Woodbridge considering new school

By Cathy Shufelt

The Woodbridge School District was delighted to announce the results of their first ever Canned Food Cup Challenge. After a fierce competition between the district's three schools, the winner at the end of the contest was Phillis Wheatley Middle School. The school will be home for the next year to the impressive Canned Food Cup Challenge trophy donated by the Bridgeville Kiwanis Club.

The competition was announced by district Superintendent Dr. Kevin Carson on Nov. 23, in an email to the community. The contest was the brainchild of the district's Food Service Department and was designed to encourage community service during the holiday season.

On Nov. 29, students and staff in the district began bringing canned food items for donation and a running tally was kept. All donated items have been distributed back to the community through Union United Methodist Church and other community service organizations.

As an incentive to students and staff, district administration offered a one-day suspension of the district's uniform policy allowing everyone to wear jeans for the day on Dec. 21. A donation goal for each school was determined based on the number of students as well as staff employed at each building.

For example, to get a score of 100% the 641 members of the Woodbridge High School family would need to donate 641 items. It was determined that a 75% participation rate would be enough to earn the jeans incentive.

As soon as the competition began students and staff greatly exceeded the number of items necessary to simply earn 100% participation. "We greatly underestimated the enthusiasm among students and staff," said Carson. "The level of participation has been absolutely amazing; I can't tell you how proud I am [of everyone]."

At the end of the contest on Friday, Dec. 17, the final tally for all three schools was over 11,000 items with Phillis Wheatley Middle School coming in with 4,223 items donated and a 547.021% participation rate.

The elementary school finished with 5,493 items and a 525.646% participation rate, and the high school finished with 1,378 total items donated and a 214.977% participation rate. The Canned Food Cup Challenge trophy was awarded to Phillis Wheatley Middle School during a ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 21.

During the Woodbridge Board of Education meeting on Dec. 15, the board learned that the Delaware Department of Education has awarded the district a "Certificate of Necessity" which outlines the district's need for a new high school. The state and the department of education have reviewed the district's request and found that the district is in need of a new high school due to enrollment increases over the last several years as well as projected enrollment growth.

The proposed new high school, tentatively called the Woodbridge High School of Arts and Sciences, would be built on land already owned by the district located next to the new athletic complex and would be capable of holding up to 1,000 students.

The State of Delaware would provide the district with 72% of the total building costs of $53 million, approximately $38 million, and the district would then be required to raise, through a referendum and other means, approximately $15 million.

The district has provided the information at this time in order for the district to "begin the process of engaging the community in discussion (about the project)," said district superintendent Dr. Kevin Carson. "People need the opportunity to voice their opinion(s) about the project and we want to hear their feedback."

The land was purchased in 1970 to build a new high school, and the district has already done the site work, created parking lots, storm water drainage systems and athletic fields.

The formal recommendation to the board of education to begin the process, with a formal presentation by district administration, will be made during the board's meeting on Feb. 15.

News tips wanted
Call us with ideas for news and features. We're always looking for good stories to share with readers. Call Bryant Richardson at 629-9788.