Origins Carry Their Way Through Part III

Our Journeys, Our Stories, Our Delaware – When it comes to putting the community into a festival thanks to the following groups, this was possible on June 8th.  One of the biggest goals of the Literary Art Magazine at Woodbridge, titled The Riff, is to create a sense of community through a variety of arts. The individuals who played a part and gave their commitment, time and effort to set aside a day for the sake of expressing their vested interest in community – meant everything in the grand scheme of what we were trying to achieve.  That was to celebrate the community we have as the state of Delaware.

AmityFrom their involvement in the 5k as a pre-registration site and donations of fruit and water, to the contributions of making cookies, lemonade, and tea towards the goal of fundraising (and walking the items over to the festival) – Amity was all in from the very beginning of the plans of the event.  It is exciting to have such a coffee shop willing to be a part of the community to the degree you dream of, and this Amity did and more.  The festival was accented with flavor thanks to Amity.

Andrea Paun – Way back when this was an idea, I remembered the activities I took students to volunteer at, during the Cherry Blossom Festival.  We’d work a booth and make crafts with students and it was glorious.  Thanks to the ideas of Andrea, and the representation of the Baltimore Aquarium, her creative crafts were available and her nurturing for the animals as part of the petting zoo were complete 🙂  On top of that, aquarium memberships were part of a giveaway!

Bethany Beach Bookstore Through the two years since I have moved back, I have seen Bethany Beach Bookstore be a MAJOR player in the community for literacy.  From holding authors talks for the community, to inviting teachers into professional nights, to traveling to a festival to share what they have to provide to the public on all corners of Delaware, when you walk into their establishment at Bethany Beach, you feel that same magical feel.  The popularity of literacy is only gaining momentum, and books will never disappear from the horizon thanks to the generosity of giving back like Bethany Beach Bookstore does on a revolving basis.

Clean Delaware- What matters is having the services available when needed.  Clean Delaware was one of the most cordial, polite, and convenient services enabling the needs of the simplest of a festival.  The quick response, the friendly service, and accommodations being able to occur on such a short notice says much about how this company also invests in the idea of community.

The Comic Book Shop- The generosity of this Wilmington-based shop, from donating two consecutive times to Comic Cons at the Greenwood Public Library, shows that all locations of Delaware make up a community.  Is the trek to Wilmington worth it?  Yes.  This establishment has SUCH a wide variety of all items graphic, gaming, comics, graphic novels, jam packed with much that will draw you in.  My hope is more individuals will come to know pockets of Delaware they were unaware of previously and forms connections all across the state.

Cora LaudatoCora willing to stay up into the wee hours of the evening, through countless problems in saving the video and literally staying up all night to produce a video showing individuals what art can be?  Priceless. The original plan was for Cora, a former student when I was in Mexico City, to come to Delaware (now that she lives in Florida) and create a community space where participants could add to a mural, that would be placed somewhere permanent.  Due to alot of factors, Cora did the next best thing with a video, but the hope is to get her to come to next year’s festival and be among the masses in contributing to an art show and workshop involving all into specific types of art. Her willingness to contribute to the overall sense of art in many forms to a wider community explains the lengths art can take to tie individuals together. It is vital to have all representations of art that represent all aspects of community. her ability to combine art with physical structures with Maco Assembly shows the depth art can take.

The Days of Knights – Finding supporters in one location to support an event in another – helps grow a community of those with similar interests.  The Days of Knights enabled the ability to prizes to be offered for tournament play in a variety of gaming opportunities. While we did not have the numbers we wanted this time for a tournament, I hope we can redesign the plan to insure we grow this aspect of gaming, and community, and appreciate the willingness from a very popular store in Newark to help create a gaming community here.  Also, I see a chance to bring possible tournament players could visit this establishment as well and bring others to this location to find out how they involve themselves into the gaming arena.

Dolores Beam Art from  305 W Market Street, Greenwood, DE  If you are not sure what art this is, I bet you do and do not even realize it. When you pass Vanderwende’s on Hickman that turns into W Market Street, heading into Greenwood, you can’t help but pass a collection of art of all caliber on the right side of the road.  I like walking through all this art to simply see the everyday objects that can be turned into a sort of art.

Gear Up – It was exciting to have a chance to allow the public to meet Harrison Barnes who won The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, received the Billie Jean King Youth Humanitarian Award from ESPN, is attending the Espy’s, and received many WHS Scholarships while continuing to recruit for Gear Up.  His availability to to the community and wanting to involve others is what community is all about.

Gerald Carroll – Gerald and family saved the day with one of the main attractions of the day – easily – rabbits, chicks, and goats oh my.  The effort to make this happen – and in actuality happening – was AWESOME.  The gentleness of the animals as well as the patience he and the animals displayed during the whole event – it made the festival absolutely complete.

Greenwood Public Library – If you saw much going on at the festival then image the schedule at the Greenwood Public Library that day! A full schedule of events, from Jedi training, introduction to the Reading Summer launch, as well as the art represented from WHS students, Pokemon, coloring activities, Cosplay activities, graphic novel orgami, and lip syncing, and you get an idea of how extensive and varied were the activities Donna Carter worked on to allow a full sense of activities for over 150 attendees, just in the library.  Thank you Ms Carter for buying in completely to what a sense of community can look like in one day, let alone the rest of the year.

Greenwood Police and Chief RaughleyAfter seeing the amount of help Chief Raughley provided for the 5k and seeing him set aside his day, with his family as well, to promote information and services – it defined who I wanted to be defined as in a community.  I remember looking across the way during the afternoon and seeing his daughter take in the day during the festival and I was happy to see his family so much a part of this day.

Greenwood VFW and  VFW Auxilary- Starting back earlier this year, Mr. Bob Trapp expressed an interest to be views as a central location for the youth and community at large, more than simply scholarships given out.  Yearly, the auxiliary supports all the libraries with books donated and often choices of teachers of the year.  We wanted to set the local VFW in a position to provide more  perceptions of healthy activities provided to the neighborhood at large.  Their generosity in enabling the space and location for an event for providing this paradigm shift of what makes community and the VFW’s role in that is off to an amazing start.  Commander Hayes as well as all the commanders and members of the Greenwood VFW showed what power a partnership with the community can enable.

Heart Art The highlight of the day, other than this creative art initiative, was when several seniors were unaware of this booth being set up at the festival.  It was cool to direct them to Shelby’s booth and to see them jump in and do an activity there.  I loved this extensive network idea put into motion to benefit so many within our community, and extending outwards.

Hungry Howie’s Pizza –One of the largest supporters of community I know, Craig Dimes and Hungry Howie’s as well as Rita’s has helped countless times with 5k’s and other events such as Homecoming, Prom, and festivals like this.  I love the fact that he is located in Seaford and again emphasizing the fact that community is state-wide, not limited to a district. His energies and role modeling of what a community business is speaks volumes.

Impact Graphix Signs Literally out of the blue, Zeke Wing reached out and provided his services of signs to assist in letting individuals know more about the festival occurring on June 8th. His dependability, generosity, and willing to offer festival day advertising filled a need that would add another layer of the community at large being aware of this event. It still amazes me how many individuals of the community are willing to step forward to help a community activity occur.

Jamez Styles and A’Shon I loved having these WHS students willing to get up on stage and perform.  Their connection to the class is exactly what I hoped for in musicians that were willing to share their talents with others.  I hope to see more of this in the future as well!

Jewelry Etc. – I loved the fact that this individual called and wanted to play a part in this festival. The representation at this festival of individuals local to the community, and active in what they do to sell items, from local and afar, make up the goals of a festival in itself.  I appreciate the fact individuals are willing to represent various aspects of the community through businesses they have decided to represent.

Karen Johnson – Helping not only represent MCJROTC but her community through the Bridgeville Public Library, as well as Apple Scrapple, and this festival, Ms. Johnson truly just jumped right in to keep things rolling as vendors came in.  Her independent, wise, and jump in while rolling up her sleeves while getting the job at hand was invaluable in June 8th.  She was everywhere, and then back again.  Her support in allowing this to be a “thing” was priceless and pertinent to all happening and being able to be pulled off.

Kelly Pisciotta – Ms. Pisciotta’s patience and time spent gathering all the works of art from her students for display was – AMAZING.  The pieces were poignant, excellent, and supported the theme of art and being a community.  This was a GREAT addition.

L&W Veteran’s Remembrance Society  As I drove through Woodbridge and saw the posted street banners on the lights of the town that showed veterans of the past.  David Miller’s initiative involving interviews of veterans is a huge asset to the community.  I felt one of the best connections to the VFW, as well as informing the community as a whole is an initiative like this.  In contacting David at you can connect him with other candidates as well as how to attend an upcoming meeting to further his project.  It was ideal a project like this was present with a festival in the hopes of furthering informing communities of their history.

La Famila Mendoza – The exact right taste when you ate this taco or elote sent me back to the street corners where I bought tacos every moment I could.  Taking the time to set up, provide tortillas, tacos, and elotes for the festival, perfect.  The tastes that exploded when I ate the taco was an instant flashback to the tastes I associated and came to respect Mexico as a home away from home.  The food prepared by Monica’s family, sealed the fact that I needed them at any and all festivals that might come along.

Lynnez Salty Heartwork – Some of the most refreshing, creative, and art that reminds you that you are in Delaware was represented at this awesome booth. This is art that definitely enhances and expresses at the same time.  As a literary art magazine, this is what we want to focus on, art from all over the world, that represents the local community as well as shares universal ideas and themes at the same time.  It was an honor to have this art represented and we want desperately more events to showcase this creativity, beauty, and ingenuity when it comes to art.

Marvelous Produce When talking to Shane and Cassidy, it is not difficult to see that community is at the heart of their business.  Wanting to insure someone willing to represent community is part of such a community festival was essential, and it was obvious for how much the Marvels give to the community in the form of events and activities, their presence went along with the goals of this festival. Accessible, local, and friendly, is all you need to know!

Passion Fruit Juice – Wow.  That is for the taste, the motivation, and the quality that student Alyssa brought to the table.  Her passion fruit drink was undeniably a wake up call to juices and you only can experience this by the taste.  I came across passion fruit once in Puerta Escondido and fell in love with the fruit and the juice.  When I tasted this – I could not place anything close to that original taste I had in Mexico.  Add to that the fact that she insisted the proceeds went to the festival itself, as well as bringing an elaborate collection of clothes from New York to also make available for sale for the festival, you have a selfless individual that you want to succeed at such a festival.  I am already imagining the reaction when individuals realize the quality of the product she has for sale and when others come across the clothing she has to present.  This was and is a GREAT and refreshing addition to a community festival.

Seaford Parks and Recreation-Having a love and want to create healthy recreational activities when I taught and lived in Seaford, this is no different than a need in every community.  We were lucky enough to have Katie Hickey present to emphasize that community is a state-wide, city-wide, and district-wide asset.  it was exciting to see the opportunities to catch bands from June 1 to September in downtown Seaford.  We need much much more involvement from other neighborhoods to bring together an awareness of community in all areas such as Seaford to involve many others that attend school, work, and travel through so many neighborhoods in Delaware as a whole.

Tim Moore and Jon Rene Holmes Family – Again, the ability to set up a professional sound as well as provide a venue for singers, musicians, announcements, music in general and have a festival be a presence is a valuable asset.  Mr. Moore and Slim Street Sounds bought that presence and more, and his invaluable energy, time, and effort was the reason this festival had the feel of a community from every step of the way.

Tyler GreeneWhen I first saw Tyler play in Dover, I loved his style and energy.  He proved on June 8th he had a talent that stopped people and they listened.  They did on June 8th for sure.  What an asset to have as part of the festival – and I look forward to seeing more of him in the future!

Vault 13 –  Louis was the link to wanted to create a sense of gaming that tied everyone together.  His presence and experience, as well as shared vision to continue to provide activities and possibilities for gaming.  A success in school for Angela and Rebekah, we found this an area in need of attention to better for future events.  Louis spent much time to prepare the area for games and possible tournaments, and we received little attendance.  As with any starting point, if we believe in it we saw the options needing work to grow this aspect of the festival.  We will meet again and go back to the drawing board and find what factors need to be tapped into to enable this to be a success.  Louis’ ability, his creative approaches to gaming, from being able to paint figures and involve them in existing games, to the variety of games he has to offer, this is a huge asset to community.  Not even realizing his location was there originally, I thought many others weren’t aware either.  I hope to change that due to his goals of creating a community of gaming.

Vanderwende’s Ice Cream Ice cream and Delaware – community is a sense of what you obtain when you feel when you walk into Vanderwende’s.  Thanks to Vanderwende’s, who dropped alot and added to their schedule this year the WHS Prom, this festival, and many more to come.  I appreciate a local business that represents community events in so many ways throughout the year.

Woodbridge Class of 2019   It was inspiring to be able to see now alumni announce their officer positions and their message that went out to the Tory Haynes’ fund and cause.  I felt it important to have alumni be able to come back and be greeted and met with members of our community, so ideas, past events, activities, and in the future a picnic could be held where alumni are welcome to come back. If we could have a constant revisit of those from the past as well as those in the present, another sense of community is created.  It was a great finality to what WHS and community means coming together at the beginning or end of a school year.

Woodbridge FFA Defining Delaware as an agricultural and natural state is done perfectly in the variety of activities the WHS FFA works with other FFA and ecological societies with. One of the most important values of being aware of the nature around us, is tgo be more informed of what can be done.  I would like to see much more involvement from our community and our FFA to bring together outdoor projects that impact our community together for the better.  It was a natural aspect to want FFA to be involved in a community gathering.

Woodbridge High Marine Corp JROTC and Boosters – Truly the backbone of support, planning, and generosity was WHS’s MCJROTC – their support for all vendors, for all to keep the festival operating, it was found here. Their devotion and ability to impress the diversity of support they are able to provide is wide-ranging, and it was shown through the glimpse of how supportive they were during all stages of this festival.  The flag induction was just a small element of how much a presence the MCJROTC is in our community if given a chance.  Their activities help change the minds of community, that military is one aspect of who they are.  There are much much more to their talents as was shown through all the stages of this festival.

Woodbridge High PASE The students in the PASE classroom are responsible for alot of maintenance and upkeep of our school.  From recycling, to producing pamphlets, flyers, posters, copying materials, and laminating, the PASE students are the ultimate behind the scenes of making things happen.  Always able to produce products in a pinch, this collection of students are a very active element of WHS and helped produce the schedule and guides /directories for this festival.

Woodbridge Roaming Raiders – This group of students and organization provides opportunities for students to travel and understand culture from other countries. Today the sno cones provided another resource towards this path.  It obviously takes funding to travel and every possible festival that is available allows students to raise funds towards this cause.  It is always an asset to have students representing paths to learning.  Katie Sears always come to the rescue when it came to helping with supplies and this shows the extended support and generosity that levels of community provide to each other.

Woodbridge Select Ensemble The National Anthem was crystal clear and elegant.  These talented group of musicians helped start the day off correctly – and it was easy to see how they were able to fit right in when they traveled to Florida for America Sings in Orlando, performing locally, as well as many school concerts give many a chance to see what they work on and produce.  We need many more involved to support their talents, and hope this is a huge start!


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Origins Carry the Way Through – Part II

Exactly a week ago, many came together for the June 8th Community Festival in Greenwood to take a chance on a gathering to bring individuals together to celebrate something simple, but complex at the same time. I believe that the risk and chance these individuals and businesses took this day go far in showing that they have a commitment to community itself. I will attempt these in alphabetical order 🙂

Again, if we continue to create events that also benefit the community around us, I see us maximizing the events we are creating to better the word around us.

I wrote at the tail end of the previous blog post :

“Amity, Hungry Howies, and A TON MORE made this event happen, so please stay posted for Part II coming soon to let you in on what has to happen for a festival such as this, 5k and festival both to happen thanks to those that support it.”

This post deals with those that delved into making the 5k a success.  Another blog post will need to be devoted strictly to the festival, as you are seeing how incredibly involved and committed it takes from many to make such an event possible.  The 5k designated to Troy Haynes’ fight was a success thanks to the groups that came forward in an instant to make this event happen smoothly. While we are still working on the funds to be raised to rise above the cost of the event, the awareness of what we are possible of, what others are going through, is part of the resources that tie us together as a community.

5K (Results here)

Kicking off the 5k was a huge worry and then not due to those that made it a success.

Alastornia, Rebekah, Alexis – When a jam-packed day is in front of you, it is beyond relief to know that individuals such as these young ladies make the day doable.  From working the preregistration table to the finish line – everything was in good hands with these students willing to sacrifice their day for the success on this day. Their reliability and dependability speak volumes.

Amity – Without a doubt, a hub of Greenwood that provides relaxation, a time to reflect, and just a great place to socialize came to be a huge component of the 5k.  Providing a space to grab the pre-registration materials, as well as providing fruit and water – what seems as a simple thing makes an event complete success.  Starting with Amity as a co-location of this event made it possible from the beginning.

Bayhealth Wellness Center at Woodbridge High SchoolThe inclusion of water bottles provided for the 5k was perfect – and a great way to show how combining services in the community to healthy activities, brings so many together for a common sense of purpose. The paths to find out how to reach the community at large is always a challenge, and we are lucky to have a Bayhealth Wellness Center to reach out to many needs of students, right in our school environment.

Bridgeville Public Library – Thanks to Karen Johnson who helped bring open the dream of a unique trophy through the use of her 3d Printer.  I count on the ideas of mine and being able to do things from our own school library and Ms. Johnson never faltered when we needed the support.

The Cannons – From the history of fundraisers and school support at Seaford High School, to current years with prom and student government support, to this day -from Derek riding his bike leading the pack, to Dalton despite his back pain helping in the morning, as well as Ms. Cannon grabbing images of the day itself, one of many families made this day reinforced of why community matters so much in such an event.

Carmen Chona- The voice of the event as well as supportive medical needs, Chona sacrificed to be here as well as being able to bring supplies needed in the form of coolers and ice that would be needed for the event.  Her enthusiasm and expertise made the difference completely.

Coach Hood, has always been my sanity, my rock, my ability to follow through with the appropriate awards based on participants.  I simply seem to fold when it comes to who gets what trophy and medal – after the stress and worry that I find myself going through at the beginning of every 5k.  From the events we have held at Chapel Branch, to when we have coached together XC, as well as the sacrifices Coach Hood makes when it comes to taking her of family, Coach Hood has always found time to provide her time to make events such as these simply happen.

Colton Phillips – Without hesitation Colton helped redefine the map for the 5k based on the Haitian Chicken Benefit Run held in Greenwood around Thanksgiving.  His patience while not at home and constantly making sure an accurate 5k map was available was necessary for the race from the start.

Deez Teez- For printing up to the night before and making sure the logos were correct for race day.  Much much appreciated for all!

Derek- Willing to lead the group from beginning to end and help the race stay on track was an extra that enhanced the race.  Thank you for letting us rely on you!

Families and participants made this happen. Robbin Wells first thing in the AM offered to help as she picked up her preregistration packet, she was amazing.  Cassidy Thomas was super patient when her packet wasn’t ready the day before at WHS.  The Kerrick, Deford, Syerra Smith and family and Knutsen families came out, as well as the spirit of Darren Camper, past runner Ben Russell, high school students as Adam, Bethany, Syerra, Mackenna, and younger students, and EVERY SINGLE PERSON (list here)  participating – every single person added to the quality of this event this day.

Greenwood City – From every meeting we had leading up to this event, the city was supportive and inviting.  Thank you for letting this be a reality.

Greenwood Police Department and Fire Department – The planning, the implementation of safety and guiding participants, to simply providing the extra maps and advice on the event overall, the Fire and Police Department never hesitated once to make this event the best it could possibly be.

Greenwood Public Library – Weeks before the event as well as the day of the 5k and use of the parking lot, are a smidge of how public libraries can collaborate with school libraries and create events that can impact the community around us. Donna Carter helped reinforce the fact that components of public and school libraries and design a huge host of events that at the libraries alone, would preview the 5k to happen this day.

Jon Rene Holmes – The ability to jump in and sacrifice her time for the day and this 5k made a massive impact.  From keeping the registration and start on track to helping with the discerning of medals and trophies to participants, and of course her connection to Mr. Moore that allowed us to have an amazing element of sound, this allowed all to occur for the 5k.

RunSignUp –Hands down one of the most service-friendly, efficient, and organized applications for events involving runs and walks, RunSignup makes the process easier than it should be.  This service allowed the planning of the 5k to happen with the smallest amount of effort.

Tim Moore, of Slim Streets Sounds, was the backbone that made this event spectacular. He devoted his time and energy to this event just for Troy Haynes. His setting up at 5:00 AM at the Greenwood Library parking lot and his expertise all through out, from wireless mics, to prepping all participants and announcing their accomplishments as they crossed the finish line – priceless. 

Wesley – Helping put put fires from a locked cashbox and no combination, to helping with setup and maps, to logistics of the 5k in general, Wesley came to the rescue.

The WHS MCJROTC’s willingness to be present at intersections, help with the halfway mark despite someone angry that we were making noise in setting up the table 🙂 – as well as their time given to plan weeks ahead of time, all of it allowed for a

Communities in Schools, MCJROTC, and TriSports

5k to run smoother than it would be without them.  Please do not forget their 5k Fun Run/Walk occurring on October 26, 2019, at WHS – this is yet another chance to be a sponsor for a healthy local event – as well as a chance to be a sponsor AND a way to give back to the community with items than are being collected for middle and high school students.  This is sponsored in coordination with Communities in Schools of Delaware and TriSports.






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Origins Carry the Way Through – Part I

With the completion of June 8th’s Festival and with Troy Hayne’s as the motivation for the June 8th 5k, , I am not sure many knew the origins of how this idea was thought of, but much of the thanks owed to so many needs to start at the beginning.

In starting a literary magazine from scratch in a new place, obviously, there is a challenge and frustration of time, money, and where and how do I start over, all over after a seven year period of success in a previous location.  Wanting to involve the community immediately, we decided to bring back a Battle of the Bands event as we did for several years at Seaford High.  James Weiler immediately loved the idea and has supported this effort, from Open Mic to the idea of Battle of the Bands as a joint fundraiser for National Honor Society and our literary art magazine.  While the energy and expectation was high, by the time August 2018 to January 2019 occurred, the hope of gathering artists that would be intriguing and exciting – it seemed either for us  to forget it or divert the idea until we were in a position to be able to create a group large enough to have a Battle of the Bands.  A newer idea came into play, creating a community festival that included as a part, and build that component will also having local businesses involved with assisting a festival that benefits the local community.  It fits well as the goal of our literary magazine was about community, roots of where we came from, where we are now, and where we hope to head in the future.  It seemed a proper direction.

The staff of The Riff, our newly created literary art magazine, held tough the whole way through this process.  The goal was to generate enough funds to afford the trip to New York to present at the CSPA in New York as a new literary publication in 2019.  Though we did not have enough time clearly to prepare a whole new publication in that short of time without putting together a proper staff – we were busy.  We instituted Open Mic’s, participated as a staff at Festival of Words, sent out a call for art and reached out to local artists, and participated in a local Art Gallery where our staffer Hannah and I had pieces displayed.  We are, believe it or not, still in the process of putting together our vision for March 2020, as well as all the previous goals, but the largest feat achieved was yesterday’s start of a Festival that we hope, will start a continuity of better and more organized and efficient festivals that celebrate a sense of community all over Delaware.

Regan as Editor in Chief and Alexis our Assistant Editor in Chief helped define the theme as ” “Our Journeys, Our Stories, Our Delaware.” In light of so many events that are STILL occurring this year, that theme still rings true as who we are right now as a new literary art magazine staff. They are the rock that remains steady and has a clear vision that a community involving art is possible.  Alastornia and Hannah stepped forward and became beacons of ideas and support to make the festival as well as finding new paths that will led our magazine forward.  Gabby continued to insure we were keeping the clearing house of art up to date on comments as well as Esther coming up with support to show this magazine might be a slow process but one that does not need to disappear and one that will grow with patience. The day of the event Alexis, Regan, Alastornia, and Hannah insured that the festival would keep moving forward effectively thanks to their support all day.  Alastornia, Angela, and Rebekah’s devotion to calling so many community members leading up to the event – PRICELESS beyond belief.  Add to that also graduate Kaelyn Parks – wow their phone and email contacts in the weeks leading up to this event allowed so much to happen, they are responsible for at least 80% of the contact that went out to participants.

The magazine The Riff is not in a place where I want to be as far as timeline. I just want MORE now, but I also realize the magazine is in a position to be at the center of the community as far as events and drawing people in, and maybe this is the starting place rather than progressing as a collection of art right now.  I feel our start is not the same start that Repentino. (Instagram – #repentino) was in another country.  I just have to come to terms with that, and be patient as this process develops and morphs into who we will become as a staff and publication.

The below are groups and individuals that made it quite possible that the event that occurred yesterday even occurred at all.

Greenwood VFWWanting to be more of a community member, willing to host youth events that involve adults in the mix, is the added element I respect.  The Greenwood VFW AND auxiliary does so much already with nominating individuals for awards, both educators and students, and providing resources for our school locally, but the ability to serve in a larger capacity for the schools and community is there.  This ability to do so, and willing to want to do more, is a testimony to not just one festival, but what is possible for other events in the future.  Our hope is their generosity in allowing this event to process will lead to more events that bring our community together.

Donna Carter and the Greenwood Public Library- From the very beginning, Ms Carter as the librarian at the Greenwood Library helped keep all the planned details in check and hosted a HUGE collection of events at the Greenwood Public library.  This allowed individuals to be able to take in the events behind the VFW, in the Greenwood Library, as well as the 5k that started in the library parking lot.  She was the half brain of this event that enabled a start to such a wide array of choices for such a festival.  The ties she has been willing to create to connect school libraries to public libraries? Priceless.  We even were able to present about this at the Maryland Library Association Conference this year, which featured a powerful and strong tie to these two forces in our communities, public libraries and school libraries.

Greenwood Police Department/Fire Department/Town of Greenwood-\Meeting with me frequently before the event and giving me time to present, as well as providing their support and guidance on the routes, process, and service for the day of this event was everything.  Seeing their families also involved in this day was more than most individuals could ever want tied to an event. It makes a difference in everything when you see organizations such as these provide the steps to have a successful event to bring communities together, and it is even more rewarding to see absolute supporters of all the community in such great organizations as these three in Greenwood.

Woodbridge Class of 2020 – It is difficult in my memory to have seen a select number of students from a Class willing to be so involved.  However, add Indya, Jasmine, Rachel, Trey, Anthony, and Confidence as students as a part of the Class of 2020, and all year they have supported other clubs, organizations and community events.  Amazing group.  The day of the festival Indya and Jasmine, Anthomy made sure their presence was all over the festival and Rachel participating in the Select Ensemble all showed how they supported Trey and Troy during this time in their lives.  Confidence, while attending a HOBY Leadership conference did help behind the scenes leading up to this festival to make sure alot of loose ends would be tied together for the day of.  A soon to be graduating class that will be very difficult to say goodbye to for many many countless reasons.

Woodbridge MCJROTC- There is NO WAY at ALL this 5k event would have occurred as smoothly as it did had it not been for the time, energy, and planning of the MCJROTC at Woodbridge.  The planning, marking, biking ahead of the pack, monitoring, supporting, setting up, tearing down, and color guard event, and MORE of their efforts – this was the key to success for this 5k – and made the difference in a dream of a full day that became a reality.  Add to this fact they made the festival easier thanks to their supervision, their support to all vendors, their presence- add to all this and you have a group that was the backbone of the festival that many do not are lucky enough to have help support them. Their Halloween 5k will be one you need to attend to see how far reaching their actions are into the community – not just a military focus but a community one that impacts our community in Delaware.

Woodbridge Select Ensemble – The ability and willingness for many of the seniors to come back AFTER graduation, and to perform for an event that was officially in their summer, this says alot about Ms Workman and her select ensemble.  When you heard them, you understood why they were an important part of the festival and words, let alone song, cannot capture how great it was that they were a part of this festival and willing to show the community what a talented group of music-talented individuals can do to add to the immediate community.

Karen Johnson and the Bridgeville Public Library- Another key librarian, (see a pattern here?) not only came to the rescue for the trophies that would become the 3d printed fours that were for the 5k, she continually offered her insight, editing, and advice regarding the organization, publicity, and festival in general – without her, much chaos, a huge lack of foresight in the festival overall, and behind the scenes support that made on the scene results fantastic.  Priceless support for this event.

Carmen Chona – With a fantastic announcing voice at the 5k, as well as dropping all to provide medical attention if needed, to helping with ice and resources for the event, having Carmen at this festival, and supporting this event before the festival – it made a HUGE difference. Having an Athletic Trainer like Carmen is priceless as was seen on this day, so imagine what she does for others all around the rest of the year!

Woodbridge Roaming Raiders, FFA, NHS – These groups individually could have a paragraph alone on their involvement and how they educate their members on being international and local ambassadors of society.  From agriculture, to culture, to horticulture, to honoring the success of academics alongside these three community categories, these groups work hard to support the endeavors they take on to open doors for others.  If you do not know much or even a little about these groups you need to do so.  Their willingness to sacrifice a day towards their goals is step one in knowing they want to further their community through the education of themselves as well as their community.  Their presence was why we need a larger attendance at festival ideas like so conversations and awareness of what they want to do, can be connected to existing members in our community.

Rebekah Harding and Angela Zamora – What these young ladies did during the school year was to bend over backwards and create a gaming community of students interested in board, card, and video games.  This lasted for months at Woodbridge High and garnered the interest of students that had not previously had an ability to rein in their outlet for talent for games of all sorts.  These ladies organized a gaming series of competitions that brought individuals to the library as a center of interacting with various games, and ultimately the drive to exceed better at grades to continue to interacts with others in the community.  Their grass roots energy will push us to incorporate a gaming aspect to the festival that will take root and in fact, grow as we strategize on how to make this an integral aspect of the festival.  Patience and replanning this initiative started by them will be an exciting addition to the art we know as gaming in so many forms. Add to this the HOURS they spent phoning individuals to attend the festival and you need to know how responsible they are for getting the word out to so many in such a short time. Despite having her wisdom teeth taken out the day before, Angela’s energy and contributions leading up to this festival, Rebekah filling in double time for Angela’s absence during her recovery the day of, these two made the festival happen for so many countless reasons.

Andrea Paun – A priceless individual who used to work with me as a volunteer at the Baltimore Aquarium, she is still there and I am not yet returned due to time constraints, her advice, and help up to the wee hours of the June 8th event made so many creative things happen.  Her materials list, her creativity, her driving from MARYLAND to come just to help prepare materials for the 5k and festival, her patience, her belief that giving is more powerful than the sacrifices she had to make, her contribution to destressing the animals at the petting zoo during the festival and even more?  It means so much more to me when you see such dear individuals in their willing to sacrifice so much for a sense of building community. I feel if someone out of the state believes this so much, then someone in our community should too, correct?

Jon Rene Holmes /Syerra Smith and Family – Without the constant help of Syerra during the day at school, the help of her sister and her mother, none of the additions that make the 5k so live, as well as the festival would have occurred.  Syerra must have contacted a hundred individuals leading up to the festival, and their connection to Mr. Moore an amazing DJ and resident of Greenwood who volunteered his services for this festival and 5k for Troy Haynes, says everything we wanted to say about how we define community.  Their behind the scenes involvement made the on the scene event happen, period.  Priceless individuals that helped before and during this event and without them nothing would occur. 

Tim Moore /Slim Street – The availability and willingness to give to this event and donate everything he had to the 5k, to the festival, to arriving at 5:00 AM and staying until the last person left the field.  To immediately on the spot committing to presenting students, performances, announcements, equipment and MORE – committing to it all and allowing his whole Saturday to be devoted to the community – I simply need not to say anymore ; those attending see how much of a contribution he made to make this festival feel like a festival thanks to Slim Street Sounds.

There ARE SO MANY MORE, and this took me 3 hours!

Amity, Hungry Howies, and A TON MORE made this event happen, so please stay posted for Part II coming soon to let you in on what has to happen for a festival such as this, 5k and festival both to happen thanks to those that support it.




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June 8 2019- Our Journeys, Our Stories, Our Delaware

June 8th flyer 1.jpg      prom2     teen.PNG


June 8th Program


1 2     3   4


Does it take one idea, or even one person to start a fire?  I am not sure, but I do know this.  The art of a community is not narrowed down to just one.  The idea of Repentino. (meaning all of a sudden in Spanish) was a student movement to change perceptions of what art is. It developed as a literary magazine in Mexico City.

Relocating to Greenwood Delaware, at Woodbridge High School, The Riff, a new student magazine, the idea of a festival to bring community together under the umbrella of art, of all types was also a student-led idea worth developing.  June 8th will be about celebrating our obstacles, our achievements, our trials, our accomplishments as one community. Our first year will not be our last thanks to you as a community.

June 8th will be a 5k in the AM, and thanks to Slim Streets Sounds’ generosity, this is going to be a motivated and hype event to support the fight Troy represents for himself and for so many others.   Amity Coffee helping welcome walkers and runners, celebrate what it means to be selfless and a fighter, and supporting such an individual like Troy Haynes.  Proceeds will benefit the Troy Haynes fund and registrants will receive the Troy Haynes Fight Like Four Shirt. logo fight like four This 5k will start and end at Greenwood Public Library parking lot. Some exciting DJ music, announcements, and prizes be part of this 8:00 AM start, preregistration is until June 01, 7:00 AM at Amity is the packet pickup OR at Amity Friday the day before until close. Registration online is also possible HERE

From 11:00 – 4:00, thanks to groups you will find at the bottom of this post, occurring at the VFW Greenwood at 303 Mills Street, Greenwood, DE and the Greenwood Public Library, a host of events for the family will be made available. Crafts seen at the Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C. for children will be made available at a modest ticket price to the public; board, card, and game tournaments will be happening at the VFW in Greenwood all day, with lots of prizes available.  Activities for families will be made available to the public, from signups for athletic groups, 5k’s and health services, information from local police officers, Jedi training, comicon events, and recycled craft activities to just plain old bouncey houses, we want to show what community means involving churches, schools, healthy activities, and more.  What a great tradition to begin.  

Stage Performances:

11:00 AM WHS Select Ensemble with National Anthem and presentation of the flag thanks to the WHS MCJROTC Colorguard

11:45 The Splash Brothers- Ashon Jackson and Ja’mez Styles Exciting and motivating Upcoming Artists From Delaware

splash brothers 1

Check them out at  Soundcloud: Ybnana-GMN with  even newer  Music Coming Soon!


We are represented at the festival by:

Amity Roasters and Café


PrintWellness Center at Woodbridge High School


Print   Bridgeville Public Library



Bethany Beach Books


bethany1bethany books2

Class of 2020 from Woodbridge selling WHS pop sockets and Fight Like 4 bracelets!


5x2ad colorThe Comic Book Shop




CRAFTS tied to the Baltimore Aquarium!


logo fight like fourDeez Teez


Dolores Beam Art from Greenwood, DE



Gear Up BMX  Gear Up 1
The Summer Bike Challenge sponsored by GearUp promotes bicycle riding for children under the age of twelve by offering prizes to those who record at least ten hours of riding their bike over the course of the summer.


teen Greenwood Public Library

2019 SCHEDULE OF EVENTS Greenwood Library


Greenwood VFW


Heart Art 2HeartArt encourages people to make creative kindness items for sharing with people in need. Their coloring cards initiative has already helped more than 4000 people send over 11,000 cards to soldiers, veterans, seniors    in nursing homes and others who need a pick up.  


hungy howies

Hungry Howies


impact logo  Impact Graphic Signs


Jewelry, Etc.


L&W Veteran’s Remembrance Society



saltyartwork.jpg Lynnes Salty Heartwork 

and  video!


Petting ZOO involved with 4H!


Marvel Marvelous Farms Produce

Passion Fruit Juice with real sugarcane! It’s a sweet and tangy and tart combination of one of the tropics favorite fruit passion fruit juice. Full of vitamins… passion fruit juice is a punch a flavor to your taste buds and a refreshing drink for the heat of the summer!



Roaming Raiders .png

Roaming Raiders   The Roaming Raiders are a group of students and teachers committed to learning about the world around us through travel. This year we traveled to Peru and got to see Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, visit a local preschool, and much more. The students were able to learn a lot about the indigenous people of Peru and their rich history. In June 2020 we will continue our adventures traveling to England, France, and Spain. Students are looking forward to seeing Big Ben, walking through the Louvre, and exploring Park Güell. 


Seaford Parks and Recreation  (Tennis and Field Hockey Registration)  

“The Seaford Parks & Recreation booth will be offering sign-ups for their summer clinics, selling wooden breast cancer ribbons, and will have information about trips and events they are hosting throughout the year!”


Slim Street Sounds


Slim Street Sounds 5k and festival Hype!


TACOS and Corn delicacies!


vanderwendesVanderwende’s Ice Cream


Vault 13

Woodbridge FFA


WHSperforming arts.PNG   Woodbridge High School Select Ensemble  

Our Facebook Page   Woodbridge High School Performing Arts Department

Check out our Instagram at Instagram @whs_performingarts


Woodbridge Marine Corps JROTC


Woodbridge PASE 


Please check here the next few days there are even MORE updates.

If you’d like to volunteer for the day, let us know at

Stay tuned for some exciting updates on the day all for benefiting what we know as community and created by The Riff Literary Art Magazine.


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The Sweet is Never as Sweet Without…

“Just remember, the sweet is never as sweet without the sour, and I know the sour.” – Vanilla Skies Film, 2001.

I look back on this quote and see an amazing correlation to a truer definition of what role a Librarian is in light of this past 2018-2019 year.  I am proud to say I have been able to see a truer definition of what this occupation has meant to me from the individuals around me.  Some examples are in order for this claim to stand, so, shall we?

At the MLA and the DLA Conference this year in Cambridge, MD, Delaware’s DASL President-Elect co presented on what Makerspaces mean to the educational curriculum and how they extend learning.  Additionally, DASL officers met up with public librarians to demonstrate how a partnership of public librarians and school librarians change the community around them.=during a poster session.  It worked.  That one single day we worked from a poster session, we met individuals from ALL WALKS OF LIFE and learned so much about our positions through the lenses of so many other’s experiences.  We realized the bitter tastes we had to taste were made better with the sweet stories of accomplishments we made recreating the communities around us through dynamic libraries, both educational and public.  With DASL also contributing several auction items, as a DASL Officer, I was excited to also countless other unique and state-oriented auctions items, the sweetness of knowing when all of us in this professions stand up, a difference is made.

Legislative day also brought Kim Read, DASL president, to Senator Baumbach and Sturgeon to find new ways to remind administrators, politicians, educators, and paras that there is a direct link to the number of licensed teachers, the number of printed resources and ultimately test scores.  The visibility and presence of licensed school librarians is needed, essential, and pertinent. The energy of maintaining a professional library presence also remains as valuable as ever.

Spring 2019 showed me from a school library perspective, how I could show others that the  Library Media Center was more than a warehouse.  How could I make others realize this?  When our school star quarterback was diagnosed with kidney cancer, one of the first places the students gathered to discuss how they felt, what they wanted to express, and what they would do next, yes, it all occurred in the Media Center.  When his brother came in every morning just to put his head down and try to grab onto all that was happening, I realized, the Media Center is in fact a hub of activity and promise, if we let it be.  Turning the Library Media Center into the ultimate student literacy union, things happened.  The school found ways to fundraise and share how to from our library, began to organize festival and meetings together, and before long, I was able to recruit 4-5 students per period, finding the time after their work and studies to be behind the desk like me and help answer questions, phones, emails, and strategize.

Wait.  Students?  Working behind the desk?  Isn’t that the ultimate sacrilege?  Scratch that thought. In two short weeks, students that never realized what was possible in a Library Media Center realized how all could operate when motivated and excited about what they could find that they could not before.  Opportunity, responsibility, creativity, risk-taking.  Don’t believe me?  Put a phone in a student’s hands and ask them to make a call as a representative of our Library Media Center to get approval for a community literacy festival, and see a student who never realized what they could take from the library to the world outside of the library latch onto the reality.  Word caught on.  For the next few weeks, students came down and manned phones, emails, and ideas and spread those ideas out across the community and viewed the library of where creativity is born out of literacy.  They witnessed the library being used for instructing students that were deaf, students that were struggling with math and witnessed other students helping them, all from behind the desk and they began to see the value of the Library Media Center in a different light, and how they could also play a part.

Fast forward to May 21, 2019, Delaware Association for School Libraries end of year meeting.  We came full circle and recognized Jennifer Delgado from H.B. du Pont in Red Clay District as School Librarian/Media Specialist of the year, Dr. Edmond Gurdo & Mrs. Amy Hones from Bunker Hill Elementary School District in Appoquinimink School District as DASL Administrator Team of the Year.  We welcomed new DASL President Katelynn Scott, ushered in new Vice President, Patricia Brown, and Patricia Crilley as new secretary.  Speakers Annie Norman and Elizabeth Simmons raised awareness about the new public library and school library resolution Number 40, and reminded Delaware residents of the awesome new events occurring in Delaware for summer reading in public libraries.  

If you look above, this is only a small, tiny view of what has been achieved in school libraries NOT involving the searching and cataloging of books many view as the position of a librarian.  Instead, by fighting for larger numbers of certified librarians in every school, proving more money into more books into higher test scores is relevant, and tasting the bitter and experience the sweet, I find the experience is not enough.  These are small glimpses into stories of a year, what are yours?

Our stories initiated into actions change perceptions of what a Library Media Specialist can do when it comes to sparking innovation into students with instilling responsibility.  Letting students take over and realize how a library can truly be a catalyst and center for discovery and hub center for communicating with a community inside and outside of school walls, changes everything.  In order to continue advocating for the change we want to see, out stories and experiences need to be shared.  Then, and only then, will we be able to truly able to experience the sour, alongside the sweet.   Please join the Delaware Association of School Librarians Facebook group @ to make your stories of this year heard. Help change the fallacy of a Librarian as merely a caretaker to that of a Library Media Specialist that inspires change in everyone within literary distance. One capable of tasting the sour with the sweet.

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Redefine Everything As You Move Through it.

Prom.  Let me just say it – nothing – in every single detail is as you plan it. Even if that means one little detail.  Which serves as a larger metaphor for life, doesn’t it?  Starting in August (okay maybe a little earlier) of 2018, I realized the support and reliability of the Junior Officers helped make such an event happen, and happen so that a positive and memorable event would remain in everyone’s mind.  Starting with some amazing ideas from that 2018 starting point, Mr. Chase and Ms. Thompson were supportive and helpful from the very beginning, the WHS board supporting the ideas and paths that led to a Night of Royalty 2019.


It would be easy to walk away with the event over and be able to say, “Whew, done.” Yet the services and individuals that enabled this night to occur have to be mentioned and I am not sure can be done in one post.  Adding to that, I was able to see how such a commitment can be bust or a success based on similar ways individuals handle how they interact with others throughout everyday life.  Yes, the similarities were there and were a reason for this night’s success.

It is one thing to decide on a theme (not an easy task, but only a beginning).  Once this was decided, the specifics to reinforce that theme an be daunting.  Yet, without a beat, without murmur, the contact, communication, and the strength of Christina Haynes and her family, her friends, her company Simply Elegant Linens & Designs represented everything you hope to see and experience.  Despite countless trials, hurdles, personal and professional challenges, this was the rock that sent a message to all attending – “When times gets tough, you get tougher and show what family and friends can do when called on in times of need.” Including the night of the event, to days, weeks, aprom2nd months leading to the event, Ms. Haynes never held back when she needed to ask something, suggest something, or add something to make the event the best possible night. Despite so many aspects in her life with various events AND obstacles and hardships thrown her way, you were able to see through the window that shows the real Ms. Haynes from beginning to end of this event. It was a testimony to her commitment to those around her.

There is no service or group I would want to do any event except for this service.  Patience, communication, trust, and reliability were just a few expectations that are guaranteed when you plan with her company of planners, designers, and make it happen group.  Lights, centerpieces, the throne for King and Queen with amazing tapestry, and MUCH MORE – there are no words to be able to describe the depth of success Simply Elegant Linens & Designs provided.  The ability to survive life with all the tumultuous turns that are thrown in the path, cannot be better exhibited than as through how the Haynes family continued to show through the prom, as well as how they remain able to come through when needed, this prom was a perfect example of how individuals learn to carry on through the toughest of times.  

There are many many more testimonies and post excerpts that follow giving credit to this year’s Wooodbridge High School Prom, but it is fitting to stop right here tonight and allow the success of the prom to this first group – share its own post before moving on to more.  Thank you Simply Elegant Linens & Designs for telling your story of beauty, strength, expression, creativity, family, and communication through your beautiful work at May 4, 2019’s WHS Prom.  Prom could take on involving the community we live in to a higher degree rather than just simply being an event – something I hope that continues into the future with many more things we do.  Royal truly took on a new definition in the course of a year in seeing so many amazing people step up and work together as a community.


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Bittersweet. That is the word of the week that applies in so many ways to so many aspects of life.  As I sat taking in the Avengers Endgame, I realized how bittersweet the fight is for what you believe in.  I also realized and accepted there is so much complacency in the world, those individuals that hold themselves responsible for the steps that need to be taken to make the world, and not just themselves better, stand out- mainly because those individuals that are selfless and are willing to walk through their own fire for someone else – very few of those individuals exist anymore.

The struggle you witness in the last Avenger’s film seems so incredibly real and I felt this was because as of late we have seen the metaphor all around us – with so much fight evident in politics, neighboring countries and the simple fight against decline we continually see every day – fears of children safety in schools, hatred against each other based on race, beliefs, ethnicity, the disappearance towards extinction of so many species, evidence of materialism in a world that accumulates more and more waste rather than gratitude, just to name a few. 

The fight against cancer we have found in our own Woodbridge community with Troy Haynes has certainly come as a shock.  The bravery that Troy has shown and the fight he demonstrates what someone with integrity and character, and humbleness can do to positively influence those around us and ultimately a whole community – is nothing short of heroic. it is what we all need to inspire us to be better.

It was not too long ago this school year when a quiet, 9th grade student and Cross Country runner named Shania – started to make a habit of coming into the library everyday and announced one day the fight her Dad had taken up for his recovery against cancer that had turned up in his system. I watched over the next few months as she helplessly watched from the sidelines and  would have easily switched roles with her Dad any moment.  Yet her quiet resolve and family, made her stand her ground and she found a way to become stronger for it.  It is a game changer, just as in football, Cross Country, and life itself when one individual on a field, course, or community maintains the courage in the face of fear and brings up everyone around them – when they themselves would seem they have the largest fight on their hands. Selflessness I continually see is the biggest factor I have seen that empowers those around you, I have seen this in Shania and certainly Troy Haynes.

When I was lucky enough to see fellow teacher Tom Smith nominated as the Ralph H. Moore Community Provider Teacher of the Year tonight, along with Mr. Chad Jones as Emergency Provider of the Year and Corporal John Cullen as Police Officer of the Year, I again saw the light that individuals still hold among so many that do not.  Those few individuals are the game changers in a school, I fire house, and in the line of fire in the community for a reason.   I remember overhearing countless conversations of concern over students that Mr. Tom Smith would initiate on his own, after school hours, trying to assess how to reach students from other languages, countries, and broken homes to get them what they need.  Those snippets of conversations I witnessed brought home how lucky Woodbridge High was to have someone willing to take on these concerns when so much already exists to overwhelm educators already.  

In celebrating Teacher’s Recognition Week this week, and being served so many great dishes from our administration as appreciation, I found myself receiving some phenomenal messages from students left on my desk that kept blowing my mind in how much students appreciated basic actions I see as minimally expected.  I realized the struggle everyday is eased by those fighters I find in the form of students, colleagues, and community members that put aside their disappointments and frustrations everyday to make the day that much better for the whole, for those around them and not necessarily themselves.

When I look back and remember Mr. Custead who pushed me responsibility-wise in the Butler Intermediate School when I worked as a library aide (little did I realize I would find myself in the Library arena so much later in life), Mr. Neutrelle, one of the strictest English teachers I had in Intermediate who never accepted less than the best, Ms. Semes who I had never forgotten how patient she was despite my constant into-everything-around-me approach in elementary school, the countless professors such as Dr. McCarren, Boggs, Permenter, to name a few who helped shape my future when I found myself wandering among my future prospects in college at Slippery Rock University, Dr. DiMarco who introduced me to a whole new world of International multicultural literature, and the countless individuals I could go on that took the time to remind me why the fight is so important.  The fight within us allows for change, for optimism, and for a better world.  It is often so easy to get used to those around us who have a loudspeaker of criticism without any energy to move in a direction to truly impact change – a mouthpiece and nothing else.  However,

just as I took in the beauty of the fight and struggle I witnessed on screen in the Avengers Endgame, I realized, how many real heroes we have around us that take the fight to communities around us to encourage action to make that change a reality.  That is all the difference in the world that is evident in less and less quantities, the willingness to sacrifice one’s own hurt for the sake of bringing others up around us – and for that reason the heroes I have seen these past months in Troy, Shania, educators and those that sacrificed their time for me as a former student – no screen, no film series, no trilogy could ever capture those priceless gifts that these very people in our community show every single day.  Truly the EndGame is how we each take those gifts given to us  and pass them on to others to do the same and change everything as we know it. That 5k, that shirt, that wrist band, that walk, that run, that fund, that festival, that event, that IDEA to change something or create something to improve that around us?  Priceless.




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New but Familiar Firsts In New York

New York, quite by accident, became the home of Repentino. when it came to the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, a place where Repentino. received guidance, direction, and a start.  A start does not come without realization that starts are because of those are willing to sacrifice their time, their energy, and their creativity to make dreams to become a reality for those that from that first day, an idea that today has become a reality. A reality thanks to the encouragement, mind, and creativity of the above beliefs.

In 2019, I found myself for the first time on a trek to New York, for the first time, without physically staffs as we represented a transition and a new beginning in a new location with some amazing ideas and support , building anew.  Yet, the connections still remained in New York. Bessy, the 2017-2018 Editor in Chief from Mexico City would meet me in New York to celebrate the tradition of presenting, accepting, and representing what Repentino. and now becoming The Riff to lead a tradition of creativity, art, and expression.

I have to admit the trek to New Jersey, driving this time and not flying, and finding my way to New York via metro – so totally different than has happened the last seven years and yet, while doing so alone I realized this is a start of what we did over 9 years ago, an idea that sparked a staff that started with single numbers and involved worlds apart.

As I walked from New Jersey to the metro that would connect me to New York, I came out into a metro that I honestly had to check if I was – – where was I?  Coming out of New Jersey via the PATH train, into New York via The World Trade Center Metro,  and it is unlike anything I have ever seen in the 11+ years I have been traveling to New York.  The White ribs, the amazing brilliance of white that hits you coming out of the Path Station from New Jersey.  I felt I had to double, triple check where I was when I first came out.  After realizing I was in the middle of one of the most amazing metros I had ever seen , I recovered, and made my way outside past the World Trade Center Memorial.  Another first.

newyorkmemorialPassing by the World Trade Center Memorial at night is something one cannot possibly describe, but has to experience.  All the names inscribed glow – as well as the sound of water that constantly stirs memory.  To see this Memorial at night, is worth every moment and must be done to appreciate the memory of so much in a whole new way.  Walking past the Firefighter Memorial, Newyork3the interviews we made on the first trip in New York day back in 2011, we had no idea where it would/could lead.  As I found my way to Penn Station, and ultimately to Jazz on the Park, every moment, of the past 10+ years in New York, every sound, every experience, every step forward remained with me. 

NewYorkimage1Hitting the Duke Ellington Gourmet Deli – one of the best corner experiences EVER brought back all that New York can be and is. There is so much under the radar that can bring new meaning.  The fries and hamburger Newyork2 that can be found is so diverse at this deli, and amazing, and open 24 hours, it is just a beginning of what can be obtained in New York.  I felt New York and this 2019 visit would do the same.  Night 1 of New York, 2019, begins the adventure where so much history has occurred up to this point




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The Facebook of Librarianship…

The Social Aspects of Information Science.”  These six words snapped several times in front of me.  I never realized how STUCK individuals (myself included) and become on defining what we see as a THING – for example, defining what we see as a library, what we see is involved with being a librarian, easy to define in our own minds, harder to represent and truly define in real life.

This weekend I drove to Philadelphia as I was afraid the new movie, The Public, would not come near to my area, so I, without hesitation, booked a 1:00 PM appointment to drive to The Ritz Landmark Theatre at the Bourse to catch the 1:00.  Maybe considered excessive and ritzextreme, but in the trailer I saw – although be it a public library, the same reality that the chain of events that happen in the community if its own within a public library, closely resembled the routines and life that occurs every day in a school library –

Bryant coming in and grabbing the closest new item on the counter an asking what new graphic novels are in and checking out the same ones for the 20th time, Shania ALWAYS checking to see what extra Craisins there are and being always able to be counted on every morning and soaking up my bad and good mood I find myself in, laughing on the latest inside jokes, Giovanny coming in every other morning to voice his latest frustration with the latest game he stayed up until who knows when playing-

It is so easy to dismiss a library as that quiet place, that solitary place when those inside know most of the time it is ANYTHING but. Mostly everyone, unless having experienced the social routines of what a library connects to outside of those walls, the world, will never fully realize the niche libraries fill for the world. Sounds dramatic but it is just the plain truth.  As I participated in this last course on line with Dr. Burnett and the students in my Florida State online class, it was amazing to review the intersections that the library has made through print, taxonomies, controlled vocabularies, folksonomies, and despite threats and closings of so many school and public libraries, how extremely valiant a fight it is to preserve this arena of information that is constantly changing and to represent and provided access to so many unique individuals on a daily basis, a challenge few truly will be aware of.

I knew I was not only infatuated with Emilio Estevez’s production and directed movie The Public, Alec Baldwin’s role and how they used real individuals that faced homelessness, addiction, and so much more on a daily basis, and also found a refuge in the library; the wealthiest and well to do individual as well, he decided to focus on this topic.  HE saw, realized, and portrayed the sociology of the library to society as a whole.  There was SO SO much that came out of The Public, but none of it can be put into words as much as seeing it and finding at least one person you can identify with from the film, because you will be able to. 

I realized the library is not just this location for grabbing a book when needed, I realized this when I was a tyke in elementary school the way I was invited into a space that made me  feel, more me.  For a hundred different reasons and ways.  Estevez confronts the countless attempts and actions of deeming libraries and librarians, both school and public, as not needed in every single moment of this film. I read a review that said it felt as if he was “stuffing this message down the throats of the viewers.” I laughed.  How many times have individuals tagged the library as one specific definition, tagged a librarian as one specific type of individual, over and over and over…touche.

I finally realizes as well how incredibly connected we are as humans due to some specific areas in our community, the library being one of them.  Kudos to individuals like Dr. Burnett, Emilo Estevez, our WHS Administrator of the year 2018-2019 Kelley Thompson, Principal Kent Chase, Woodbridge Board and administrators, and fellow DASL officers past and present that role model how relevant, how 21st Century, how social, how HUMAN libraries are to our world today. Was it worth the trip to Philadelphia and back to see The Public?  ABSOLUTELY. Way to go Emilio Estevez for picking topics that influence every person and the social community we find ourselves in, and in this case, the library!


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Dear Spokane Washington,

As I read the decision to remove school librarians at the end of this year in your great town, thanks to a colleague of DASL (Delaware Association of School Libraries) – I had a mini scenario carry out in my head – 

“What a grand school!  High ceilings, high windows, this will be great for renovation? “This is a fairly new school, no renovations needed.”

“Well that idea of grand design and elaborate spacing is going by the wayside.  Functional!  That is the wave of new thought. It is great we have schools, but is that really functional? Are we getting the most out of our building by it not being used in the evening?  All this space just here and not being used.  If we moved people into these areas, made this now school into town houses, this hall divided up into a residence wing, these columns an entry wing to a grand staircase, much more use- who has time for sitting down, taking up space and time when money is the issue, and money not being earned is money wasted.  Remove any unnecessary needs, and revenue ! Revenue for technology, revenue from automation, revenue from busy transactions, faster, better, modern that is what we need to promote the best area ever – attractions and modernity!””

Now this sounds awfully eccentric, yes.  However, in graduating high school in 1990 (YES, 1990) and graduating with my FIRST college degree in 1998, then in 2003, then in 2014, and soon to be again around 2023, I could get 20 degrees and it would not mean anything different when it comes to what school libraries and librarians, when allowed and hired for a school hub positions, ACTUALLY do.  To rid any school of the potential of the following – it is similar to simply saying – Education?  Yeah, it is a necessary evil, nice to have but not essential.  Yes, there is plenty of that argument still there, but EDUCATION and being educated comes in a variety of forms, being vocational in nature, being a contractor, finishing a technical degree and applying that expertise to the community you are from, driving all over the country after obtaining a DSL license, some do go onto college, some individuals raise a farm that provides food for the communities we make up – you get the idea.  

In the same line of discussion, a Library Media Specialist, a librarian today – configures labs, networks of people and technology, archives histories of communities, arranges and organizes local and international events, creates a haven for students of ALL interests and talents an d encourages that diversity, does not shy away from the use of technology but also does not ignore the vocational aspects of what makes a country a country as well.  If a school believes in the students of their school, then positions that allow every student to be the center of their school – which librarians are trained for, bring up the success of the school, AS A WHOLE.  

Since 1998 and my involvement with the education field, I have seen school gut entire libraries because books were in the way of additional space, only to find the cost of databases and online was MUCH more expensive than the cost of technology alone.  It boggles my mind individuals think one direction is more powerful than a blended combination, I mean, didn’t those individual go to college to learn that?  As a certified librarian I did.

I have seen individuals take out a whole library and provide a stage and small hall, sometimes even an old closet and state this is the library.  Really?  That is the statement you want to send to the staff and students, and families of your school, while trying to raise state test scores but pushing literacy of all kinds (agricultural, technological, vocational into a closet?)

I have seen colleagues inspired of how to combine resources for every teacher in the school and provide those resources to help reduce the amount of standard matching, unit planning, and objective and form submitting to HALF, only to find they are the only librarian in their DISTRICT.  What incentive is there to be an Information Specialist when the Science of Information is deemed not as valuable as a space anymore but more valuable as a study hall with no direction?

How many times a day would be influential if students had someone/somewhere that they could go to and simply talk to about how their day is going, alongside the comments needed on a paper due later in the day, alongside being able to find a reads that will help focus or unwind and simply feel better about all the things needed done in a single day (not to mention the hardships most students have just to GET to school for the day?)

It is difficult to understand that the old regime and idea of what a librarian did and what a modern-day librarian does is the Tucker of the car industry compared to the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid or Tesla of today. Not even recognizable, but to bring out the best in your school – you need to be able to RECOGNIZE the assets you could have versus deciding literacy in all its forms is not valuable in another form.  Letting the students and educators decide what lets them get along further in the day is where the path and voices of success are.  Keeping and encouraging empowering librarians to make that change and pushing individuals that like to retain the stereotype of sitting quietly behind a desk, occasionally coming out from behind the desk when necessary, expecting every individual that comes through the door of the library to be a ghost of volume, almost transparent as to their presence, PLLLLLease.  Get real.  Seriously. GET REAL.

The REAL DEAL is that Library Media Specialists, also known as librarians are SPECIALISTS that actually go to college to take the world, combine it with MEDIA, and roll up your and their sleeves, and make things happen with jumping right in.  Period.  Anyone that is not willing to do that in the AM, in the PM, on the weekends, and to jump into the middle and help make things happen, (warning, it is noisy) well, I would have a hard time saying they are a Specialist at all. Maybe a Specialist in padding their retirement path, but that is not the place or occupation to do so, because yes, being a Library Media Specialist should make you EXHAUSTED if you are doing it correctly and maybe occasionally, you do get to distribute a vast knowledge of genres, authors, and plots.  That is a slow day.  So Spokane, I would advise you to rethink your decision about what type of education you want to represent in your schools and if you truly want an educational program that enhances the future for all your students, this is not the step you want to take.  Ask any of the Library Media Specialists in any of the 50 states, any  supervisor that understands what the Science of Information field provides for hungry populations of students, every single day.  If you want to make education the center of your educational model, then you will understand removing School Librarians is taking ten steps backwards in one move.  

I also finally realize not many individuals “get” the day in a school library that knows the heartbeat of their school.  Heck, I am not even sure I do after years of working in this field, because it changes every day.  But I do know, the colleagues, instructors, students, professors, parents, and communities CONTINUE to teach me that in order for me to be appreciated by them, I need to show them how I appreciate what they do everyday.  Period.  I hope you decide the same for your community when it comes to the role your school librarians will play for your great city and state.



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