By Mike McClure

The Laurel School Board recognized the Laurel High School band during last Wednesday’s meeting. The board was also updated by Superintendent Dr. Shawn Larrimore on a pair of proposals that will be made next month.

Larrimore said the Laurel band is the only competitive marching band in Sussex County. The 50 plus member band finished first and was a fan favorite at the Lake Forest tournament and scored a team-high 80.1 points at the Appoquinimink tournament of bands.

Laurel Superintendent Dr. Shawn Larrimore shakes hands with Laurel Middle/High School Band Director Jason Rogers during Wednesday’s Laurel School Board meeting. The band was recognized for its recent accomplishments. Photo by Mike McClure

“The biggest accomplishment of this band that I’ve seen is that you are a family,” said Larrimore. “You guys are the epitome of what it takes to be a Laurel Bulldog and we’re so very proud of you.”

“They function like a family,” band director Jason Rogers added. “All the leaders know what their roles are. This season was successful because of every single person here.”

During board participation, board member Brent Nichols said, “These are good kids and we’re blessed to have them.” He rode with the band to a football game.

Each of the band members received a certificate from the board. They are: Drum majors- Dakota Hickerson and Amanda White; Flute- Caroline Ricketts, Diana Zunun Morales, Donna Kay Townsend, Faith Lloyd, Jessica Price, Astrieall Shahid, and Zikeera Warner; Clarinet- Faith Givens, Heaven Mitchell, Dana Eisenhour, Kelsey Castro-Trejo, Leah Mitchell, Weaverly Luted; Alto Saxophone- KaiRon Roberts, Matt Merrick, Landen Savage, Chasity Felice, and Armani Nichols; Tenor Saxophone- Conner Scye; Baritone Saxophone- Isaac Rodas; Trumpet- Travis Rife, Emily Johnson, Ashtyn Cornelius, Jeremiah Goddard, and Elizabeth Quinn; Mellophone- Rebecca Hafer and Alex Chabla; Trombone- Paul Jones and Evan Cassimore; Baritone- Angelus Nicholas; Percussion/Battery- Jamari Holden, Jordyn Savage, Sean Dixon, Claude Jean Louis, Isabella Belgrave, Amanda Carey, Matthew William-Williams, Sierra Wilkerson, Lucas Mumpower, David Hastings, Annabelle Brecker, and Derrick Snead, Jr.; Pit Crew: Mallets- Brianna Bradley, Andrew Carey, and Jorda Meseguer Molina; Bass Guitar- Piper Rush; Color Guard- Dakota Wilkerson, Abby McKee, Ketsia Murat, Wilvenska Mouche’; coaches- Jazmin Mendoza-Morales, mallet coach; Jarrett Hall, percussion coach; Darlene Murrat, color guard coach; Cindy Murrat, color guard coach; Andrew Hudson, brass coach; Jaime Smith, Jr., woodwind coach; Andrew Bratten, assistant band director; and Jason Rogers, band director.

Larrimore updated the board and those in attendance at last week’s meeting about a letter he sent to families of fifth graders about the proposed reconfiguring of Laurel Elementary School (see letter on page 34). According to Larrimore, the middle school and high school is at 102 percent capacity (70 students over the 1,400 students it was built for). The elementary school is at 78-79 percent capacity and would be at 92 percent if sixth graders attend the school.

The superintendent’s recommendation and the board’s vote will take place at the next school board meeting, on March 16.

Mandatory masks in schools will expire on March 31. Larrimore said that if there are no new COVID variants, his recommendation will be to make masks optional after March 31. The board will discuss the proposal at the March meeting.

Director of Human Resources Dr. Rick Evans reported that as of Jan. 31 the district had received 92.9 percent of state funding, 94.8 percent of local funding, and 100 percent of federal funding. As of Dec. 31, 94.91 percent of local taxes had been collected.

Board President Linda Hitchens said Administrative Assistant Lori Lewis is retiring from the school district at the end of June. “We are certainly going to miss her. Whoever steps in your shoes has huge shoes to fill,” said Hitchens.