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Outstanding Students, Staff, Schools Honored at Feb. 28 Awards & Recognitions Night for Wicomico County Public Schools

Congratulations to the outstanding students, educators and schools recognized at the Feb. 28 Awards & Recognitions Night hosted by the Wicomico County Board of Education and Wicomico County Public Schools. The awards night was held at the James M. Bennett Auditorium, with Board members, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donna C. Hanlin, Assistant Superintendent/Chief Academic Officer Frederick Briggs and Director of Communications & Community Outreach Paul Butler celebrating their achievements with families and the community. Please read on to learn more about these success stories. Photos are posted on the school system’s website ( and Facebook page (


Cyber Safety Poster Contest

Some 1,450 Wicomico fourth-graders participated in the school system’s annual Cyber Safety Awareness Month. Students at each school attended a multimedia presentation by school counselors and student advisors on the importance of being cyber safe. Students were invited to participate in a Cyber Safety Poster Contest to reinforce the message of staying safe online, and we had the largest number of entries for the contest in the seven years since we started the fourth-grade focus on Cyber Safety.

Gift cards and certificates of recognition to the winners of the Cyber Safety Poster Contest:

1st place and a $100 gift card: Aleeza Nafees, North Salisbury Elementary

2nd place and a $50 gift card: Taylor Vanderwende, Delmar Elementary

3rd place and a $25 gift card: Elizabeth Martinez-Perez, Pinehurst Elementary


Outstanding Service to Others

Certificate of recognition for Outstanding Service to Others, for being a kidney donor for a stranger, to Jeffrey Lynd, Wicomico Middle School teacher. Lynd, who is in his ninth year as a Technology Education teacher at Wicomico Middle School, is a big fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team. A fellow Penguins fan, Kelly Sowatsky, 31, also a teacher, was dealing with end stage renal failure and had been on the organ donation waiting list for 18 months when she decided to try to find a living donor in spring 2018. While at a Penguins game, she held up a handmade sign saying “I need a kidney.” The Penguins put a picture of her and her sign on the team’s Twitter feed. When Mr. Lynd saw it there, he stepped up to volunteer.

He turned out to be a blood type match, and knew he could spare the kidney to help someone who was in desperate need, even though it was someone he had never even met. Mr. Lynd traveled to Pittsburgh for the kidney donation surgery in November, and the organ transplant was a success. Ms. Sowatsky’s kidney function jumped from just 7% to nearly 99% within 48 hours of the transplant surgery. This wonderful story will be featured next month on an episode of E:60 on the ESPN network, which came to Wicomico Middle to capture Mr. Lynd in action in his classroom.



Maryland Gifted and Talented Education Awards

February is Gifted and Talented Education Month in Maryland, and we are proud to recognize a student and four teachers who were honored recently at Maryland’s annual celebration of excellence in Gifted and Talented Education.

Outstanding Gifted and Talented Student Accomplishment: Savanna Brooks, Pittsville Middle School. Savanna was the only Eastern Shore student honored this year for her accomplishments and leadership. Last year she started “Kindness club” at North Salisbury Elementary school, and this year started a Kindness Club at her new school, Pittsville Elementary and Middle. Savanna was the winner of the first nationwide “Think Kindness” Speech Contest, receiving $2,500 to spread kindness in her community. She has been recognized around the county, and the City of Salisbury, which awarded her a We Heart Salisbury Kindness Award at the 2018 Dance for Kindness.

Outstanding Educator in Gifted and Talented Education, Teachers as Leaders:

Ms. Katy Seman and Ms. April Todd, middle school Thinking and Doing (TAD) teachers.

These two teachers are Gifted and Talented educators with Wicomico County Public Schools who helped build and developed the middle school TAD (Thinking and Doing) Program seven years ago. Together they designed units to connect students to accelerated learning with community connections on topics such as awareness of locally sourced food and sustainability, understanding of insect borne illnesses, and the creation of entomology collections for elementary students to better understand native versus invasive species. Both teachers are active in leading and seeking professional development at the local, state and national levels.

Ms. Seman is a mentor teacher for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and incorporates national science standards into TAD. Ms. Seman is most passionate about a Model Congress during which students write and present ideas they want to become law.

Ms. Todd is a former Maryland Teacher of the Year and teacher of AP. She promotes project-based learning and cross curricular connections with traditional classroom teachers. Ms. Todd is an adjunct professor at Salisbury University who brings her unique perspective regarding the teaching of gifted students.

Two other outstanding Teachers as Leaders in Gifted and Talented education are Ms. Kelly Hamilton and Ms. Jen Watson, for elementary Thinking and Doing (TAD) teachers.

Ms. Hamilton has worked as a Thinking and Doing (TAD) teacher for more than 10 years, and truly a strong advocate for the Gifted and Talented learners in this county. She has provided training for Wicomico teachers and administrators on meeting the unique needs of Gifted and Talented learners, and consistently works to secure grant funding for Gifted and Talented learning initiatives. Among the many TAD projects she has guided students in doing, is the preservation of World War 2 veterans’ recollections in video and book forms.

Ms. Watson has conducted professional development at the local, state, and national levels to aid in developing gifted curriculum. She encourages students to make their learning a reality and to believe that they can make a difference in our world. Last year, some of her North Salisbury Elementary TAD students wanted to create awareness of the plight of our local spotted turtles. They proposed a bill for a spotted turtle awareness day in Maryland, and they spoke with Governor Hogan about the issue, and the governor and his wife later visited the school to salute the students’ work.



FIRST LEGO League State Competition Team

As part of Wicomico County’s STEM Initiative – STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – Wicomico County hosted its 10th annual regional FIRST LEGO League tournament in December. Certificates of recognition to the team that was a winner at the regional level of competition to advance to the state competition this month:

Salisbury Middle LEGO My Eggo, 2nd Place Champion’s Award at the regional competition, qualifying to compete in the February 23rd state tournament:

Siddharth Ghosh

Gourav Korada

Anandi Bajpai

Cole Lane

Gatlin Porter

Abraham Thomas

Ethan Brewington

Coach: James McCrobie



2019 Shorebirds Hit the Books Bookmark Design Contest

Certificate of recognition for Logan Bucy-LaPerle of Wicomico Middle for winning the 2019 Hit the Books Bookmark Design Contest. The Delmarva Shorebirds’ Hit the Books program, with sponsor Dr. James M. Crouse at The Brace Place, encourages elementary and middle school students on the Delmarva Peninsula to read outside of their regular classroom assignments. Students who complete their reading goals receive two free ticket vouchers to a Shorebirds home game during the 2019 season. The Shorebirds visited Wicomico Middle School to surprise sixth-grader Logan with the news that she was the winner of the 2019 Shorebirds Hit the Books Bookmark Design Contest. Her winning design will be featured on bookmarks distributed to more than 50,000 students at 100 area schools. Logan will also have the opportunity to throw out a first pitch before her school's Hit the Books date at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium this spring.


Guinness World Records Mark for Cup Stacking

Certificates of recognition for the schools and Physical Education teachers instrumental in Wicomico’s participation in this record-setting effort:

Beaver Run Elementary: Allison Welkie and Teena Workman

Charles H. Chipman Elementary, Principal Antionette Perry

Delmar Elementary: James Lingo, Elizabeth Adams, Juli Bradford

Prince Street Elementary: Dustin Thomas, Kyle Brown, Mary Powell

West Salisbury Elementary: Dr. Harlan Eagle

November 8th, 2018 was no ordinary day in Physical Education classes at these elementary schools. That was the day many Wicomico students took part in a worldwide sport stacking challenge aimed at attaining a Guinness World Records mark for Most People Sport Stacking at Multiple Locations in One Day. Our own students were among the 624,390 people, 2,833 schools in 25 countries around the world joining in the record-setting World Sport Stacking Association effort. The new record beat the old one by 1,581 participants, and the record was certified for inclusion in the Guinness Book of World Records.

We are proud to now have Wicomico students and schools as part of two Guinness World Records. Almost five years ago, Wicomico High junior and CTE Horticulture student Dayquan Williams set a world record, with support from classmates, for the most bedding plants planted in an hour. You can look it up in the Guinness Book of Records!


2019 All State Music Ensembles

Certificates of achievement to these outstanding performer chosen for the 2019 Maryland All State musical performing groups. These students have proven themselves to be among the best in the state, as selected by audition from among thousands of candidates.

Only two musicians from the entire Eastern Shore were selected for the All State Senior Band, and both of them are seniors at Mardela High School. These students work under the direction of Cory Boltz, Band Director, and are also second-year instrumental students in the Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program:

Hunter Wirt, 12th grade, percussion, All State Senior Band. This is his third All State recognition.

Mitchell Adams, 12th grade, trombone, All State Senior Band

For All State Senior Chorus:

From Mardela High School, Sharon Ehrisman, Choral Director:

Zoe Michelle Bradshaw,12th grade, soprano I, All State Senior Treble Chorus

From Parkside High School, Antoinette Daniel, Choral Director:

Laila Libertin, 12th grade, tenor, All State Senior Mixed Chorus. Laila participates in the Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program.



2019 National Association for Music Education All-Eastern Honors Orchestra

Certificate of achievement for being selected to the 2019 National Association for Music Education All-Eastern Honors Orchestra to Hunter Wirt, Mardela High. In addition to being a three-time All State Band honoree, this Mardela High senior percussionist has also been selected to the 2019 National Association for Music Education All-Eastern Honors Orchestra. This biennial festival of the top school musicians from 11 Eastern states, Washington D.C., and Europe, will take place at The David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh April 4th-7th. Hunter will be among the more than 780 talented high school students in the Eastern region of the United States featured in one of the All-Eastern ensembles, which include concert band, symphony orchestra, mixed chorus, treble chorus, and jazz ensemble. Students will prepare remarkably challenging music that they will perform under the leadership of prominent conductors. We know Hunter has made his band director for the past six years, Mr. Cory Boltz, very proud. Hunter is also a second-year instrumental student in the Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program.



Maryland EXCELS Level 5 Recognition

Certificate of recognition for achieving Maryland EXCELS Level 5 rating for its Prekindergarten program to:

Prince Street Elementary: Principal Jason Miller, Assistant Principal Kimberly Waters, and Prekindergarten teachers Cassandra Burdell, Katie Ogle, Megan Deinlein, Jessica Grimes and Jamie Miller

The Prekindergarten program at Prince Street Elementary recently earned the Maryland EXCELS Quality Rating of Level 5 for its Prekindergarten program. Level 5 is the highest rating that any Prekindergarten program can receive. EXCELS stands for the “EXcellence Counts in Early Learning and School-Age Care” initiative, which recognizes the hard work of Prekindergarten administration and staff throughout the school year. Prince Street planned and implemented rigorous hands-on lessons, and engaged families and the community in learning experiences designed to improve school readiness skills and inspire lifelong learning. Prince Street Elementary has also recently received its accreditation for the next three years, proof of its commitment to maintaining educational excellence and continuous quality improvement.

This EXCELS recognition is awarded to participating public Prekindergarten and other child care programs meeting the nationally recognized quality standards and best practices. Congratulations to Prince Street Elementary. We are proud that Charles H. Chipman Elementary, Beaver Run Elementary, Pemberton Elementary and Wicomico Early Learning Center all previously earned and continue to hold the EXCELS Level 5 distinction.


UMES Inaugural Lower Shore High School Art Exhibition

Certificates of recognition for the Wicomico art students who were winners in the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Inaugural Lower Shore High School Art Exhibition:

Krystal Colon, Wicomico County Visual and Performing Arts Program and Mardela High. Krystal’s painting “King of the Jungle” took the top prize of $500, and the VPA Program will also receive $500.

Diandra Milbourne, Parkside High. Her photograph entitled “Untitled” won $250 for her and $250 for the Parkside photography program.

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore hosted the Inaugural Lower Shore High School Art Exhibition at the Mosely Gallery on campus this winter. Winners were announced at the opening reception on January 24th, and Wicomico students took home two of the top honors, along with prize money for themselves and their programs. Their work, along with the work of other talented art students from Wicomico, Somerset and Worcester counties, was on display in the gallery through February 7th.


AP + PLTW Student Achievement

Certificate of achievement for earning AP + PLTW Student Achievement recognition:

Patrick SebaRaj, James M. Bennett High

Students in the four-year Project Lead the Way engineering program take a rigorous series of five engineering courses throughout high school to prepare for further studies and careers in engineering. The courses engage students in interdisciplinary activities to solve real world challenges in real world applications. Patrick, now a Project Lead the Way junior, has earned the prestigious AP + PLTW Student Achievement recognition. To earn this recognition, students take selected Advanced Placement and Project Lead the Way engineering courses, and earn qualifying scores on course-related exams and assessments. The AP + PLTW designation is a sure sign for universities and employers that a student is prepared for advanced coursework and is highly motivated to excel in the field.  


1 Year to Empowerment Graduates

Certificates of recognition for the 1 Year to Empowerment graduates from Wicomico Schools:

From James M. Bennett High: Mirenna Morgan, Krisha Lulla, Miasia Bryant

From Mardela High: Dora Ashby

From Parkside High: Amana Wilson, Gianna Wilson

From Wicomico High: Paige Faulkner

High school students from Wicomico County participated throughout 2018 in a local program for girls called “1 Year to Empowerment.” The program included a variety of empowering activities such as self-defense and changing a tire, as well as community service events such as a community garden and a wheelchair ramp build. The participants were also responsible for a boutique for which they created artwork and various other activities twice a month. It was a well-structured program that had a positive impact both on the students who participated and the community of which they are vital and contributing members. The 2018 class of empowerees graduated in January.


National Board Recertification

Certificates of recognition to four of Wicomico’s National Board Certified educators who were recertified in 2018:

Melinda Demaris, serving students in a number of Wicomico schools from primary through high school, Teacher of the Visually Impaired and Orientation and Mobility Specialist

Julie Dill, Central Office, Elementary Mathematics Supervisor

Marc Garlock, James M. Bennett High, Psychology teacher

Nicole Twilley, Central Office, Supervisor of Special Education

Wicomico County Public Schools is fortunate to have numerous nationally certified teachers working on behalf of students. Currently 21 WCPS teachers, one school counselor and five supervisors hold National Board Certification. The process of obtaining National Board Certification is a rigorous one. Teachers who successfully complete the process are certified for 10 years, and can apply for recertification for an additional 10 years.


QuestBridge National College Match Finalists

Certificate of recognition for each of these Wicomico High School seniors who was a QuestBridge National College Match Finalist, and we wish them well for the future in college and career:

Aysha Ahmed

Wethny Antoine

Ahmed Iqbal

QuestBridge is a highly competitive national program dedicated to increasing access of students from low-income backgrounds to the most selective colleges and universities. Students who are named National Match Finalists have achieved extraordinary academic success in high school. Through QuestBridge, they are able to apply to the 39 different partner schools at no expense. The partner schools provide need-based financial aid which does not include student or parent loans. The QuestBridge network then works to support students throughout their college years and beyond, providing on-campus support and internship and job placement opportunities.


Unified Strength and Conditioning Gold Medalist Teams

Wicomico Schools is proud to partner with Special Olympics Maryland to offer Unified Sports seasons in our high schools. Students with and without disabilities join to have fun, master the skills of a sport, and compete in tennis, bocce, and strength and conditioning. Competing against teams from around the state, teams from James M. Bennett High and Parkside High advanced through the brackets to gain the most points in their division. Each team earned the gold medal at the State Invitational on February 5th at Chesapeake College.

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

James M. Bennett High Team:

Tony Chen

Michael Harmon

Cameron Hill

Elliana Miller

Treyce Wilson

Sophie Harrell

Kennedy Hudson

Noah Mason

Nefret Perunko

Evan Smith

Bradley Boardman

Sayuri Velazco

Matt Aukward

Matt Selser

Coaches: Rebecca Gregory and Kathy Elliott


Parkside Team:

José Valle

Seth Harlan

Trevor Owens

Maura Mears

Ehrin Anderson

Taylor Dodd

Eliajah Thomas

Andrea Ferruzca Portillo

Jon Maciarello

Asher Amey

Ashley Schtierman

Coaches: Bruce Harrell, Emily Miller, Kim Pelot and Kelsey Beach


In addition to gold medal certificates for these two Parkside team members, we have certificates of achievement for setting a state Unified Sports record in the long jump of 8 feet 5 inches. Congratulations on setting a state Unified record to:

Omar Godwin

Anthony Sarbanes