Learning Points

Tech student racks up service-academy nominations

Alex AngellAlex AngellWhen Alex Angell was a youngster at Lord Baltimore Elementary School, he wrote a letter to his older self.

‘Did you attend the U.S. Naval Academy?’ he asked his future self.

Now a senior at Sussex Technical High School, he’s hoping to make that childhood dream come true. This spring, Angell (pronounced like the heavenly creature) earned the most service academy nominations of any Delaware student from among the nominations made by U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester.

Students need distinguished nominations — typically from a federal legislator — to be eligible for the likes of West Point or the U.S. Naval Academy.

He hasn’t officially been accepted yet, but Angell nailed the first hurdle by earning nominations to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis (from Carper); U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs (from Blunt Rochester and Carper); and the U.S. Military Academy in West Point (also from Blunt Rochester and Carper). He is also an alternate nominee for Coons. Additionally, all three legislators nominated him to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point.

Sussex Technical School District on the lookout for superintendent

The Sussex Technical School District is now accepting applications for the position of superintendent.

Robot Wars: Teams from IR schools advance to world championship

Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Teamwork is essential to rack up points for, from left, John M. Clayton Elementary School’s Macy Kauffman and Chloe Allen of Team Run JMC 2, and Kai Kelley and Simon Schoenhaar of Lord Baltimore Elementary School Team A.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Teamwork is essential to rack up points for, from left, John M. Clayton Elementary School’s Macy Kauffman and Chloe Allen of Team Run JMC 2, and Kai Kelley and Simon Schoenhaar of Lord Baltimore Elementary School Team A.Students stepped up to the ring for the regional Vex IQ Challenge on Feb. 17 in Georgetown.

In all, 21 teams represented seven schools from the Indian River School District and Salisbury, Md. All year, the elementary and middle school teams have worked to design, program and build Vex IQ robots that complete various tasks.

After making a rockstar entrance to the gymnasium, teams lined up to either begin competition, two at a time, or troubleshoot their bots between rounds.

They scored points individually and by partnering with other teams in a 4-by-8-foot playing field, to test their skills in driving, teamwork and problem-solving. Points are awarded for lifting, stacking and pushing plastic rings into a scoring zone.

Optimists award 2018 essay prizes

The Sussex County Optimist Club kicked off its first season with a youth essay contest. Nearly 60 area high-schoolers participated.

The winners were, first place, Claudia Carey, a senior at Sussex Academy of Arts & Sciences; second place, Curstyn Dutton, a junior at Sussex Academy; and third place, Olivia Tancredi, a senior at Cape Henlopen High School.

Optimists arrive in Sussex County, meet in Georgetown

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Three local students won scholarships for their essays on respect, including, from left to right, Olivia Tancredi, third place, Claudia Carey, first place, and Curstyn Dutton, second place.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Three local students won scholarships for their essays on respect, including, from left to right, Olivia Tancredi, third place, Claudia Carey, first place, and Curstyn Dutton, second place.The Sussex County Optimist Club was founded barely six months ago, but they’re already making their mark in the community as they envision a brighter future.

“Our mission is to provide hope and positive vision, bringing out the best in our youth, our communities and ourselves,” said Connie Sohnleiter, president.

She founded the club last autumn after participating in a Pennsylvania branch of Optimist International for more than 20 years before moving to Lewes. The club was made official on Nov. 7, 2017.

So far, they’ve made big strides in their goals of fundraising, mentoring local youth and starting a Junior Optimist International (JOI) Club at Cape Henlopen High School.

“So, it’s just working with kids — whether it’s through schools, through the agencies, whatever. Just bringing out the best in kids,” said Adele James, a member and former educator.

As a native Sussex Countian, James is encouraging the club to expand to address needs on the less-affluent western side of Delaware, where she said there are more at-risk kids and more need.

“I was in education for 33 years, so I was aware of the issues,” she said.

Emma sells sea slime by the seashore

Lovellette donates half of profits to local schools

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: If you keep it moving, sea slime isn’t really that sticky, said creator and entrepreneur Emma Lovellette, 10.­Coastal Point • Laura Walter: If you keep it moving, sea slime isn’t really that sticky, said creator and entrepreneur Emma Lovellette, 10.­To watch Emma Lovellette expertly mix ingredients in her kitchen, you’d think she’s always loved chemistry projects, or maybe baking.

But no.

“For me, it began with slime,” she says.

The 10-year-old whips up batches of homemade slime, which she sells from her own Etsy business, Under the Sea Slime by Em.

“It’s been really popular, and its’s also really satisfying sometimes,” she said, describing the relaxing sensation of kneading slime on the countertop.

It all began a year ago, when Emma attended a slime-themed birthday party. She was hooked. When she wouldn’t stop experimenting, her parents said, ‘You need to … find a reason to do this in the house.’ So she started a business and began selling her own slime in autumn.

Inspired by her beachy habitat, she kept it simple in perfecting the first few scents, including the dark, glittering raspberry of “Midnight Moon” and the scratchy, tan “Sandy Beach,” complete with sand from Ocean City, Md.

Her favorite is “Mermaid Pearl,” with a birthday-cake scent and foamy texture. (“The foam beads in it make it crunch,” she said.)

Horse whisperers

G.W. Carver Academy using horses to counsel kids

Two new faces arrived on the playground at George Washington Carver Academy this autumn. One blonde and one brunette, they nibbled grass while waiting to meet the students.

IRSD to start talking growth again — ‘We’re behind the ball’

Even if Indian River School District were, right this moment, to successfully pass a referendum to build new schools, it would be years before the doors opened and the district found relief for the growing student population.

Public comments being accepted on anti-discrimination school regs

Delaware is working protect students who typically face discrimination. But proposed regulations have to get past some people who don’t believe there is a problem.

Casting a spell: Clever kids clean up in spelling bee

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: About 27 entrants smile before the competition begins, alongside Southern Sussex Rotarians and other special guests.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: About 27 entrants smile before the competition begins, alongside Southern Sussex Rotarians and other special guests.“Confidence” might be the word of the night, as 27 Indian River School District third-graders competed in the third annual Spelling Bee.

Southern Sussex Rotary hosted the event for southern district students on Nov. 1 at John M. Clayton Elementary.

This year, top prizes went to (first place) Alana Chew of Lord Baltimore Elementary School; (second place) Lauren Myers, Southern Delaware School of the Arts; (third place) Yoselyn Patraca-Carmona, Phillip C. Showell Elementary School; and (fourth place) Catherine Bunting, Lord Baltimore.

Seated on stage, some students swung their feet, not quite reaching the floor, as they watched their peers. Pausing from her duties as moderator, or “pronouncer,” Becky Burton told the audience how the students were encouraging each other.

“They’re up here going, ‘You can do it!’”

Honoring Our Veterans

Lighthouse Christian Students to thank veterans

For years, Lighthouse Christian School has felt the importance of educating youth on the meaning of Veterans Day.

“Our school is very, very concerned about giving time to the veterans, and recognizing our veterans for the sacrifices that both them and their families have made,” said Pat Viguie, a teacher at the school.

TOTS preschoolers make a musical night

Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Preschoolers are movin’ and groovin’ at a music night at Transitioning Our Toddlers to School (TOTS) in Frankford.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Preschoolers are movin’ and groovin’ at a music night at Transitioning Our Toddlers to School (TOTS) in Frankford.These preschoolers were ready to boogie. Live music filled the gym this month at Indian River School District’s Transitioning Our Toddlers to School (TOTS) program.

Armed with an acoustic guitar, Nancy Curry of Makin’ Music Delaware led the children in singing and dancing. She will give three TOTS nighttime shows, plus several classroom visits, this school year, made possible by a $2,500 grant from the Freeman Foundation.

TOTS serves kids ages 3 and 4 who have developmental disabilities or delays.

Kids sing throughout the day, such as the clean-up song. But on their music night, they used listening skills to dance and follow motions.

“This was something that I thought was just little bit different. … This was just pure entertainment,” said Loretta Ewell, TOTS coordinator.

Therapy in a paintbrush

Carver Academy unveils new murals

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Every fish, shrimp and whale has special meaning and a positive message on this mural painted by students with help from John Donato.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Every fish, shrimp and whale has special meaning and a positive message on this mural painted by students with help from John Donato.For some kids, it was an excuse to leave class. For others, it was a chance to paint past a bad day and inspire others having a tough time.

George Washington Carver Academy unveiled five murals this month that are truly meant to make the school a better place.

“Over the course of the 2016-17 school year, our students worked with local artist John Donato to create murals to display throughout school focusing on their work and positive actions … as well as utilizing art as a medium to represent themselves in a positive way,” said Principal Melissa Kansak.

The Carver Academy is an alternative school in Frankford focusing on individual K-12 students’ academic, behavioral and personal needs in Indian River School District. It’s a transient population as students arrive or transition back to their home schools. About 65 students participated in the murals.

East Millsboro Elementary named National Blue Ribbon School

East Millsboro Elementary School was one of three schools in Delaware and 342 nationwide to be named a National Blue Ribbon School for 2017.

This is the second time that East Millsboro Elementary has received this national honor. It also won the award in 2008. Overall, it is the Indian River School District’s ninth National Blue Ribbon Award since 2001.

A journey in the pages of a book

Selbyville Middle School student wins state essay contest

This summer, a basic picture book inspired sixth-grader Molly Amerling to write about refugee families. Now, she’s the first Sussex Countian to represent Delaware in the “A Book That Shaped Me” essay contest.

Sponsored by the Library of Congress and National Book Festival, the idea behind the contest is simple: fifth- and sixth-graders write about a book that has impacted their life.

What's the word?

Scrabble fundraiser to help Literacy Delaware adult education

What wonderful words can you weave?

People who love letters can team up in a Scrabble tournament to raise money for a nonprofit helping teach adults to read.

Scrabble at the Beach is a happy-hour fundraiser for Literacy Delaware, which is based locally in Frankford, but operates statewide.

IRSD announces more new administrators, fills staff

With the new school year having begun on Tuesday, Sept. 5, the Indian River School District is putting the finishing touches on its administration lineup. Although most of the transition was completed before July, a few new opportunities recently opened up for IR staff. Last-minute changes were made at several schools:

IRHS student crowned Miss Hispanic Delaware

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Ana Calles’ crown holds dozens of glittering rhinestones that represent the beauty, poise, intelligence and quick thinking she displayed at the 2017 Miss Hispanic Delaware pageant.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Ana Calles’ crown holds dozens of glittering rhinestones that represent the beauty, poise, intelligence and quick thinking she displayed at the 2017 Miss Hispanic Delaware pageant.Selbyville is home to a new pageant winner and community leader: 17-year-old Ana Calles was crowned Miss Hispanic Delaware this week.

“It’s still very surreal to me, because it’s just something that I’ve been wanting for a long time, and that it’s actually manifested into reality — it’s very surreal,” Calles said.

She has just begun 11th grade at Indian River High School. As the pageant’s only downstate contestant, Calles said she was happy to stand out geographically, despite the necessity of the two-hour drive to the Baby Grand theater in Wilmington’s Grand Opera House for rehearsals and the competition.

Calles represented Mexico in the Aug. 26 program, which celebrates Hispanic culture and is designed to help young ladies develop poise and communication skills. Calles has lived in Selbyville all her life, except for a few years in Mexico when she was younger.

“I was nervous throughout the whole day, but after our opening-number dance, I felt more confident and comfortable on stage,” she said of her very first pageant.

Calles had dreamed of competing for years, but her family had just suffered the painful impact of losing her mother in April.

“I just wanted to make her proud her proud, overall, even though I know just competing made her proud,” Calles said. “I know she was with me that night. I could feel her.”

IRSD talks budget, school numbers, FFA

With some of its schools completely over their enrollment capacity, the Indian River School District is trying to nail down a system for school choice.

On Aug. 28, for the first time in months, the Board of Education approved a number of school-choice recommendations, after only a few minutes of discussion.

Selbyville teen to compete in Miss Hispanic pageant

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: For her pageant platform, Ana Calles encourages people to volunteer for the causes they love.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: For her pageant platform, Ana Calles encourages people to volunteer for the causes they love.Ana Calles doesn’t mind driving two hours to Wilmington every week this summer. Hailing from Selbyville, she’s the only downstate contestant in the Miss Hispanic Delaware pageant.

“Honestly, it’s a big honor, and I feel very fortunate and blessed,” said Calles, 17. “I see how I’m the only one from lower Delaware. I don’t see that as an inconvenience to go all the way up there. I see it was an opportunity or a blessing. I think it’s special because it makes me stand out.”

She will represent Mexico in the Aug. 26 program, which celebrates Hispanic culture and is also designed to help young ladies develop poise and communication skills.

As a rising junior at Indian River High School, Calles said she has wanted to join the pageant for several years now. Calles has lived in Selbyville all her life, except for a few years in Mexico when she was younger.

She has the drive to compete, even hiring Uber rides to Wilmington, until teacher Lori Hudson put an end to that. Then, Hudson personally drove Calles to rehearsals and helped her with program sponsorships.

“She helps me with my schooling and everything. She’s really awesome, to be honest,” Calles said of Hudson. “She definitely goes out of her way, and she’s really there for me — almost in a way a mother would.”

The pageant began in 1972 and is celebrated with the Wilmington Hispanic Festival.

Community helping local kids with school supply drives

Nowadays, “school supplies” are more than just pencils and paper. And some families have trouble affording all the crayons, scissors, binders, index cards and more needed for a successful school year — not to mention a quality backpack to carry everything.

This month, people can donate to local school supply drives, which directly help local children and teens.

Ahoy, robots!

LB brings bots to the beach

Coastal Point • Laura Walter:  Branden Lathbury, left, and Logan Shoobridge display their Lego VEX robot at the Bethany Beach banCoastal Point • Laura Walter: Branden Lathbury, left, and Logan Shoobridge display their Lego VEX robot at the Bethany Beach banThese kids didn’t mind going to school in summer, as Lord Baltimore Elementary School hosted a robotics summer camp for 10 students in which they designed, built and programed their own robots.

“It was hard, but it was really fun to work with each other,” said rising fifth-grader Jay Lockard.

The 10 children from the upper grades at the school split into three teams, and each team built their own Lego VEX robot. Starting with a box of plastic pieces, they learned team-building, strategizing, construction, programing and some coding.

“I was surprised about how we took all these tiny, tiny pieces and put this together,” said Whitney McMillon, technology teacher.

Nature center offers free programs to help families explore Delaware

In order to spread education and awareness about the Inland Bays and wetlands in the Delaware area so that the public is compelled to explore, appreciate and preserve their surroundings, the Bethany Beach Nature Center offers interactive and hands-on programs for locals and visitors of all ages.

School board wants consistent rules for school choice

Kevin Patterson’s third-grade daughter has found success in the Indian River School District, and he looked forward to sending his son to kindergarten this fall. But, living outside the district, the boy isn’t guaranteed a spot, and the school has recommended that the school board reject his school choice application.

Millsboro book sale extends to a second weekend

The Millsboro Public Library’s used book sale will continue for its second weekend on Friday, July 28, from noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday, July 29, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

On Friday, books will be sold individually; paperback books sell for $1 and hardback books sell for $2. The sale will also feature CDs, DVDs and more.

Science and salt air: Sun Otter Tours show off science tours beyond the beach

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Scott Thomas, executive director of Southern Delaware Tourism, seines the bay.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Scott Thomas, executive director of Southern Delaware Tourism, seines the bay.Seaweed tastes a little different when pulled straight from the ocean. Visitors laughed as they tentatively nibbled a bite of sea lettuce in the Delaware Bay. They were on the final leg of the marine ecology tour in Lewes with the new Sun Otter Tours.

The new tour company is taking people on “science-based learning adventures for the naturally curious.” Jody and Steve Dengler created the program to encourage more visitors to visit cool places in coastal Delaware.

“We are a family of travelers. We are a family of science nerds,” Dengler said.

Steve Dengler was selling windows, while Jody Dengler taught at Wilmington University, until the school’s Rehoboth Beach location closed in 2016. But she wanted to keep teaching people about their community.

Dagsboro offer for school resource officer rejected by IRSD

At the monthly town council meeting on July 17, Dagsboro Police Chief Floyd Toomey reported to the council on his presentation to the Indian River School District regarding the role of school resource officer.

Tours offer glimpse into marine research at UD Lewes campus

A multicolored display of the Earth is shown across nine contiguous television screens and, with the click of a mouse, a University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean & Environment (CEOE) graduate student zooms in on North America, the United States, Delaware and, eventually, Lewes.

SDSA has openings for eighth-grade students

Southern Delaware School of the Arts in Selbyville has several openings for students in Grade 8 for the 2017-2018 school year, Indian River School District officials announced this week.

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