Seniors celebrated with ‘Academic Signing Day’



GEORGETOWN, Del. – Sussex Central high school celebrated some of their seniors college acceptances and awards on Friday afternoon. School officials tell us, after a long year dealing with the pandemic and preparing for college, they think these students deserve some recognition. “Just being able to know that people are kind of giving us a thank you for the effort that we put in is really nice,” says Penn Smith, a senior with nearly a full ride to Lebanon Valley College.

Fourteen of the student’s in Sussex Central’s International Baccalaureate program, were awarded  Over $1.5 million in scholarships. We’re told these students will be heading to some of the top schools in the U.S. Institutions such as, Vanderbilt,  Johns Hopkins, Penn state and Ohio State University to name a few. “But why not do something a little bit extra for them and really let them know that we recognize everything that they did and that they overcame,” says event organizer and English teacher at Sussex Central High School, Joseph Macaluso.

Similar to an athletic signing day, teachers honored International Baccalaureate program students with an academic signing day. Students sported their college shirt, signed a mock letter of intent and celebrated their accomplishments with their families. “This is great to be acknowledged for academic scholarship and everything and I think it’s a great experience for the IB students to be appreciated,” says senior Taylor Silkworth, who earned a scholarship to Salisbury University.

According to students we spoke with, this year didn’t come easy. Between hybrid learning curves, trouble with online classes combined with their already hefty work load, through it all  teacher say the student’s truly persevered. “So going through high school through the pandemic has really kind of disconnected me from my teachers and my counselors a little bit.” says Smith. “So trying to keep communication with them was pretty key.” Silkworth adds, “It was a little crazy and I got a little nervous about it but I think a lot of colleges were very accommodating to SAT scores and the pandemic in general.”

Even with all of the commotion and stress of this past year, students and teachers tell us, it just made them push harder. “It was tough on them, it was tough on everyone,” says Macaluso. “But they really showed a tremendous amount of dedication to their studies and their preparation, it’s a testament to the grit that these students showed.”

We’re also told, one student received a full ride to Vanderbilt, and two students received nearly full-rides to Drexel and Johns Hopkins University. They say although it’s too soon to tell, their excited to see how this year’s senior scholarships differ from last years.

Categories: Delaware, Education, Local News