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February 25, 2000     Cape Gazette
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February 25, 2000

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38 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, February 25 - March 2, 2000 SCHOOL & EDUCATION Boys To Be Men tie on an attitude in Milton By Rosanne Pack Most Milton IGA customers were not too sure where the young men in white shirts and black ties came from, hut when they helped bag groceries and then stow them in cars, there were only smiles and expres- sions of gratitude. If Fred Harvey carries out his plans, the well-dressed seventh and eighth graders will become a familiar sight in Milton: helping out senior citizens, providing extra hands at community events, participating in Milton Middle School activities. Harvey, the custodian of Milton Middle, recently established the Boys To Be Men Club, an organization for youngsters growing into early manhood. And the white shirts and dark ties are their trademark. "I felt that some of these boys could ben- efit from having an organization that could help them with homework and provide some extra structure in their school days and after school," Harvey said. "I think it can help them with self-esteem and with their families." After recommendations from Principal Sara Wilkinson and Assistant Principal Mike Dmiterchik, Harvey contacted the boys and their parents to make them aware of the program. "I just let them know that the group was designed to improve grades and social skills, and to monitor behavior and atti- tude," Harvey said. "I got permission sheets back, and some calls and questions. Basically, everyone was supportive." As the group gathered earlier this week for their first community service trip, there was no doubt about the monitoring compo- nent of Boys To Be Men. "Everywhere you go, Mr. Harvey's there," one explained as the rest nodded their heads and smiled. "He knows, so you might as well not try anything." "I know you were calling my mother, too," another spoke up. Harvey nodded and assured the boys that he was, indeed, keeping up with them, in school and out. To be active in the group, the boys and their parents signed contracts agreeing to participation and to abiding by basic rules of respect and consideration. Included in the membership is the dress code that has the boys in white shirts and dark ties one to two days a week. "This was something new to them, and I think they are really liking it," Harvey said. "I had parents tell me that once they signed up, a lot of kids worded them for those out- fits. They couldn't wait to get them and be ready to dress up for school." After all the ties were straightened for the trip to the IGA, the young men talked about dressing up. "We do get attention," Joey Lawson said. "I think people like the way it looks." "It feels good, too," Adam Nobles said. "You can concentrate harder in class." Some looked a little doubtful on that issue. But they admitted that successful men are usually seen in shirts and ties, and maybe there is a connection between appearance and success, even in school. "They had to get their education to get to the top," Eric Boyd pointed out. They were a little nervous about their trip to the IGA, but once they were there, and in action, everyone seemed to fall into tasks that suited them. They not only helped out customers but store employees as well. Harvey chose Tuesday for the trip because it is Senior Citizens Day at the market. Two or three began to bag groceries, and one grabbed a broom and swept aisles while two more stocked vegetable bins. Rotmnne Pack photo All dressed and ready to perform community service, members of the Boys To Be Men Club in Milton Middle School are (l-r) standing Adam Nobles, Bryan Austin, adviser Fred Harvey, Joey Lawson and Eric Boyd; seated are Russel Ayres, TJL Webb, Buddy Jennings and C.J. Cannon. Not pictured are Ray Gray and Chad Clendaniel. Buddy Jenkins was assigned the task of escorting shoppers out with their carts. 'Tin not too sure who you boys are, but I think that this is just great," Beatrice Collins said. 'q'his group seems like a very nice idea." Collins' opinion was echoed by many shoppers who only had to open a car door or trunk lid as the young man delivered their cart and placed bags of groceries in their car. The IGA employees indicated they could get used to the help as well. "What are we going to do tomorrow?" one asked. "Will you come back?" Other ideas for community service include cleaning town parks and public areas and visiting shut-ins. "Maybe everyone wouldn't want to do it, but in the summer, I help out some senior citizens in my neighborhood," Nobles said. "Maybe we could go clean up the park." Some heads nodded; someone else sug- gested visiting patients in the hospital. "Help out in the hospital? I don't know...?" T.A. Webb was doubtful. "Have you ever been in the hospital?" Lawson asked. "People stop coming after a while," Boyd assured him. Harvey said that in the short time since the 10 youngsters became active in Boys To Be Men, grades are already improving and Continued on page 39 The need to plan for adequate schools is crucial By now if you haven't heard all the information about the school referendum at least five times, you must be living in a cave under- ground. The Cape Henlopen School District administrative staff has blanketed the citizens with informational meetings, pre- sentations and articles to convince you to vote yes on March 7. Most people want to know, "what is in it for me?" If the ref- erendum does pass, we can all benefit from schools that meet the needs of children without over- crowding. As it stands now, five of the seven Cape schools are overcrowded and overutilized. Ever try to have lunch in a low ceiling room with 100 children all talking at once? Halls are stuffy and jammed even when class change schedules are staggered and students are on their best behavior. Cape's enrollment has grown by 20 percent in the past 12 years. With more developers building SCHOOL JOURNAL Diane Albanese more housing, the need to plan for adequate schools is crucial if we are going to have the facilities that our children need. If you have no children attend- ing school consider this: Cape schools have always served our community in important ways. The high school alone is host to many community events that enhance the lifestyle and increase the quality of life for citizens in this area. Just this week, senior citizens were treated to a preview of "Once Upon a Mattress," the high school musical, in the Little Theatre at Cape Henlopen High School. The athletic fields host independent sports leagues, the gymnasiums provide a place for recreation, and the classrooms are used at night and in the summer for meetings, adult classes and computer classes. In the summer, the schools are hosts to theater and educational programs. The Henlopen Theater project got its start at Cape. You need only to drive by our schools and see the parking lots full on off hours to understand the relationship of the school facili- ties to the community. Strong schools help maintain a strong community. What is the first thing that real estate agents say when selling a house? They refer to the desir- ability of buying in the Cape dis- trict. The Cape Henlopen District schools have always stood for quality in public education and helped increase the value of hous- es within its boundaries. Adding two new middle schools will maintain that standard of excel- lence as a reflection of the com- munity's support for education. The oldest school in the district, Lewes Middle, is 78 years old. Milton Middle is almost 70 years old. So much has changed in edu- cation in the past decade that it seems logical that the older schools require updating and reconfiguration. A middle school structure should easily accommodate the team approach with only grades six through eight housed in one building. Separate areas for each grade level, space and wiring to support technology, and complete handicap accessibility are essen- tials for schools these days. Also, there is a critical need for electrical updating of all schools. Classrooms need support for computers since the Internet has become an essential tool for learn- ing. Our schools have added on this new resource without provid- ing more space. We squeezed computers and tables into the classrooms leaving less space for desks and warm bodies. It's time to figure out a better way. Lower class sizes, ease of crowding, space for a growing population, alignment for the grade levels, electrical upgrades, increased property value and additional community resource space; all of this for an average of $2 per month. Vote in favor of this school referendum, March 7, for a stronger, well-planned com- munity that cares about children. Diane Albanese is a parent and teacher in the Cape Henlopen School District.