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Congratulations to the Honorees from the November 2018 Awards & Recognitions Night!

Wicomico County Public Schools honored outstanding students, staff members, schools and community partners at the Awards & Recognitions Night held at Parkside High School Auditorium Nov. 15, 2018.

“We are all so proud to be here tonight recognizing what you have achieved. Great things are happening every day in Wicomico Schools!” said Dr. Donna C. Hanlin, Superintendent of Schools, at the start of the Awards & Recognitions Night. “As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of public education in Wicomico County, please know that you are an important part of that story.”


Outstanding Student Leadership with American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart/Hoops for Heart

Across the country, the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart/Hoops for Heart events give students the chance to collect donations to help fund awareness and research of heart health. Thanks to the leadership of Physical Education teacher Megan Block and the enthusiasm of Northwestern students, families and staff, the school of just over 300 students raised more than $100,000 for the American Heart Association in 10 years. On behalf of Ms. Block and Principal Deborah Emge, Wicomico Schools presented certificates of recognition to three sisters who were leaders in this fundraising effort: 5th-grader Delanie Spear, 1st-grader Adalynn Dixon and Kindergartner Makenzie Spear.

Last school year, the sisters were recognized as the American Heart Association’s top fund-raisers in Maryland, and together they were the Heart Association’s highest fund-raiser in the Mid-Atlantic. In 2018, the sisters raised $13,001 with the support of family and many others. This brought their personal fundraising total for the American Heart Association to more than $41,000. We are very proud of you and the heart you show for others.


2017-2018 School of the Year Award, Maryland Center for Character Education @ Stevenson University

This fall, three of our schools received a 2017-2018 Maryland Character Education School of the Year Award at the annual awards luncheon of the Maryland Center for Character Education @ Stevenson University. Each of these schools was chosen for the award for 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.

Certificate of achievement for each of these outstanding schools:

Prince Street Elementary School. Prince Street is proud to be a recipient of this character education recognition for the second straight year. Receiving this award on behalf of the students, staff and families of Prince Street are Principal Jason Miller, Assistant Principal Kimberly Waters, Dean of Students Chris McLaughlin and student advisor Joe Raffa. Prince Street staff and students utilize PRIDE Rules in conjunction with the PBIS Program as the basis to promote good character. PRIDE stands for “Prepared, Respectful, Individually Responsible, Demonstrating Self Control and Eager and Ready to Learn.”

North Salisbury Elementary School. North Salisbury has received this award for the third year in a row. Representing all North Salisbury staff, students, families, and supporters are Principal Dave Harris, guidance counselor Adrienne Jenkins, instructional assistant Calvin Burrell, and Assistant Principal Marie Baker. At North Salisbury School, students know that together, “WE ARE NORTH SALISBURY!” Students are KIND and HELPFUL, READERS and WRITERS, and THINKERS and PROBLEM SOLVERS. 

Westside Intermediate School. Representing all the wonderful students, staff members, families and supporters of Westside Intermediate are Principal Chris Nunzio, Assistant Principal Glenda Sinclair, Guidance Counselor Beth Pistilli and Student Advisor Diana Williams. This is the fourth year in a row that Westside Intermediate has received this honor based on its excellent comprehensive program that promotes character traits. 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 to promote good character.


National Kindness Speech Contest Winner

Wicomico County Public Schools is proud to have many students who practice kindness every day, including one student who is a national and local kindness leader. Wicomico Schools presented a certificate of achievement to Savanna Brooks, a student at Pittsville Middle, for winning the National Kindness Speech Contest and for earning the WeHeartSBY Kindness Award.

Early this calendar year, Savanna, then a 5th-grader at North Salisbury Elementary, was one of 90 students nationwide who submitted a 2-minute kindness speech for the first ever National Kindness Speech Contest. She was chosen as one of the 10 finalists (along with James M. Bennett High student Joshua Scott). In nationwide voting on the videos through social media, her speech was chosen as the winner of the $2,500 top prize.

She put the $2,500 kindness speech prize to great use toward kindness projects in the community. Now a 6th Grader at Pittsville Middle, Savanna established a new kindness club there, already creating 30 blessing bags for the homeless. She has taken part in Salisbury’s drive to become the first World Kindness USA city. Salisbury Mayor Jake Day presented Savanna with a 2018 WeHeartSBY Kindness Award at the 3rd annual Dance for Kindness in Downtown Salisbury Nov. 11. Savanna, thank you for all that you do to model kindness for others.


Baltimore Ravens 2018 Honor Rows Recipient

This fall the Bennett Middle School National Junior Honor Society was honored by the Baltimore Ravens and the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism in the 19th annual Honor Rows program, presented by M&T Bank. The BMS NJHS chapter was honored during the September 23rd Ravens 2018 home game, and a number of the students and the club advisors received tickets to that game and sat in the Honor Rows, wore special Honor Rows T-shirts, and took part in a pre-game on-field visit and in-game recognition on the RavensVision boards. WBAL-TV 11, the Ravens’ official broadcast partner, showcased the BMS National Junior Honor Society during an on-air news segment. Congratulations to the students of the National Junior Honor Society of Bennett Middle School and the chapter’s advisors, Cheryl Skeeter, James McCrobie and Deanna Marshall, for being selected as a Baltimore Ravens 2018 Honor Rows recipient for their strong commitment to serving the community.


SHAPE Maryland (Society of Health and Physical Education in Maryland) 2018 Awards

Wicomico has a number of outstanding staff and community members who received statewide recognition from SHAPE Maryland, which is the Society of Health and Physical Educators of Maryland. They were honored October 19th at the annual SHAPE Maryland Awards Banquet. We congratulate these outstanding advocates for fitness in Wicomico schools and community:

2018 Simon A. McNeely Award winners:

Chris Okerblom, Westside Intermediate School physical education teacher. He was recognized for planning and implementing the Elementary Cross Country program that began with two schools four years ago and now involves all 11 Elementary schools with fourth and fifth graders. This year’s championship in City Park involved more than 220 students.

Staci McGowen, Fruitland Intermediate School physical education teacher. She is recognized for her continued efforts to support before, during, and after-school events and activities at her school. Staci led all Wicomico County employees in a dance routine during the 2017 and 2018 kickoff rallies at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center.

2018 Distinguished Friends of SHAPE Maryland Award winner:

Guy “Bud” Elzey. His positive attitude and his love for physical education and children is reflected in his dedication and continued support for health and physical education in Wicomico County through working tirelessly with physical educators and administrators, students at Salisbury University, and community partners, on behalf of Wicomico students. Since retiring as a teacher from Wicomico Schools, Mr. Elzey has been instrumental in sustaining our Beyond the Limits ropes course for the past 10 years. Over the past three years, he has worked to reinvigorate the program so that more than 90 groups of students from our schools can come out for unforgettable team and personal growth experiences. Mr. Elzey’s enthusiasm, innovativeness, and his dedication to the community, school, and students over the last 30 years has been exemplary.

2018 Distinguished Advocate for Healthful Living Award Winner:

Jacob Day, Mayor of the City of Salisbury. Under his leadership, the city was named one of Maryland’s Healthiest Businesses for the second year in a row and hosts walking events around our City Park with employees and citizens. Salisbury has funded design and construction of 16 miles of trails; protection of Maryland’s largest conservation easement in a city with 82 acres of protected trails; construction and expansion of a beloved skateboard park; and more than 100 streets with new sidewalks or bike lanes. The city now has gyms in every major city building. Perhaps most importantly, the City has established its first youth athletic program including youth lacrosse and football, and opened the City’s first youth center with a basketball court.

2018 Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year:

Jennifer Hill, Pinehurst Elementary. Ms. Hill believes that all students can learn and that providing meaningful instruction to every student is a necessity, not a choice. She serves as a coordinator for Unified Sports, President of Eastern Shore Special Olympics, and organizes fundraising efforts for Adapted Physical Education programs. She has piloted the Young Athletes program at Pinehurst Elementary. She was recognized as a Teacher of the Year by Pinehurst Elementary in 2017, and was the Intermediate Teacher of the Year finalist in Wicomico County in 2017. She serves as a liaison to the Maryland Adapted Physical Education Consortium and provides support to physical educators in Wicomico County Public Schools where Adapted Physical Education best practices are shared to benefit students in all schools.


Maryland Youth Advisory Council

Certificate of recognition for Grace Acle of James M. Bennett High, nominated by the Maryland Association of Local Management Boards and appointed by the Governor’s Office for Children to serve on the Maryland Youth Advisory Council for the 2018-2019 school year. Grace is a sophomore at James M. Bennett High School.

The mission of the Maryland Youth Advisory Council is to address relevant issues impacting youth by influencing legislation, spreading public awareness, and serving as a liaison between youth and policymakers – including providing testimony before legislative bodies. The Council has 24 members ages 14-22 who are appointed by the Governor, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House, and Governor’s Office for Children. Members of the Council, including Grace, are a constant reminder that young people serve a valuable role in the conversation, are willing to take on the responsibility, and want to make a difference.


Tournament of Bands Atlantic Coast Championships Achievements for Marching Bands, Individual Band Member Honor

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. Three Wicomico County bands qualified to compete at the Tournament of Bands Atlantic Coast Championships, known as ACCs. We recognize each of these bands.

Certificate of recognition to Band Director Mark Pages and the Wicomico High School Marching Band for a successful season. The Wicomico High School Marching Band, with Director Mr. Pages, presented the 2018 field show “Into the Light,” competing for the first time in Group 3-Open competition. Season highlights include a 3rd Place finish at Chapter Championships with a season high score of 83.40. WiHi’s band enjoyed presenting its halftime show at Sea Gull Stadium for the November 3rd Salisbury University game against Wesley, and has been invited to return next year. At ACCs on November 4th, the band met the goal of competing in ACCs for the sixth straight year and scored 82.10 in its debut open class season.

Certificate of recognition to Band Director Douglas Miles and the James M. Bennett High Clipper Band for the band’s success this season. The Clipper Band presented the field show “The Climb” in 2018, under the direction of Mr. Miles. Season highlights include a 1st Place Group 3-O finish at Delmarvacade of Bands, with special awards for percussion, and 2nd Place 3-Open band and Best 3-Open Pit Crew recognition at the Chapter Championships. At ACCs on November 4th the band scored 90.50 and was a silver medalist, finishing in 11th Place.

Certificate of recognition to Band Director Kevin Zaczkiewicz and the Parkside High School Marching Rams for a successful season. The Marching Rams, under the direction of Mr. Zaczkiewicz, presented the field show “Maryland: Tales of the Old Line State” in 2018. Season highlights include top Group 2-Open Pit Crew as well as Best in Show for the band at Chapter Championships. Parkside also hosted its 41st annual Delmarvacade of Bands competition. On October 28th, the Parkside Marching Rams scored 91.85 to be a silver medalist and 10th Place finisher in Group 2-Open class at the Atlantic Coast Championships.

Certificate of recognition for one of Parkside High School’s senior drum majors, Gracie Perry, who was awarded a Tournament of Bands scholarship for outstanding achievement. This scholarship award was presented at the Chapter Championships on October 20th.


Representing WCPS Visual Arts on a State Level

Wicomico County has outstanding visual artists who have recently represented Wicomico County Public Schools on the state level.

Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan is a strong supporter of the arts, and she invited students to submit artwork for the First Lady’s Fall 2018 Student Artwork Exhibition in Annapolis. Work by two Wicomico students was accepted for the exhibit, and the students attended a grand reception on October 1st to open the show. Certificates of recognition for Brenda Pineda and Lucy Adelizzi, students in the Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program, for having artwork accepted into the First Lady’s Student Artwork Exhibition.

Three Wicomico students have artwork on display through March 2019 in the Treasury Building in Annapolis as part of the Maryland State Treasury Fall Student Artwork Show. Student artwork is on display in both the 1st and 2nd floor hallways of the Treasurer’s Office, where our students’ creativity can be admired by visitors from throughout Maryland. Certificates of recognition for these VPA students with artwork in the Maryland State Treasury Fall Student Artwork Show: Krystal Colon, Jorge Gil-Leyva and Kiarra Serrano


Davidson Fellows Scholarship for Scientific Research

Wicomico County Public Schools is proud to prepare students for college and career, and proud to celebrate students who pursue opportunities for education and advancement outside the school walls. Marvin Li, a sophomore at James M. Bennett High School, pursued scientific research that made him one of only 20 students nationwide selected to receive the prestigious $10,000 Davidson Fellows Scholarship.

Li was a student at Bennett Middle School when he took a Chesapeake Bay field trip and became aware of the bay’s water quality problem. He wanted to help. Eventually he began working with biological oceanographer and remote sensing expert Greg Silsbe at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Horn Point Laboratory. With data and expertise shared by the scientist, Marvin used advanced machine learning tools to develop a new algorithm, for satellite remote sensing of coastal waters. With further testing and scientific validation, the algorithm could be applied to coastal waters worldwide.


Maryland State FFA Plant Research Competition

Two students in the Horticulture Program at the Parkside High School Department of Career & Technology Education were winners in the Maryland State FFA Plant Research Competition held in May. Certificates of achievement for Omani Valentin and Autumn Heater for their winning entry, entitled “Growth Response of Chrysanthemums to Compost Tea and Mycorrhizae Treatment.” Their research has shown promising gains for mum production and has been adopted by growers locally.


Maryland Art Education Association Career Educator Awards

Two of our outstanding art teachers have received district recognition as a Maryland Career Arts Educator from the Maryland Art Education Association. They were honored at Towson University in October as part of highlighting and recognizing outstanding art educators in Maryland.

Stacey Phillips, who teaches at Glen Avenue and Willards elementary schools, was honored as an Elementary Career Art Educator. She is an invaluable Arts Integration expert. She has led teams in her two schools, helping students create work for an International Day at one school and a space theme in another. According to Willards Principal Judy Nicholson, quote, “Stacey is filled with talent and enthusiasm as she shares her love of the arts with her students. Her lessons are of high interest and full of variety. We are so very fortunate to have someone like her working with our students.”

Jennifer Pitoniak works with students at Wicomico High, Wicomico Middle, Pinehurst Elementary and Evening High School. She was honored as a Secondary Career Art Educator. She is passionate about teaching art to her students, most of whom are special education learners at all levels. She designs learning experiences in which all of her students can participate and be successful. These students produced art compositions that were featured in the gallery area of the Ward Museum for Wildfowl Art. She has secured grants to provide students with materials and opportunities that will give them valuable connections to their community and beyond. Her dedication is an inspiration to her colleagues, her students, and their parents.


2018 Borlaug Dialogue and Global Youth Institute of The World Food Prize

Wicomico County and Maryland were well-represented at the 2018 Borlaug Dialogue and Global Youth Institute of The World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa in October. Emily Gass, a junior in the Horticulture Program at the Parkside High School Department of Career & Technology Education, was one of about 200 students worldwide selected as a delegate. She became a delegate on the strength of her research submission on “India – Sanitation Realities and Solutions.” It was an incredible opportunity for Emily to participate in meetings and discussions with world leaders, educators and students from around the world. Certificate of achievement for Emily Gass for representing the Parkside CTE Horticulture Program and Wicomico County Public Schools as a delegate to the 2018 Borlaug Dialogue and Global Youth Institute of The World Food Prize.


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 nine of the past 12 years. It’s no wonder that the talents of our students are recognized far beyond the borders of Wicomico County.

Wicomico singers have represented Wicomico Schools beautifully in performances at statewide events. Thank you to the music teachers who supported students in these activities.

Wicomico students had the day off school on October 19th, but students and chorus instructors from James M. Bennett High School and the Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program spent some or all of that day singing at statewide educator conferences.

Three James M. Bennett High School singers participated in the Maryland Music Educators Association Tenor & Bass Demonstration Chorus throughout that day. Young men from across the state were nominated by their chorus teachers 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 in Columbia. Certificates of recognition for performing in the 2018 Tenor & Bass Demonstration Chorus at the Maryland Music Educators Association Conference for Colin Glushakow, Joshua Harman and Dorien Slemons.

A little closer to home that morning, students from the Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program performed the National Anthem to open the Maryland State Education Association Convention in Ocean City. Their vocal talents were appreciated by hundreds of educators from across the state. Certificates of recognition for singing at the 2018 Maryland State Education Association Convention for these VPA vocalists: Da’Vion Childs, Spencer Cormier, Lindsay Gabbard, Amari’ Jackson, Laila Libertin, Alexa Nastasi, Sarah Runge, Treyce Wilson.


Wendy’s High School Heisman Award

Wicomico is proud of the outstanding seniors who were recognized in the 2018 Wendy’s High School Heisman Award contest. Wendy’s High School Heisman runs in conjunction with the collegiate Heisman. The award celebrates the achievements of the nation’s top high school seniors in academic aptitude, athletic talent, and exceptional commitment to their communities. Seven Wicomico County students were recognized this year.

Certificates of achievement for the two students who were School Winners and State Finalists for the 2018 Wendy’s High School Heisman Award: Braden Glushakow of James M. Bennett High and Asher Amey of Parkside High.

Certificates of recognition to these School Winners in the 2018 Wendy’s High School Heisman Award contest: Lauren Plankey of James M. Bennett High, Logan Genga of Mardela High, Makenzie Rush of Parkside High, and Jessica Greene and Matt Lowe of Wicomico High.


National Merit Scholarship Program

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 34,000 students are honored as Commended Students. Certificates of recognition to Wicomico County’s 2018 National Merit Scholarship Commended Students: George C. Weaver and Matthew C. Selser of James M. Bennett High, and Gia L. Bautista of Wicomico High.


AP Scholar Awards

Wicomico Schools congratulates students whose achievement in academics has earned them an AP Scholar Award. 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. At this Awards & Recognitions Night Wicomico Schools celebrates the AP Scholars at various levels who are current Wicomico County students. Congratulations to all of Wicomico’s AP Scholars, many of whom graduated in 2018.


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

From James M. Bennett High School: Akrem Abdelwahab, Maryam Al Naseri, Dylan Bails, Marilyn Chen, Manal Faisal, Mia Fisher, Erin Hall, Joshua Harman, Alexander Joseph, Alex Kim, Marvin Li, Alana Reyes, Patrick SebaRaj, Aman Shahzad, Abdullah Z. Siddiqui, Carolyn Sidell, Leila Tajvar, Ann Thomas, Mark G. Treuth, Spencer Van Dopp, Katerina Yiannouris

Mardela High: Haylee A. Smith

Parkside High: Asher Amey, Ellery Beck, Joseph Bernstein, Lauren Bradford, Hannah Hoang, Julia Mohr, Bailey Pilchard, Sarah Jane Runge, Ellen Wittmyer

Wicomico High: Juliet Bier, Ahmed Iqbal, Jacob Jackson, Darren Nelson, Ariana Urbano


Certificates of achievement for AP Scholars with Honor, 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.

From James M. Bennett High School: Razzan Elobeid, Annabel Hofmann, Noah Jordan, Jun Lee, Savannah Scott, Bryan SebaRaj, Julianna Sterling

Mardela High: Zoe M. Bradshaw

Parkside High: Indiyah Molock, Gracie Perry, Kinza Pervaiz, Cera Rains

From Wicomico High School: Aysha Ahmed, Rebecca Aydelotte, Briauna Mears, Destiny Thomas


Certificate of achievement for AP Scholars with Distinction, 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.

From James M. Bennett High: Michael Avanessian, Saige Oechsli, Alexander Patterson, Owen Peters, Matthew Phillips, Matthew Selser, George Weaver

Wicomico High: Gia Bautista, William Faulkner, Millicent Kihiuria


National AP Scholars: These 2018 graduates are working hard in college now, but we would like to congratulate them on their achievement. Wicomico County had two students who achieved at the very highest level of the 2018 AP Program with an average score of at least 4 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on 8 or more AP exams. Congratulations to these National AP Scholars from Wicomico County Public Schools: Christina Sun and Madison MacDougall, both graduates of James M. Bennett High.