholars and Maryland GEAR UP grant programs. We are proud of Mr. Harner, who has spent 21 years as an educator in our school system and has been responsible for a number of firsts, including STEM Saturdays, STEM summer camps and middle school STEM academy, elementary and middle school robotics teams, Chinese exchange student program, FIRST LEGO League regional tournament, 9th-Grade Career Day at Salisbury University, and more.


Outstanding Volunteer Service

Certificate of appreciation for Outstanding Volunteer Service to Donna Wilkoz, former home-school liaison and now volunteer at Delmar Elementary. We appreciate the many wonderful volunteers giving service throughout our school system to support our students, families and schools. During American Education Week 2017, we recognize Ms. Wilkoz, who at one time was a staff member and now faithfully comes back to be what the school calls a “volunteer extraordinaire.”

Ms. Wilkoz comes in every week to change the school sign and laminate materials for Delmar staff. But her real value as a volunteer lies in her heart for Delmar students. She finds resources in the Delmar community to provide food and clothing for needy students. She contacts community agencies to provide funds to buy clothing such as socks, underwear, pants, shirts and coats for the school Health Suite. These items are put to good use when students have accidents or need new clothing. Ms. Wilkoz also organizes a group of volunteers who come in and switch out spring/summer clothing for the fall/winter clothing collection in the health suite. Ms. Donna works tirelessly around the holidays to ensure that each student will receive a gift. She has organized a special food basket for needy families at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. If she hears of any student with a need, she tries to find a way to make sure families get the help and support they need. Even though she has not been employed at Delmar for several years, students still know that if they need something, Ms. Donna will try to help. School nurse Catherine Case said in her nomination for this recognition that Ms. Donna “truly embodies the ideal of ‘see a need, fill a need’ and is such a blessing to all of us…especially the students at Delmar.”


Wendy’s High School Heisman Award Program

Wicomico County is proud of the outstanding seniors who were recognized in the 2017 Wendy’s High School Heisman Award contest. The Wendy’s High School Heisman program runs in conjunction with the collegiate Heisman, and celebrates the achievements of the nation’s top high school seniors both in and out of the classroom. To be eligible for this award, students must display academic aptitude, athletic talent, and exceptional commitment to their communities. Eight Wicomico County students were recognized this year.

Certificate of achievement for Stephen Sabo of James M. Bennett High School. He was a School Winner and State Finalist for the 2017 Wendy’s High School Heisman Award.

Certificates of recognition to these School Winners in the 2017 Wendy’s High School Heisman Award contest:

James M. Bennett High School: Jaibyn Hull

Mardela High School: Bryce Bond and Leah Disbennett

Parkside High School: Connor Lefort and Abigail Roskovich

Wicomico High School: Jason Keller and Taylor Russ


2016-2017 School of the Year Award, Maryland Center for Character Education at Stevenson University

Certificate of achievement for each of the three Wicomico schools that received a 2016-2017 Maryland Character Education School of the Year Award at the annual awards luncheon of The Maryland Center for Character Education at Stevenson University. Each of these schools was chosen for the award based on its outstanding character education initiatives in the areas of promoting core ethical values as the basis of good character, creating a caring school community, and including a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum that respects all learners, develops their character, and helps them to succeed.

Prince Street Elementary School is proud to be a first-time recipient of this character education recognition. The school is represented by its character education team: Principal Jason Miller, Assistant Principal Tana Ellis, and guidance counselor Amber Justice. Prince Street, home of the Proud Panthers, serves a diverse group of students in grades Prek-5. On a daily basis, you will find students following the school’s PRIDE rules- Prepared, Respectful, Individually Responsible, Demonstrating Self-Control, & Eager and Ready to Learn. In the character development of students, Prince Street utilizes a variety of initiatives which includes Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS), Stop! Think! Learn Program, classroom guidance lessons and the Class DOJO program incentive. Prince Street has incorporated Arts Integration throughout each grade level.

North Salisbury Elementary School has received this award since 2014. Representing North Salisbury staff, students, families, and supporters for this award are Principal Dr. Renee Hall, guidance counselor Adrienne Jenkins, instructional assistant Calvin Burrell, former Principal Ruby Brown and former Assistant Principal Dr. Kathy Vail. In this school you will find PRIDE Rules in action, with PRIDE standing for Be Polite; Be Responsible; Continue Improving; Show Discipline; and Be Encouraging). PRIDE Rules work in conjunction with the PBIS program as the basis to promote good character, and character education takes place in the classroom, throughout the school, and with the support of everyone from teachers to staff to families to community supporters.

Westside Intermediate School’s wonderful students, staff members, families and supporters are represented by Principal Chris Nunzio, Assistant Principal Glenda Sinclair and guidance counselor Beth Pistilli. This is the third year in a row that Westside Intermediate has received this honor based on its excellent comprehensive program that promotes character traits. These traits encourage a student’s ability to think, to feel, and to do, which provides them with opportunities for positive moral actions. In addition, it fosters a student’s self-esteem and engages the entire school staff and community to share the responsibility to educate the whole child. Westside Intermediate staff and students utilize RIDE Rules (Respect Others, Individual Responsibility, Demonstrate Safety and Eager and Ready to Learn) in conjunction with the PBIS Program as the basis to promote good character. Character Education is an integral part of the school culture.


National Federation of the Blind of Maryland Distinguished Educator of Blind Children Award

Certificate of achievement for being the 2017 recipient of the Distinguished Educator of Blind Children Award from the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland to Melinda Demaris, a teacher of the visually impaired, and Orientation and Mobility Specialist, for students birth-21. She received the honor at the Nov. 11 state convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland, held in Towson.

Ms. Demaris received this award for her effective teaching strategies that enable students to reach their full potential, for her diligence in promoting braille literacy and the skills of blindness, and for her dedication to her students. Throughout her 15 years of service as an educator in Wicomico County Public Schools, she has been a strong advocate of quality education for visually impaired. She helps students who are visually impaired learn how to read braille, use Assistive Technology, access the entire county curriculum, and learn skills including self-advocacy, recreation, social, and independent living. This year she is focused on working with the students who are braille readers, as well as provide Orientation and Mobility service, teaching blind students how to use a white cane to walk safely in their schools, homes, and communities. Her goal is to teach Wicomico county students with visual impairments the skills that they will need to be able to graduate and pursue the careers of their dreams as independent adults.

Parents of students Ms. Demaris teaches nominated her for the Distinguished Educator of Blind Children Award. Her nomination cited appreciation for her participation in the NFB BELL Academy in Salisbury for the past three summers. BELL stands for Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning. Last summer, students from Wicomico and Worcester studied the solar system and the solar eclipse through many multisensory activities and field trips. The National Federation of the Blind of Maryland hailed Ms. Demaris for helping raise expectations for blind students, and for her understanding that blindness is not the characteristic that defines a blind person or determines their future. She is a wonderful partner in promoting the full integration of the blind into society.


Representing Wicomico Schools in Statewide Music Events

Wicomico County Public Schools is proud to be one of the Best Communities for Music Education in the country, recognized as such by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation in eight of the past 11 years. The talents of our students are recognized far beyond the borders of Wicomico County, at statewide music events.

Wicomico students had the day off school on Oct. 20, but students and chorus instructors from James M. Bennett High School and the Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program got up early that day to share their musical talents at statewide educator conferences.

Two James M. Bennett High School singers participated in the Maryland Music Educators Association Men’s Demonstration Choir throughout that day. Young men from across the state were selected for this special ensemble to sing songs specifically arranged for men’s voices. The choir performed at the annual Fall In-Service Music Conference of the Maryland Music Educators Association, held at Reservoir High School in Fulton, MD. Certificates of recognition for performing in the 2017 Men’s Demonstration Choir at the Maryland Music Educators Association Conference for:

James Rogers and Josh Harman, James M. Bennett High

A little closer to home that morning, students from the Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program opened the Maryland State Education Association convention in Ocean City with The Star-Spangled Banner. Their vocal talents were appreciated by hundreds of educators from across the state. Certificates of recognition for singing at the 2017 Maryland State Education Association Convention for these vocalists in the VPA Program:

Alethea-Jade Coffey and Jared Sullivan, Wicomico High

Alison Sahler and Rachel Bailey, James M. Bennett High

On Oct. 27, a group of students from Wicomico Schools were the only Eastern Shore students participating in the 2017 Towson University High School Choral Festival. Students were selected for the choir festival as outstanding members of their high school choirs. The singers had a very full day of choral work and master classes, with a little campus exploration mixed in. That evening the Choral Festival concluded with a concert, during which the high school students performed with Towson University choirs. Certificates of recognition for participating in the 2017 Towson University Choral Festival for:

Mardela High: Dora Ashby, Liam Evans, Alyssa Mecca, Thomas Miller

James M. Bennett High: Emily Gutierrez, Sam Myer, James Rogers, Alison Sahler, Zoe Sheller

Parkside High: Amari Jackson, Laila Libertin, Alexa Natasi, Cera Rains

Wicomico High: Da’Vion Childs, Alethea-Jade Coffey, Kethia Petion, Jared Sullivan, Rachael Walker


Maryland Association of Health Physical Education Recreation & Dance (MAHPERD) 2017 Simon A. McNeely Award Winners

In 2016-2017, four outstanding staff members received statewide recognition for Health Education and Physical Education. On Oct. 20, they were each presented with the Simon A. McNeely Award by the Maryland Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance for coordinating and advocating for physical education, health, and/or physical activity. Certificates of achievement for these teachers:

East Elementary School Physical Education teacher Allison Welkie was selected to serve Maryland and Wicomico County as the Fuel Up to Play 60 Maryland State Program Advisor at the National Fuel Up to Play 60 Summit for the last three years. She has been featured in posters and media representing the National Dairy Council’s and National Football League’s Fuel Up to Play 60 Program across the nation.

Pinehurst Elementary Adapted Physical Education teacher Jennifer Hill was the Intermediate Finalist last year for Wicomico Teacher of the Year. Due to her leadership in Adapted Physical Education throughout Maryland, she is recognized as a Special Olympics Coordinator and Coordinator of Unified Sports. She is also currently piloting a young athletes program for kindergarteners in her school.

Bennett Middle School Health teacher Leslie Bartoshesky has coordinated the Wicomico County Middle School Cross Country Program for more than five years. On Oct. 26, there were more than 250 students who participated in a county championship in the Salisbury City Park.

Parkside High School Health teacher Allison Bannon led Parkside in 2016-2017 by planning and coordinating, with student leaders, a special Heroin and Opioid Education Event featuring no other than the Boston Celtic’s Chris Herron. She serves on the Employee Wellness Committee for Wicomico County and has presented multiple years at the MAHPERD Convention.


#1 Maryland Ranking, FFA National Quality Standards Award

Certificate of achievement for the FFA Chapter in the Horticulture program at Parkside High School Department of Career & Technology Education for the chapter being ranked #1 in Maryland in the FFA National Quality Standards Award. The certificate was presented to Horticulture instructor Jerry Kelley. Certificates of leadership for the officers of the Parkside FFA Chapter: Ambria Hawkins, President; Em Gass, Vice President; and Brooke Kelley, Secretary.

This award recognizes agriculture programs that emphasize growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture. This month, Parkside’s FFA Chapter is featured in the National FFA Horizons magazine, and the chapter hosted the annual Maryland FFA Foundation Dinner and Program Showcase on Nov. 9. We are proud of this Horticulture program and the outstanding path it provides to college and career. Parkside CTE Horticulture is supported by an active array of national, state and local organizations including higher education. Parkside Horticulture’s A+ Garden Centre is student-operated and community-supported, and may well be the largest high school garden center in the country.


High School Scholar Awards

We recognize and applaud high school students whose achievement in academics has earned them national scholar awards and recognition.


National Merit Scholarship Program 

Certificate of achievement to Wicomico County’s 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalist: Christina Sun, James M. Bennett High.

The National Merit Scholarship Award Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Of the 1.5 million students who take the PSAT/NMSQT in a given year, just 16,000 students or the top 1% are honored as Semifinalists. Most Semifinalists go on to be recognized as Finalists, and many of these Finalists are awarded scholarships.


Advanced Placement (AP) Scholars 

We recognize the students whose achievement in academics has earned them AP Scholar awards. These students have taken challenging college-level AP or Advanced Placement courses. At the end of each AP course, students have the option to take an exam on which high marks may earn them college credit and AP Scholar recognition for success on these exams. Congratulations to all of Wicomico’s AP Scholars, many of whom graduated in 2017. Listed here are AP Scholars who are current Wicomico County students.

Certificates of recognition as AP Scholars for receiving grades of 3 or higher on three or more AP Exams:

Mardela High School: Bryce Bond, Leah Disbennett, Sydney Hynson, James Suttmiller

James M. Bennett High School: Lensky Augustin, Kaylyn Branton, Virginia Cheng, Hannah Dickson, Tanner Farro, Emily Joseph, Timothy Kerrigan, Matthew Malone, Dulaney Marsh, Banuja Munasinghe, Alison Sahler, Emilee Shannon, Hope Shearer, Patricia Sherwood, Aaron Stiegler, Michael Urian, Bailey VanBuren, Sydney Weaver, Addison Wendlandt, Jessica Wilkes

Parkside High School: Daniel Arroyo-Flores, Ellery Beck, Abigail Roskovich, Cole Watkins

Wicomico High School: Nicholas Nguyen, Joshua Oradat


AP Scholars with Honor are recognized with a certificate of achievement for receiving an average grade of at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken, AND grades of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams:

James M. Bennett High School: Adib Adnan, Jordan Knapp, Stephanie Myers 

Parkside High School: Kadijatou Diallo, Allan B. Hall, Samuel Shannahan

Wicomico High School: Connor Pedersen


AP Scholars with Distinction are recognized with a certificate of achievement for receiving an average grade of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken AND grades of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams:

James M. Bennett High School: Kristen Gittings, Ethan Jones, Aidan Kelley, Danielle Konlian, Madison MacDougall, Aadit Mehta, Rawan Osman, Ju-Young Park, Aaron Schweitzer, Christina Sun

Parkside High School: Joshua McKelvey


A note on National AP Scholars: While they are all working hard in college now, we would like to congratulate them on their achievement. Wicomico County had six students who achieved at this highest level of the 2017 AP Program. They received an average score of at least 4 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on 8 or more AP exams:

James M. Bennett High: Chris Avanessian, Jasper Flint, Lucas Murphy

From Parkside High: Adit Abraham, Ahmed Ahmed

From Wicomico High: Chang Lee