June 6, 2017 Board of Education Awards & Recognitions Night
Superintendent, Board of Education Honor Outstanding Students, Teachers, Programs and Community Partners at June 6, 2017 Awards & Recognitions Night
Posted on 06/09/2017
Congratulations to the outstanding students, teachers, programs and community partners recognized at the June 6 Board of Education Awards & Recognitions Night held at the James M. Bennett Auditorium. Please read on to learn more about their achievements. Great things are happening in Wicomico County Public Schools!


Photos are posted on the school system’s website (http://www.wcboe.org/news/photo_events/) and on its Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pg/wcboe/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1514239025273082).  

2017 Superintendent’s Choice Art Collection

Each spring the Superintendent of Schools visits the student art show at the Downtown Salisbury location of the Wicomico Public Libraries to select artwork for the Superintendent’s Art Collection. This Superintendent’s Choice Collection represents all the great work of students from Prekindergarten through 12th Grade. This year Dr. Hanlin placed a “Superintendent’s Choice” sticker on an outstanding piece from each school as well as two from the Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program. The winners will be showcased in our school system, online, and in our community.

Certificates of recognition for the 2017 Superintendent’s Choice artists: 

Damien Barlow, Prekindergarten, Charles H. Chipman Elementary, instructor Ms. Zimmerman

Chase Bleile and Riley Polk, Kindergarten, Fruitland Primary, instructor Ms. Smith

Camden McIntyre, Grade 1, Westside Primary, instructor Mrs. Bishop

Ja’Monte Bunting, Grade 2, North Salisbury Elementary, instructor Mr. Auger

Reese Fleetwood, Grade 2, Westside Intermediate, instructor Ms. Bishop

Woosin “Abigail” Lim, Grade 2, Pemberton Elementary, instructor Mr. Auger

McKenna Ellison, Grade 2, Beaver Run Elementary, instructor Ms. Johnson

Olivia Owens, Grade 3, Willards Elementary, instructor Ms. Phillips

Abisha Shrestha, Grade 3, Delmar Elementary, instructor Ms. Henderson

Cameron Elliott, Grade 4, East Salisbury Elementary, instructor Mr. Cotton

Madison Derbyshire, Grade 4, Fruitland Intermediate, instructor Ms. Richardson

Megan Chatterton, Grade 4, Glen Avenue Elementary, instructor Mrs. Phillips

Jayden Baldwin, Grade 4, Pinehurst Elementary, instructor Mr. Cotton

Joseline Ventura-Castro, Grade 5, Prince Street Elementary, instructor Ms. Rommel

Evan Birch, Grade 5, Northwestern Elementary, instructor Ms. Richard

Kaitlyn Brittingham, Grade 5, Pittsville Elementary and Middle, instructor Ms. Gilland

Kibo Park, Grade 8, Salisbury Middle, instructor Mr. Hammack

Gisela Ponce Guzman, Grade 8, Wicomico Middle, instructor Ms. Smith

Kyla Garrison, Grade 8, Bennett Middle, instructor Ms. Littleton

Aman Shahzad, Grade 10, James M. Bennett High, instructor Ms. Riser

Rebecca Lappin, Grade 10, Mardela High, instructor Ms. Dean

Jorge Gil-Leyva, Grade 10, Wicomico High, instructor Mrs. Pavlekovich

Meredith Brewington, Grade 11, Parkside High, instructor Mrs. McCoy

Brianna Cramer, Grade 11, Mardela High and Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program, instructors Mr. Foltz, Mr. Jones, Mrs. Choi

Jayden Overton-O’Hara, Grade 11, James M. Bennett High and Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program, instructors Mr. Foltz, Mr. Jones, Mrs. Choi


911 VIPs

The Wicomico County Department of Emergency Services recently celebrated some 911 VIPs – young people who when confronted with an emergency situation were able to effectively use 911 to get help for someone in need. Three called 911 on behalf of a family member, and two encountered a stranger in distress out in the community, called 911, and stayed to help.

Brooklyn Henderson, Grade 4, East Salisbury Elementary

Casady Ruark, Grade 5, Northwestern Elementary

Nathaniel Cephas, Grade 6, Bennett Middle

Javon Purnell, Grade 8, Salisbury Middle

Antonio Johnson, Grade 8, Salisbury Middle


Wicomico STEM Challenge Championship

The 4th annual Wicomico County STEM Challenge Championship was held May 24 for the top teams from Wicomico intermediate and middle schools. Teams designed and built devices to solve grade-specific challenges, winning first at the classroom level and then at the school level to qualify to compete head-to-head with teams from other Wicomico schools in the county championship. The champions from each grade level received medals and a plaque to take back for display in their school.

Third Grade students competed in Safe Racer. Teams had to design a race car that could carry an egg down an incline plane and into a solid barrier.  Only the cars whose “Egg Drivers” survived the crash test moved on to phase two of the challenge, running the cars for the best total distance. 

Third-Grade champions, from Willards Elementary: Tony Geis, Zoey McIntyre, Alli Cooper

Fourth-Grade Students competed in the Disaster Relief Challenge. Modeled after the free-fall drop of disaster relief supplies completed by organizations like the Red Cross, this challenge had students designing, constructing, and testing a shipping container that could protect supplies from drops initiated at ever-increasing heights. The cargo was represented by an egg. Students also had to apply mathematics in order to create a budget and purchase materials for their device.

Fourth-Grade champions, from North Salisbury Elementary: Gabrielle Konlian, Jayden Joseph, Kaden Walsh

Fifth-Grade students completed the Mars Rover challenge. After watching videos and simulations of the parachute-assisted delivery of the Mars rover vehicle to the surface of the red planet, students designed their own parachute-assisted delivery vehicle for a fragile payload – an uncooked egg. These delivery devices were dropped from increasing heights, and students received a score for both the height and the amount of ‘money’ spent on developing and constructing their device.

Fifth-Grade champions, from Westside Intermediate: Diamond Dixon, Kendall Horseman, Ben Messick

As part of the 6th Grade Unit on Earth Systems, students investigated generation and impact of earthquakes. For their STEM challenge, groups of 6th graders designed and constructed earthquake-resistant structures, which were tested on shake tables. Students received points for their structure’s height and how much weight it could hold under the stress of an earthquake.

Sixth-Grade champions, from Bennett Middle: Aidan Coffey, Kara Lewis, Izabelle Devies

The 7th Grade Science curriculum includes a unit on Life Science that covers anatomy, genetic mutations, variations and adaptations. For their STEM Challenge, 7th grade students designed adapted limbs that could be used to retrieve items over a distance.

Seventh-Grade champions, from Pittsville Middle: Tyler Nicholson, Cole Richards, Chris Killian

Our 8th Grade Science curriculum includes a Physics unit that covers mechanics and motion.  Students applied what they learned in this unit to design and build mousetrap-powered cars.  The cars were tested for both speed and distance traveled.

Eighth-Grade champions, from Mardela Middle: Melanie Hubbard, Emma Robbins

The Spirit of Engineering Award recognizes students who exhibited excellence in the classroom as they utilized the Engineering-Design Cycle and truly meet the spirit of the STEM competition. Their work showed the importance of traits such as creativity, critical thinking and persistence as they strived to develop solutions to the engineering problem they faced.

STEM Spirit of Engineering Award to these students from Wicomico Middle: Drue Hairston, Makayla Church, Michenika Mathieu, Kaleb Jones, Nise Pierre


Fuel Up to Play 60 2017 Maryland Ambassadors and Program Advisors

In 2014 the Wicomico County Public School System became the first school system in the nation to pilot a countywide NFL Fuel Up to Play 60 program, in cooperation with the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association. This countywide health and fitness focus has continued ever since. Wicomico’s Fuel Up to Play 60 initiative is powered by some great student and adult leaders. Certificates of achievement for outstanding leadership in the Fuel Up to Play 60 Program to these East Salisbury Elementary students and physical education teachers:

Jordis Davis and Tyler Manger, 2017 Maryland Program Ambassadors. They are leaders in student-led health and wellness in Wicomico County and will be attending the 2017 National Student Ambassador Summit in Minneapolis, Minn. this July to represent East Salisbury Elementary and all Wicomico and Maryland schools participating in Fuel Up to Play 60.

Physical education teachers Ron Bose and Allison Welkie have led the way with Fuel Up to Play 60 in Wicomico County. They will represent Maryland as the Maryland Program Advisors at the national summit.


Destination Imagination Global Finals Teams

Destination Imagination – DI - is an activity that student teams engage in after school and on weekends to build their skills in creative problem solving, teamwork and critical thinking. DI transcends race, gender and ethnic boundaries and is unparalleled in its engagement of parents. In April, six teams from Wicomico Schools qualified for Global Finals through their excellent efforts at the Maryland State DI Tournament at UMBC. Global Finals featured 1,400+ teams and more than 8,000 students from more than 15 countries.

Certificates of achievement for these outstanding teams that competed at Global Finals in Knoxville, Tennessee in May:

“3-Peat” Improvisation Challenge (Elementary Level): Westside Intermediate School DI Brows

2nd place at States, 42nd place at Global Finals

Team Members: Mason Parker, Annabel Matava, Ben Messick, Elise Connolly, Sadie Wilkins, Cedrick Jung

Team Managers: Jen Parker and Lynn Matava

DI School Facilitators: Kim Messick and Katie Fowlkes


“Top Secret” Scientific Challenge (Elementary Level): North Salisbury Elementary School   Mustache Mustangs

1st place at the State Tournament, 41st place at Global Finals

Team members: Bella Thompsen, Maya Thompsen, Kate Miller-Vail, Bella Hooper, Lillian Desmond, Diamond Torney

Team Manager: Ashlee Thompsen

DI School Facilitators: Mary Kinnamon and Marlene Naumann


“Ready, Willing & Fable” Service Learning Challenge: Project Outreach (Senior Level): Wicomico High School Uncommon DInominators

3rd place at the State Tournament, 35th place at Global Finals

Team Members: Cayson Mears, Paige Folke, Colleen Sullivan, Taylor Jacobs, Alethea-Jade Coffey

Team Managers: Heather Joslin and Christel Folke

DI School Facilitator: Rebecca Mathews


“3-Peat” Improvisation Challenge (Middle Level): Salisbury Middle School Funky Monkeys

3rd place at the State Tournament, 29th place at Global Finals

Team Members: Brennan Kaiser, Gavin Parker, Ethan Baker, Makenzie Johnson, Maya Matava

Team Managers: Jen Parker, Jodi Reikard and Kelly Kaiser

DI School Facilitator: Tara Elliott

Certificate of recognition for this Funky Monkey who put his musical talents on the line in the Global Finals Talent Contest. Brennan Kaiser entered the video talent contest before Globals and placed 3rd, and at Globals he performed a drum solo before a crowd of 15,000 at the closing ceremony.


“Top Secret” Scientific Challenge (Middle Level): Salisbury Middle School Mindful Thinkers

4th place at the State Tournament, 29th place at Global Finals and a special DI award: Spirit of Discovery & Imagination.

The Mindful Thinkers received this special award for mastering the ultimate Instant Challenge: After six months of practice and preparation, the team’s prop trailer was stolen the day before its Global Finals Central Challenge. The team dazzled with a can-do, positive attitude as team members recreated their set and props, helped by the support system that is the DI family, especially other Wicomico and Maryland teams. It was an unexpected challenge and they met it head on. Their presentation was upbeat and well crafted. They not only overcame considerable adversity, but accepted the challenge with gusto and grace.

Team Members: Brianna West, William Creese, Grace Nichols, Eden Donoway, Andrew Golba

Team Managers: Joshua West and Charlene Creese

DI School Facilitator: Tara Elliott


“Top Secret” Scientific Challenge (Middle Level): Bennett Middle School Legendary Llamas

3rd place at the State Tournament, 12th place at Global Finals

Team Members: Pag-Asa Sison, Sheyene Brown, Psalmy Lacson, Johnnie Watkins, James Watkins, Da Hyun Son

Team Manager: Amy Jo Watkins

DI School Facilitator: Barbara Fodor


Distinguished Partner for Education

Wicomico Schools and the Board of Education presented a plaque to Dr. Stephen L. Capelli in thanks for his many years as a Distinguished Partner for Education for Wicomico County students. Dr. Capelli started his career in education as a high school teacher before moving to higher education. He has been serving the students and families of Wicomico County for 33 years, and is the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Wor-Wic Community College. He will retire June 30 after a 33-year in higher education in Wicomico County. During this time he was a strong supporter of Vocational Education, now called Career and Technology Education through his work with authoring articulated agreements and being a longtime member of the Local Advisory Council for Wicomico County CTE. In addition, Dr. Capelli’s leadership was instrumental in establishing dual enrollment early college opportunities as well. He has been a major contributor to the design of Wor-Wic’s campus, and has overseen curriculum, course planning, development and evaluation of programs, and student services.


Friends of Wicomico Public Libraries 2017 Light of Literacy Awards

The Friends of Wicomico Public Libraries’ Light of Literacy Awards breakfast on April 20 recognized individuals and groups as shining examples of the best and brightest of our community in the area of literacy. Certificates of achievement for these Wicomico Schools recipients of 2017 Friends of Wicomico Public Libraries Light of Literacy Awards:

Youth Luminary: Dariana Ortiz, Wicomico High School. Dariana recently graduated from Wicomico High School, where she was an AP and Honors student and an active participant in many after-school and extracurricular activities. She is a first-generation immigrant who puts her strong academic skills and desire for social justice to tutor her peers. She also volunteers as a translator for the members of her church. Dariana works with UNICEF and SGA. She has also written her own children’s book, focusing on bullying prevention and self-love. Dariana is deserving of the Youth Luminary Award for her love of reading, her support for literacy in others, and her passion for volunteering.

Educator Luminary: Wanda Dawson, Westside Primary School. Last month, Mrs. Dawson received her 50-year service recognition from Wicomico County Public Schools. She has served in the media center at Fruitland Primary and is now media associate at Westside Primary. Four generations of students have benefited from her dedication and her innovative, unique style. Children enjoy her library as a place that is colorful, fun and inviting. She makes books come alive through song, crafts, puppets and more. But that’s not all Mrs. Dawson has done to support literacy: She has been a key partner for teachers, gathering content specific materials to support the lessons taking place in the classroom. She has also supported literacy through work for summer programs and summer school. She has been a shining star for literacy for children, teachers, and the community.


Baxter Enterprises/McDonald’s McEducator Awards

Thanks to a partnership that started in 1999 between West Salisbury Elementary and Baxter Enterprises/McDonald's, thousands of teachers and tens of thousands of students have benefited from support that exceeds well over a half-million dollars, including $38,000 in support this school year. Baxter Enterprises CEO Tom Baxter and his daughter, Tiffany Beach, who is an owner/operator with her husband Shawn Beach, and Valerie Moyers, Marketing Manager presented a “big check” for $38,000 to Dr. Hanlin and the Board of Education. The school system greatly appreciates Baxter Enterprises and its outstanding commitment to education.

Baxter Enterprises is a wonderful partner for education not just in Wicomico County, but across Delmarva. There are coupons and bicycles to reward good scholarship and citizenship at the elementary level, spirit nights at some of the 19 Baxter McDonald's restaurants on Delmarva, two $500 scholarships for graduating seniors at each high school, and McEducator Awards for top teachers from each Wicomico elementary school.

Congratulations to the 2017 recipients of the McEducator Award. Criteria include outstanding attendance, commendable observations and evaluations, positive rapport with others, tenured status, and an effective instructional program. Baxter Enterprises presented a $400 gift card and a McEducator certificate to:


Jessica Martin, Beaver Run Elementary

Tammy Schtierman, Charles H. Chipman Elementary

Heather Jackson, Delmar Elementary

Breonna Hopkins, East Salisbury Elementary

Sheree Draucker, Fruitland Primary

Jane Kitzrow, Fruitland Intermediate

Andrea Urban, Glen Avenue Elementary

Jessica Atkins, North Salisbury Elementary

Melissa Echard, Northwestern Elementary

Brenda Rhoads, Pemberton Elementary

Linda Welch, Pinehurst Elementary

Rita Kerr, Pittsville Elementary

Kristin Rickards, Prince Street Elementary

Freda Morris, Wicomico Early Learning Center

Lindsey Nielson, Westside Primary

Alexis Willing, Westside Intermediate

Dannielle Rhodes, Willards Elementary


Wicomico Representatives at Maryland Digital Literacy Day

On Feb. 23, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan welcomed a student representative and an educator from each county to the Maryland Digital Literacy Day in Annapolis. This event was sponsored by the Maryland State Department of Education and the Digital Harbor Foundation. It was an incredible experience for Wicomico representative Ethan McCormack of Pittsville Middle and Bennett Middle media specialist Debbie McCormack, his educator escort and his grandmother. Ethan was excited to shake the governor’s hand and to add a 3D printed Wicomico County piece to a 3D Maryland map. He was also thrilled to be part of this event in Maryland’s historic State House, with portraits of governors all the way back to Lord Baltimore. Mrs. McCormack was impressed by the collaboration of all counties on this 3D printing project.


Outstanding Summer Learning Opportunities

Junior Samantha Wiersberg of James M. Bennett High was recently awarded a summer Volunteen Internship at St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Samantha was one of only 40 students nationwide to be selected for this competitive and prestigious opportunity. The Volunteen program strives to provide a rich, well-rounded experience of service during the two-week internship, developing team building and leadership skills and fostering self-awareness. The program is highly demanding, as each teen works closely with patients, siblings and parents. Volunteens are able to explore possible career paths as well as gain an understanding of how this unique facility has completely changed how the world treats children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases.  

Each year, more than 100,000 students from around the country apply to be a part of the U.S. Naval Academy’s Summer STEM Seminar to learn more about science and engineering from the faculty and midshipmen. From this pool, fewer than 2% of the students are selected to participate, based up on superior academic performance and overall accomplishments in and out of the classroom. James M. Bennett High School freshman Cassidy Bauer was chosen by the Academy to attend the 2017 Summer STEM Seminar. She will travel to Annapolis June 12 and spend the week on campus at the Naval Academy, which was recently ranked by U.S. News and World Reports as one of the top 5 “Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs” in the United States.  Cassidy will experience the real-life application of math and science principles through hands-on practical learning in world-class lab facilities, and will be better prepared to pursue high school and college coursework in the STEM fields.


Community Partner: Mt. Hermon Plow Days

A community partnership with Mt. Hermon Plow Days Inc. is giving 4th-Grade students the opportunity to travel back in time. Plow Days was formed to increase interest in, knowledge of, and an appreciation for farm work and life. At the same time, Plow Days shares the contribution of past rural Americans and educates the public in how plowing with horses and mules was done. Through the annual Mt. Hermon Plow Days for the public, it was always the vision of Plow Days President Oren Perdue to reach out to the children of Wicomico County. This idea became a reality in the Spring of 2016 when Mt. Hermon Plow Days invited the 4th grade classes of Wicomico County Public Schools to come visit for a special school-day-only event. Some 460 students along with teachers and chaperones enjoyed the experience. This year the Mt. Hermon Plow Days opened up for two days for 4th grade students, with hopes of having more classes taking advantage of the invitation. Some 353 fourth graders along with teachers and chaperones attended on March 30th, but unfortunately the second day was canceled by the schools due to bad weather. With what we all hope will be a long-standing partnership, we trust this will be an annual field trip opportunity for the fourth-grade students of Wicomico Schools. Wicomico Schools and the Board of Education presented a certificate of appreciation to Plow Days President Oren Perdue and the Mt. Hermon Plow Days in thanks for offering this outstanding educational opportunity to the fourth-grade students of Wicomico County.


Maryland Public Schools Career Coaching Wins Record for Boys Basketball

Certificate of achievement for Wicomico High School Boys Basketball Head Coach Butch Waller for setting the career wins record for Maryland public schools boys basketball coaches. In his many seasons as the boys basketball head coach at Wicomico High School, Waller has positively impacted thousands of lives. He has worked with generations of student athletes to guide them to excel, grow, win, and go on to great things once they take off the Indians uniform for the last time. But each year after he has said goodbye to players moving on to college and career, Coach Waller has stayed on to prepare for the next year’s team.

This dedication to the success of Wicomico High School students on the basketball court has continued for 51 seasons, and during that 51st season a very special milestone occurred. On Jan. 5, with a home victory against Easton High School, the team notched a win that made Coach Waller the winningest boys basketball coach in Maryland public school history. His 773rd career win that night put him ahead of retired Annapolis High School coach John Brady. By the end of the season Coach Waller’s career win total stood at 781, with each win setting a new state record. We look forward to seeing what he and his team do next season.


2017 Maryland State Solo & Ensemble Festivals

Each spring the Maryland Music Educators Association holds the State Solo and Ensemble Festivals for students and ensembles who qualify by receiving a Superior rating at the District Solo and Ensemble level. The following students and choir performed at a State Solo and Ensemble festival and received a Superior rating – the highest rating available to a performer – at this highest level of competition. They received certificates of achievement from the school system and Board of Education.

For strings, instructors Ashley Palmer, Sharay DuBose and Sarah Burton:

Bennett Middle:

Teiji Schoyen, cello, Grade 8

Gracie Elswick, violin, Grade 8

Pittsville Middle:

Simon Jeong, violin, Grade 8

Josie Sollars, violin, Grade 8

Olivia Phommachanh, violin, Grade 8

Salisbury Middle: Olivia Haines, cello, Grade 7

James M. Bennett High:

Sophia Keniston, cello, 2017 graduate

Gabe Dunn, violin, Grade 10

Christopher Sajadi, violin, 2017 graduate

Parkside High:

Laila Libertin, violin, Grade 10

Leyna Paul, violin, Grade 10

Sarah Runge, violin, Grade 10

Miyuki Schoyen, violin, Grade 11

James Hsia, violin, Grade 9

Wicomico High:

Bry’an Brown, violin, Grade 9

Jasmine Love, violin, Grade 9

Nicholas Nguyen, violin, Grade 11


For chorus, instructors Jeff Baer, Megan Centineo and Sharon Ehrisman:

From the Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program:

Katelin Beach, soprano, 2017 Wicomico High School graduate

Brooke Bennish, soprano, 2017 Parkside High School graduate

Alison Sahler, soprano, Grade 11, James M. Bennett High

Joshua Dennis, tenor, 2017 James M. Bennett High graduate

Jared Sullivan, bass, Grade 11, Wicomico High

From Mardela High: Alanna Klos, soprano, 2017 graduate

From James M. Bennett High: Zoë Sheller, soprano, Grade 11


The James M. Bennett High Concert Choir, Choral Director Megan Centineo. JMB’s Concert Choir was the first Wicomico County choir to perform at the Maryland State Choral Festival in many years. It received straight 1s – a Superior rating – from the judges.


For band, instructors Joshua Mengel, Howard Snow, Jana Hobbs, Ken Dasher, Cory Boltz, Douglas Miles, Kevin Zaczkiewicz, Lillian Hoffman:

Bennett Middle: Gi Kwon, flute, Grade 8

Pittsville Middle:

Kamren Driscoll, snare drum, Grade 7

Stephen Pastusak, snare drum, Grade 7

Sarah Knapp, trumpet, Grade 7

Lilly Dasher, French horn, Grade 7

Le'Quiesha Hodges, trombone, Grade 7

Matt Lewis, alto sax, Grade 8

McKenna Linzey, flute, Grade 8

Kailey Thamert, clarinet, Grade 8

Ah'nyah Jack, alto sax, Grade 7

Salisbury Middle:

Hannah Kim, flute, Grade 7

Kayla Lim, flute, Grade 7

Wicomico Middle:

Ava Bautista, flute, Grade 7

Sophia Petito, flute, Grade 7

Mardela Middle and High:

Emily Dennis, flute, Grade 7

Alyssa Boltz, French horn, Grade 8

Logan Rudd, alto sax, Grade 8

Cole Russ, trumpet, Grade 8

Makhai Bratten, percussion, Grade 9

Madison Horner, percussion, Grade 9

Breanna Soldatelli, mallets and percussion, Grade 9

Jake Taylor, percussion, Grade 9

Olivia Waters, mallets, Grade 9

Mitchell Adams, trombone, Grade 10

Malik Allen, percussion, Grade 10

Gary Hoehler, mallets and percussion, Grade 10

Adam Insley, trumpet, Grade 10

Rachel Lewis, flute, Grade 10

Morgan McGee, flute, Grade 10

Hunter Wirt, mallet and percussion, Grade 10

Maggie Adams, trumpet, Grade 11

Emma Bush, clarinet, Grade 11

Keith Flagg, trombone, Grade 11

Lauren Fox, clarinet, Grade 11

Justin Long, trombone, Grade 11

Darien O’Neal, percussion, Grade 11

Cole Owens, barisaxophone, Grade 11

Abigail Boltz, alto saxophone, 2017 Mardela High graduate

Daegan Lappin, clarinet, 2017 Mardela High graduate

Jamie Taylor, tuba, 2017 Mardela High graduate

Emma Timmons, alto saxophone, 2017 Mardela High graduate

Cassidy White, flute, 2017 Mardela High graduate

James M. Bennett High:

Jon Adams, clarinet, 2017 graduate and Visual and Performing Arts Program

Abbey Loar, clarinet, Grade 9

Hannah Burchard, flute, Grade 10

Michael Avanessian, drum and drum set, Grade 10

Peter Lim, oboe, 2017 graduate

Parkside High: Hannah Lewis, French horn, 2017 graduate and Visual and Performing Arts Program

Wicomico High: Camisha Dennis, bass clarinet, 2017 graduate


2017 Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

Wicomico County Public Schools was recently named one of the Best Communities for Music Education for the 8th time in the last 11 years. An outstanding example of the quality of music education in our schools can be found at Mardela Middle and High School. Certificate of achievement for the Mardela High School Symphonic Band and Warrior Marching Band & Bandfront, Band Director Mr. Cory Boltz for success at the 2017 Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival held May 5-6 in Winchester, Va.

The Symphonic Band presented an artful concert at the Shenandoah University Music Conservatory and finished 1st out of 2 Open Class Bands, 2nd among a total of 4 Bands of various classifications.

In the Friday Firefighters’ Parade, the Warrior Marching Band & Bandfront received accolades as Top Small Band, Top Bandfront (entire parade), and 2nd Place among all competing Middle School, Large & Small High School & Military Bands.

At Saturday’s Grand Feature Parade, Mardela received Top Small Band, Top Bandfront (entire parade), and 1st Place among all competing Middle School, Large & Small High School & Military Bands.

Finally, Mardela received the singular honor of being named Sweepstakes Winner, the overall winner of Apple Blossom Festival for receiving the highest averaged scores in three events. This is the fourth time in five years that Mardela has received this honor! The Mardela Warriors Marching Band & Band Front picture will be displayed in the 2018 Apple Blossom Festival Brochure.


Mentoring Partnership: Coast Guard Station Ocean City

Certificates of appreciation for Coast Guard representatives serving as mentors for the students of Pittsville Elementary and Middle School. Two years ago the Coast Guard began collaborating with Principal Michael Cody and guidance counselor Valerie Hughes on a mentoring program for some of the students of Pittsville Elementary and Middle School. This mentoring connection has been very successful, and the Coast Guard hosted the end-of-the-year PBIS trip at Station O.C. last year and this year. This is part of the Coast Guard’s Partner in Education program.

The engines behind this effort have been Master Chief Boatswain Mate Timaree Sparks, who is the Officer in Charge of Station Ocean City, and Boatswain Mate 1st Class Larry Johnson. Not only do they keep our waterways safe and rescue distressed vessels, they are committed to community service and serving the children in our area. During their time as mentors, the children have made positive strides in character and education.

The Coast Guard only stations its members for three years in one location and then moves them to their next assignment. Master Chief Sparks has one more year in Ocean City and BM1 Johnson will be relocated to North Carolina in late June. We are delighted that two more Coast Guard representatives, Storekeeper 1st Class Edward Taboda and Seaman Stephany Dumond, joined the mentoring effort this year as well. We hope even more will come to support the students of Pittsville Elementary and Middle. They are all making a difference in the lives of children at Pittsville School.


MPSSAA Career Steals Record for Softball

Certificate of achievement for the Wicomico County student now holds the Maryland career record for stolen bases in softball. On May 15 in Mardela High’s sectional semifinal game against Pocomoke High, Mardela High senior softball player Sydney Goertzen stole a base in the 1st inning to eclipse the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association record of 116 stolen bases set by Chrissy Gavin of Atholton High School from 1992 to 1995. Sydney then added another stolen base in the 4th inning to bring her career total to 118.


Outstanding Community Support and Achievement: Wicomico High JROTC

The Wicomico High School JROTC Program was recognized for Excellence in Community Support and Achievement, represented by Lieutenant Colonel Hannah Elliott, who was the Drill Team, Color Guard and Honor Guard Captain this year and the Battalion Commander, and CW4 (Ret) William Taylor, Senior Army Instructor for the Wicomico High School JROTC program. Elliott received a certificate of leadership for outstanding service this year as Drill Team, Color Guard and Honor Guard Captain and Battalion Commander. She was the driving force behind the success of the Wicomico High School JROTC program.

On Nov. 11, JROTC cadets performed as Honor Guard during the Wicomico County War Memorial Committee’s Veterans Day ceremony at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center. Cadets supported event set-up and presented colors of all military services and our national colors. Additionally, JROTC Cadets placed more than 200 flags at graves of military veterans laid to rest at Wicomico Memorial Gardens Cemetery. 

Throughout this school year, the JROTC Color Guard performed more than 50 missions within the community including leading the Fruitland Easter Parade and Fruitland Little League Parade. Color Guard performed at Salisbury University Mens Lacrosse, Bayside Championship Basketball Game, Special Olympics, Salisbury Christmas Parade, Snow Hill Christmas Parade, Salisbury Jaycees, VFW, American Legion, 9/11 Ceremony, JROTC Military Ball, Shorebirds Opening Day and Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club – just to name a few.

The Wicomico JROTC volunteered at many school and community events this year including Special Olympics, East Salisbury Elementary School, Salvation Army, Boys and Girls Club, Fruitland Little League, Salisbury Jaycees, Wicomico County Parks and Recreation, Wicomico War Memorial, American Education Week, Martin Luther King ceremony, Lions Club, Holiday Basketball Tournament and VFW.  

This year the JROTC Academic Team advanced to the second round of the JROTC Academic Bowl, one of four teams in the state of Maryland. The Tribe Battalion Drill Team won 1st place in Regulation Rifle Drill and Exhibition Rifle Drill at our regional drill competition. And for the 4th consecutive year, the Wicomico High School JROTC program was rated 400/400 by Cadet Command for excellence in community support and program commitment. 


United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore Addiction Awareness Arts Competition

This spring the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore held an Addiction Awareness Arts Competition to give middle and high school students the chance to illustrate the dangers of addiction. The artwork by the students was stunning and powerful. Entries were showcased in Downtown Salisbury’s Parker Place building, and the winners were named at the May Third Friday celebration. Certificates of achievement for these 1st Place winners:

Wicomico County Middle School Art, $500 award: Ricxi Zelaya, Bennett Middle

Wicomico County High School Film, $1,000 award: Rebecca Ingraham, Wicomico High JROTC

Wicomico County High School Fine Art, $1,000 award: Brandon Page, Parkside High


Maryland Green School Awards

The Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education recognizes schools that have made a commitment to environmental protection and restoration through actions involving the physical plant, curriculum, professional development, and student action projects. Nationally recognized, the Maryland Green Schools Award Program allows schools and their communities to collaborate and evaluate their efforts in environmental sustainability. Participating schools empower youth to make changes to reduce environmental impact, encourage sustainability and foster environmental literacy. 

This year, four Wicomico Schools were recognized as Maryland Green Schools. This is the highest number of Green Schools ever named in a single year in Wicomico County, and shows the hard work and leadership of teachers and students in these schools. The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, an outreach of Salisbury University and one of several certified Maryland Green Centers, was instrumental in providing technical assistance and professional development for our new Green Schools. 

We recognize the following schools and the teachers who led their schools in attaining Maryland Green School Award certification:

James M. Bennett High: Hemalatha Bhaskaran, Ben Davis, Joan Cooper

Parkside High: Jerry Kelley, Brittany Wilson, Georgianna McElroy

Willards Elementary: James Distler, Kellianne Scholl

Fruitland Primary: Jenny Cadwallader, Erin Bailey


Wicomico Robotics Achievements

The Wicomico County Robotics team had another great year. Students and their adult mentors become a robotics family during the time spent together in planning, building, practicing and competing. Students challenge themselves, gain knowledge and built not only robots, but their own future.

This year Alana Reyes (James M. Bennett High) of FTC Team 10382 was the Dean’s List Award Finalist at the state level for the FIRST Technology Challenge. This allowed her the chance to attend the Worlds Competition to compete for the Dean’s List Award at higher level. This award recognizes the leadership and dedication of FIRST’s most outstanding FIRST Tech Challenge students. Since its introduction in 2010, the FIRST Dean’s List Award has attracted the attention of prestigious colleges and universities who desire to recruit FIRST Dean’s List students. Although Alana did not win at the Worlds level, she was elected to be one of the six VIP Ambassadors at the Worlds Competition. Certificate of achievement for being a Dean’s List finalist in Emmitsburg and being named a Worlds Competition VIP Ambassador.

This year the Wicomico County VEX Robotics team 3389A TecTigers achieved great results, including 2nd Place at the state level. What was unique about the team was the student who took over the team. Anisah Khattak, a freshman at Parkside High School, decided to take on the challenge of saving team 3389A. She had great support from her peers from teams 3389B-D and even had a classmate assist her at the state competition. Anisah spent many hours designing, testing, redesigning, and programming a robot to compete against many other VEX robots at a district level and then finally at the state level in this year’s game challenge, Starstruck. The object of the game was to attain a higher score than the opposing Alliance by Scoring your Stars and Cubes in your Zones and by Hanging Robots on your Hanging Bar. A bonus was awarded to the Alliance that had the most total points at the end of the Autonomous Period. Certificates of achievement for finishing 2nd in the VEX Robotics State Championship in Dover to the members of Wicomico County Robotics VEX Team 3389A: Anisah Khattak, and Michael Klos of Mardela High.

Certificates of appreciation for the mentors, advisors and parents who supported these FIRST and VEX Robotics teams and team members at the state championship: Holly Hatton, Chris Hatton, Tom Mader, Missy Mader, David Miles, Jenny Miles, Franklin Reyes


Letters about Literature

Every year, The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress presents Letters about Literature, a national reading and writing promotion program, with support from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Readers write a personal letter to an author, living or dead, from any genre – fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, contemporary or classic. The student’s letter must explain how that author’s work changed the student’s way of thinking about the world or themselves. In Maryland, there were 1,877 entries this year, and only 61 were selected as state finalists. Certificate of achievement for 11th-grader Michael Urian of James M. Bennett High, a state finalist for his letter to “Life of Pi” author Yann Martel. He was recognized during the April 22 Maryland Humanities ceremony.


YEA! Young Entrepreneurs Academy

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a groundbreaking yearlong program that transforms middle and high school students into entrepreneurs. Students from several Wicomico County Public Schools were part of the 2016-2017 YEA! class sponsored by the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, and Wicomico Schools is a YEA! sponsor. Throughout the program, students developed business ideas, wrote business plans, conducted market research, pitched their plans to a panel of investors, and launched and ran their own real, legal, fully formed companies and social movements. Complete with dynamic guest speakers from the local business community and exciting behind-the-scenes trips to local companies, the fun, project-based YEA! approach empowered students to take charge of their futures.

With representatives of the YEA! Program at the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, Program Manager Sophia Smecker and YEA! Instructor Donnie Waters, Wicomico Schools and the Board of Education presented certificates of recognition to the Wicomico students who completed the Young Entrepreneurs Academy in 2016-2017:

Bennett Middle: Victor Manuel Sandoval, Grade 8

Wicomico High: Devin Phillips, 2017 graduate

Parkside High:

Cole Cropper, Grade 11

Soo “Daniel” Jeong, 2017 graduate

Raymond Vandriessche, 2017 graduate

Ethan Bryant, 2017 graduate

Certificates of recognition for YEA! Completion and certificates of achievement to the Moozik team from James M. Bennett High whose YEA! business idea was chosen as the winner of the Shark Tank-like Salisbury YEA! Investor Panel this spring. As Investor Panel winners, these students represented Salisbury YEA! as finalists at the Saunders Scholars Regional Competition in Rochester, New York.

From James M. Bennett High, the Moozik team:

Zander Forsythe, 2017 graduate

Brock Forsythe, Grade 11

Alex Sewell, Grade 9


Entrepreneurial Success Story

Last year Robert “RJ” Batts was one of the students recognized for completing the inaugural YEA! Young Entrepreneurs Academy. This year we are pleased to celebrate his success with his company, Picklehead, LLC. His business created and markets the Tip Tough kitchen tool with the slogan, “Cut Your Food, Not Your Fingers.” He exhibited the Tip Tough at the International Home & Housewares Show in Chicago a few months ago.

RJ, a freshman at Parkside High this year, won the 2017 Entrepreneurial Spirit Award from the Salisbury Chamber of Commerce. This award is sponsored by Alarm Engineering and recognizes and celebrates an individual or organization that supports, promotes, encourages and fosters entrepreneurship in our community. RJ speaks to Wicomico County students about being an entrepreneur including:  problem solving, the invention process, trial and error/prototyping, using math skills, and following your dreams. He also works with YEA! by recruiting interested students and presenting.

On June 8 he was honored as the 2017 Maryland Small Business Administration Rising Star Student Entrepreneur of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration Baltimore District Office. The invitation to the 2017 Maryland Small Business Week Awards luncheon hailed RJ’s progress in growing his business and product line. The product line is expanding from the original Tip Tough to professional and retail versions.

He recently spoke at the YEA! National Saunders Competition in Rochester, NY. In August he will be speaking at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Inventors Conference in Virginia.


Maryland History Day Competition

Wicomico County Public Schools participated in the History Day Competition at both the county and state levels, starting with the regional History Day held at Salisbury University in February. The Parkside High School Team named “Feminist” won 1st place at the Regional Competition at SU and in April the team competed at the state level. It placed 5th in the Senior Group Documentary category. Certificates of recognition to the members of the Parkside High “Feminist” team for the team’s documentary on Taking a Stand against Objectification: The Miss America Protest of 1968. This documentary won The  Barry A. Lanman Award for Oral History, Martha Ross Center for Oral History, University of Maryland Baltimore County, sponsored by John D. Willard V. The team is Hannah Hoang, Jin Joo Lee and Sarah Runge, with teacher David Crissman.

The Maryland History Day competition recognized a teacher from each participating school system. Wicomico County’s 2017 honoree was Kevin Webberking, Bennett Middle School.


National Automotive Technology Competition

Two Wicomico County students from the Parkside High School Department of Career & Technology Education competed in the National Automotive Technology Competition at the New York International Auto Show in April. At stake in the contest were thousands of dollars in scholarships, tools, and gifts. The team of Parkside students Frank Renshaw and Will Bratten, supported by Automotive Technology instructor Dave White, represented Maryland against pairs of students from around the country in the two-day competition. Their automotive skills and knowledge were put to the test on a timed event in which they had to diagnose and repair intentionally installed “bugs” on a predetermined vehicle. They finished 7th overall and took home more than $50,000 in scholarships and prizes.


47 ABC Teacher Who Makes a Difference

Local TV station 47 ABC supports teachers by honoring lucky educators throughout the year with 47 ABC Teacher Who Makes a Difference recognition, sponsored by Accurate Optical. The TV station receives nominations and surprises recipients in their classrooms. Certificates of recognition to the Wicomico teachers honored as a 47 ABC Teacher Who Makes a Difference during the 2016-2017 school year:

Breonna Hopkins, 5th-Grade teacher at East Salisbury Elementary, November 2016

Mary Laurenzano, math teacher at Bennett Middle School, April 2017


2017 Maryland SkillsUSA Championships

The Maryland SkillsUSA contest showcases Maryland’s best and brightest career and technology education students as they compete for medals, prizes, scholarships, state recognition, and the chance to continue on to national and even international competition. Wicomico County SkillsUSA students made an excellent showing at the April Maryland SkillsUSA Championship, placing 13 students in the top three of a number of skill contests and sending four of those students on to the National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky later this month, along with their instructors.

Certificates of achievement for Wicomico County’s four 1st -place winners and gold medalists in the Maryland SkillsUSA Championships. These students are heading on to national competition:

Joshua McKelvey (Parkside High), Electronics Technology

Cameron White (Parkside High), Carpentry

Benjamin Clark (Parkside High), CNC Technician

Jamie Ashton (Parkside High), CNC Milling Specialist


Certificates of recognition to the following students who won silver or bronze medals in the Maryland SkillsUSA Championships:

2nd place silver medalists:

Taylor McClean (Wicomico High), Esthetics, model Kacey Cowley (Mardela High)

Destin Ames (Parkside High), CNC Turning Specialist

Amanda Powell (Parkside High), CNC Milling Specialist

Aaron Davis (Parkside High), CNC Technician

Eric Carey (Parkside High), Electronics Technology

Nicholas Parsons (Mardela High), Masonry

3rd place bronze medalists:

Leah Fetzer (Mardela High), Nursing Assisting

Nicholas Kelley (Parkside High), Plumbing