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Lewes, Delaware
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October 9, 1998     Cape Gazette
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October 9, 1998
 

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46 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, October 9 - October 15, 1998 SCHO0,:L dr EDUCATION 2. Martha Carper, hot on the school trail, visits Cape district By Kerry Kester When Delaware's first lady, Martha Carper, took a leave of absence from her position as a global business manager at DuPont, her intent was to take a year away from the work force to direct her time and energy to Delaware's women and children. Her goal is simple: provide sup- port to improving public schools and women's health. Carper spent much of Tuesday, Oct..6, visiting Shields Elemen- tary School and Rehoboth Ele- mentary School, where she pro- vided an extra pair of hands for individualized instruction, partic- ipated in group activities, toured buildings, observed programs and heard the principals' wish lists. "It's incredible to me how enthusiastic these teachers are," said Carper after leaving one of the schools. "I'm really impressed by the dedication, and it's really refreshing to see all the innovative techniques that they're using. There's a lot of thought being put into what and how to teach these children." Reading is the key Carper describes herself as "passionate about reading." One of the things she hopes to do dur- ing her year in the schools is pro- mote reading and reading pro- grams. Her interest began, she said, when her sons were very small. She and the governor often trav- eled; wherever they went, she searched for a wonderful book to take home to the children. "I real- ly enjoyed reading to my kids," she said. She said she marvels at the quai- l ity and quantity of children' s liter- ature available today, particularly when she reflects on what was available when she was a child and learning to read. "I believe that exposing chil- dren to books really opens up a "new world for them," said Carper. A new world opened to her, how- ever, when students in Carole Short's second-grade class read their autobiographies to each oth- er. Those included in the circle gathered to listen to readings of the class' first published works; the students were invited to share their observations with the authors. The energetic first lady quietly sat and listened to the stories, but made comments only through smiles and nods. She appeared to be deferring to the children, who quickly raised their hands in hope that they would be one of the three people who would be called on to give an opinion to the author sit- ting in the "big" chair. When Jakia Daniels read her story, however, Carper could con- tain herself no longer; as the young writer closed the cover of her autobiography and the hands in the circle shot upward, Carper's was among them. With wide eyes, Daniels looked at the first lady and said, "OK. You can be first." "I liked the story because it showed that you are good at being helpful," said Carper. The young writer appeared to grow 3 inches as she proudly accepted Carper's compliment, "The bottom line is reading is really the key," said Carper to Esthelda Parker-Selby, principal at Rehoboth Elementary School. Kerry Kester photos Martha Carper learned a sign-language word when she met with hearing-impaired students at Rehoboth Elementary School. Shown standing and signing Carpers words to the students is teacher Mike McKibbin. Kneeling is speech therapist Ellen Ludlow, who also works with the hearing-impaired students. She told Parker-Selby that last year when she attended a conference in Washington, D.C., the focus was on preventing reading difficulties, something she believes is a goal worth striving for. Her motivation personal Carper said there were two pri- mary reasons for wanting to take a year's leave from DuPont. First, she said, she wanted the time to do something for others; second, she needs time to serve as the chair- woman of the National Governors' Spouses Association. "I really liked my job [at DuPont]," she said. She worked in the lycra division, a growth busi- ness, which in addition to provid- Continued on page 47 The Delaware first lady gives individualized instruction in a Shields second-grade class that is learning to check math problems using calculators. Martha Carper is shown assist- ing Sylestine Lovett as she creates her math equation and checks it with the calculator, as Katie Wade works along. SCH00L JOURNAL Diane Albanese their child can speak. There are playgroups, library circles and PTO fairs and fundraisers, sup- porting an organization, that sup- ports the activity in which your child participates. It is then that you realize that there is no life in your life. There is no sleeping in, no quiet cups of coffee, no evenings without meetings. There is only a calendar that is brim- ming. The music boosters at Cape Henlopen High School are an effi- cient, industrious machine. Their purpose is single minded - to sup- port the band program and the youth that play in it. This year the task of fundraising has taken on a new dimension: overseas travel and how to send 160 kids to England at the end of Fortunately, this commitment is firmly in place. Linda Beebe, the president of the music boosters has worked ceaselessly to prepare for this trip. Linda deserves acco- lades for her dedication and can- do spirit that has pulled many skeptics through the long hard summer of fundraisers. The amazing part is that many music boosters came up with a way to raise money that is specific to their area of expertise. Gener- ous businesses have contributed' items and'services: gold lighthous- es, a colorful quilt; Longeberger baskets, discounts on meals, the' Baycenter' s facilities, an evening's worth of dance music, a fishing trip. :League is hut a proving ground music for the teeny-weeny. December for the world's largest Parents and kids have parked - ;, preparing parents for becoming a Thse wholesome activities :are parade. " cars a t ihe st'ate fair, ,picked up } '.}.  .usic booster., " .. agentle way to desensitize-p-i  A "task this huge requires a trash: at D0v :Down s, cleaned : :\\;P, aps'there i s some eonspira: eqts. You wake up one day and major O,man.i.'tment from-tim t: "comafle.ss hIkens,.baked.eages Z/:':,:.,:?Yt: t,gts !t ,u!l-in, "reiz.that all of your walking I nts, the's, the sehg01.,and ,an! waffied a feetof crs. ?,!, ...... : " ',.orgiaim,ev Le ' hours are spent in car pools, at...eeommty; :  -..-./ .  Students sot up 9 pat th e Cape .r May-Lewes Ferry terminal this summer and entertained ferry pas- sengers by playing music while collecting donations. There is a constant aluminum can drive going on in the high school parking lot. There are piz- zas, candles, fruit and poinsettias to be sold. The money thermometer at the entrance of the high school is inching up as funds are deposited in the bank. Little by little, we are all making it happen. When they take off in December to represent this com- munity in London, I'll be here, surrounded by :my'poinsettias- and candles, thinking about I60 Cape kids in England. lt,is not without pride that we can say we atl helped me this d, ara r!ity: ,tmes to come. It prepares you for "'7 . ,the ranks of the faithful. Little Being a Cape Henlopen High School Music Booster is like noth- ing else that I've ever experi- enced. It's not like Boy Scouts. Scouts have cute uniforms, monthly meetings and go camping on weekends. Dedicated yes, but not like a music booster. It's'not like your garden variety sports club where the children meet to practice once a week with a game on Saturday. Commitment, yes, but not like a music booster. Consider the fervor that surrounds Little League: the parades, the pageantry, practices every night that last through sunset. Little League is just a harbinger of the Cape Music Boosters a committed bunch