DDHS scholarship, graduation events scheduled

By Michael S. Hoey

The Delavan-Darien School Board last week approved dates for the annual scholarship ceremony and graduation, both of which will be held next spring in early June.

At its Dec. 14 meeting, the board set June 5, 2021 at 1 p.m. as the date for the annual scholarship ceremony and chose June 6, 20201 at 3 p.m. as the date graduation for the Delavan-Darien High School Class of 2021 will be held.

This spring, both ceremonies were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The scholarship ceremony was held virtually. Graduation actually featured three ways to honor graduates – a virtual ceremony, a graduation cruise and an in-person ceremony on July 17 in a socially-distanced event at Borg Stadium.

DDHS principal Jim Karedes said the hope is that in-person ceremonies can be held on the dates approved but he acknowledged circumstances in regard to COVID may force changes to the plan.

“We are hoping for traditional programs,” District Administrator Jill Sorbie said. “We will wait and see.”

New welding class

DDHS technical education teacher Mike Rick asked the school board to approve a Welding 2 class for next year, for which the board gave its unanimous consent.

Sorbie said there is a strong interest in the student body for welding. There are currently 52 students taking the Welding 1 class and 39 of those students will still be attending the high school next year.

“We want to offer the kids what interests them and what they can do after high school,” Sorbie said.

Sorbie said adding a third course to Metals and Welding classes will put kids who take all three on pace to get a Gateway certification before graduating from high school. She also said the demand for welders is high, including in this area.

New welding class

Delavan-Darien High School was recently recognized by Next Gen Personal Finance, a leading non-profit provider of financial education curriculum and teacher professional development. DDHS was honored as a Gold Standard School for requiring all students to take at least one semester of personal finance to graduate.

The press release from NGPF said just one in five students nationwide receive that level of access to comprehensive financial education at the high school level.

The release said there were just 1,247 Gold or Future Gold Standard Schools this year.

Questions raised

Though he admitted that he has not attended all of the school board meetings lately because of the pandemic, resident Andy Terpstra questioned the board about the recent referendum.

Those questions included if they ever passed a formal resolution approving the $6.5 million facilities referendum that was passed in November, if the amount had ever been formally approved, if the actual cost of the project – including interest – would exceed the $6.5 million that was approved, and who was in charge of the project.

After the meeting, Sorbie said the board approved a resolution on July 13 for the wording of the referendum question and an initial resolution authorizing general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $6.5 million. Both facts were reported in the Delavan Enterprise on July 23.

Sorbie said the actual cost of the project will not exceed $6.5 million, though, as with any loan, there will be interest charges that may carry the final bill over $6.5 million. Sorbie said the final project costs are not in yet. She said the district has worked very hard to bring its credit rating up to AA in anticipation of receiving favorable interest rates.

“The district is in a much better place than it was a few years ago,” she said.

Sorbie said she’s in charge of the project but there is also a panel made up of board member Dave Henriott, athletic director Guy Otte, the building and grounds Director, and several coaches. She said business administrator Anthony Klein is also a resource the panel will rely on.

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