2013-14 Academic Top 10 Seniors Announced

The Academic Top 10 Seniors from DDHS included, front row from left: Alexandra Lewis, Brody Brown, Scott Ekman, John Damrow, Mikayla Severson, Victoria Huebner; back row: Superintendent Robert Crist, Rose Wang, Graciela Jaramillo, Kylee Lubis, Principal Mark Schmitt; not pictured: Kelly Miller.

Kelly Miller

Kelly Miller

The 25th Annual Southern Lakes Conference Academic Top 10 Banquet was held on April 13, in Waterford at the Cotton Exchange II.

Honored there were the top 10 academically-ranked seniors from each of the eight member schools of the Southern Lakes Conference (Delavan-Darien, Badger, Burlington, Waterford, Elkhorn, Westosha Central, Union Grove and Wilmot Union).

The top 10 seniors from Delavan-Darien High School included, in alphabetical order:

  • Brody Brown
  • John Damrow
  • Scott Ekman
  • Victoria Huebner
  • Graciela Jaramillo
  • Alexandra Lewis
  • Kylee Lubis
  • Kelly Miller
  • Mikayla Severson
  • Rose Wang

Each of the seniors received a commemorative plaque for their achievements. Delavan-Darien School District Superintendent Robert Crist, Ed.D., and DDHS Principal Mark Schmitt, Ed.D., accompanied the seniors at the banquet.

Congratulations on all of your academic success, seniors, and good luck with all of your future endeavors, wherever they may take you.

Posted in Delavan-Darien High School, Delavan-Darien School District, News Releases | Leave a comment

DDHS Orchestra takes in NOLA music scene

The DDHS Orchestra plays a concert on the riverside docks near the New Orleans French Quarter. Click pic for many more images in our gallery.

Thirty-six members of the Delavan-Darien High School Orchestra participated in a performance, culture and history tour of New Orleans, Louisiana.

The April 9-13 trip to one of America’s most musical cities was packed chock full of activities.

After their arrival, the students cruised the Mississippi River on a steam-powered paddlewheel boat while listening to the “Dukes of Dixieland.

On April 10, students participated in a music workshop at Loyola University with noted conductor and educator Jean Montès, Ph.D. Montes is the director of orchestral studies and coordinator of strings at Loyola University – New Orleans. There, he conducts orchestral ensembles and teaches conducting and string pedagogy courses for music education majors.

An accomplished conductor, educator, clinician, lecturer, and performer, he is passionate about challenging and stimulating audiences and musicians alike. In addition to his responsibilities at Loyola University, Montès is the Artistic Director of The Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestras (GNOYO) where he conducts the Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Montès is very connected to his place of birth, Haiti, but was also thrilled to work with students from Wisconsin. He lived and taught in the Appleton area for a number of years. That is also where he met his wife.

After the workshop, the students ate lunch a local favorite seafood restaurant for catfish, jambalaya and bread pudding. They then toured the beautiful Oak Alley Plantation and performed concert there for the many visitors and tourists.

“It was exciting to perform “Ashokan Farewell”, a piece written for a miniseries about the Civil War set at a Southern Plantation,” said DDHS Orchestra Director Jennifer Bayerl.

DDHS violin player Aaron Wojciechowski performed a solo with the orchestra during that work.

Following the concert and a swamp tour, where students got to hold a baby alligator, the day ended with a big dinner of more Southern favorites at Mulate’s Live Cajun Music Restaurant.

On Friday, the DDHS Orchestra put on a jazz concert at the Natchez Dock on the Mississippi River in the French Quarter as a festival was about to begin.

The students then toured the French Quarter of New Orleans, a city known as the birthplace of jazz, and watched and listened to many of the street music performers.

The tour was during the midst of the French Quarter Festival, which is truly a celebration of New Orleans music.

After dinner the orchestra headed out to attend a concert of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, which played a variety of works, from a piece composed by one of the orchestra’s members, to a movement from Bernstein’s “West Side Story,” to a Mexican “Mambo” composed by Carlos Miguel Prieto, the conductor of the Mexican National Symphony.

On the last full day of the trip, students visited the World War II Museum and watched the 4D film by Tom Hanks “Beyond All Boundaries.” They also toured the Audubon Aquarium and returned for the French Quarter Festival for more music, shopping and dining.

About the trips: Each year, students involved in music at DDHS take trips to national music scenes to study the craft of making music. Trips rotate each year between the DDHS Orchestra, DDHS Band and DDHS Choirs. Students and families do fundraising for the trips, which have taken them across the country, from the jazz scenes of New Orleans to the world-renowned classical music venue Carnegie Hall in the heart of New York City.

Posted in Delavan-Darien School District, Delavan-Darien High School, Photo Galleries | 1 Comment

Phoenix Celebrates Students of the Month

Click pic for more images in our gallery.

In an effort to bring more positive energy and a splash of color to Phoenix Middle School, teachers and administrators decided to bring back Students of the Month awards.

Except this year, the prize comes with a pretty solid catch. Student winners will have their hand prints become a part of school history.

Phoenix Art Teacher Hugh Petersen suggested painting drop-ceiling tiles and having students add their own paint hand print to them with a signature. The tiles will be put up in the school to recognize and honor those students who have demonstrated living by The Comet Code — by being safe, responsible, respectful and by being a learner.

Students are nominated for the awards by their teachers. There are winners for each grade level and two winners from the allied arts team of teachers. Those students can be from any grade.

The unveiling of the first painted tiles was done at a special celebration Wednesday, April 16, in the school auditorium.

Principal Mark Weerts told the crowd, which consisted of staff, students and students’ family and friends, about the honor it is to have students recognized for the award.

Winning Student of the Month thus far through the 2013-14 school year are:

October: sixth grade: Carlos Bernal and Heather Ream; seventh grade: Lindsey VanDeBogert and Rigoberto Nova;  eighth grade: Claudia Zuniga and Drinton Ademi; allied arts: Astrid Perez, Daisy Echeverria.

November: sixth grade: Ian Karcher and Gaby Montelongo; seventh grade: Arianna Mendolia and Sean Seitz; eighth grade: Suleimy Perez and Hugo Valadez; allied arts: Maria Perez and Oliver Hetzel.

December: sixth grade: Freddy Karblean and Katilin Kraayeveld; seventh grade: sydney Anderson and Knick Ostrander; eighth grade: Erin Sorg and Guillermo DeLaCruz; allied arts: Taylor Ritchey and Xander Rosencranz.

January: sixth grade: Haley Fuss-Mueller and Ben Butke; seventh grade: Maddie Andreoni and Ben Acheson; eighth grade: Racheal Bradley and Drinton Ademi; allied arts: Caleb Reshkus and Alisandr Sanchez.

February: sixth grade: Jordane Torres-Raby and Yadira Rizo; seventh grade: Elizabeth Sirkman and Leroy Gloria; eighth grade: Israel Jaimes and Erika Colorado; allied arts: Frederick Krablean and Isaac Castillo Cano.

March: sixth grade: Wayne Minkler and Karina Torres; seventh grade: Jorja Moore and Will Holmes; eighth grade: Lizbeth Huerta and Hector Padilla; allied arts: Alexa Plomares and Kevin Aguilar.

April (to date): sixth grade: Ivan Aranda and Michelle Huerta; eighth grade: Abi Perez; allied arts: Katlynn Anditon.

Congratulations to the Phoenix Middle School Students of the Month Winners!

Posted in Delavan-Darien School District, News Releases, Phoenix Middle School, Photo Galleries | Leave a comment

Youth Apprenticeship Program coming back to DDHS

YALogoDELAVAN — The Delavan-Darien School District is working to revive a challenging and rewarding learning option for its high school students looking to explore career interests or get a jump on entering the workforce — the Youth Apprenticeship Program.

The high school will be working with area technical colleges and businesses this coming school year to give junior and senior students options to receive school credit for paid on-the-job work experience.

“We’re tremendously excited to bring this program back to DDHS,” said Cindy Yager, coordinator of careers and occupations for the district. “This program fits perfectly within our district’s strategic plan, which focuses greatly on student transitions to college and careers. It will also help our schools build and strengthen partnerships with area employers and post-secondary institutions, which will result in further benefits for our students and community.”

Students in the Youth Apprenticeship program will have to take courses related to the work they’re doing, and meet minimum hourly on-the-job requirements to receive credit. They can have these at-work, hands-on-learning opportunities during approved portions of school days (including before, during and after school), on weekends and over summer.

Students can take classes at DDHS or, in some cases, through technical colleges, where college credit can often be earned before high school graduation.

The youth apprenticeship positions are also paid and students can use the experience to receive certifications in some of the career pathways, such as in automotive, welding, food service and other industries.

Students can participate in Youth Apprenticeship in the following career pathways: agricultural science, food science, natural resources, architecture and construction, arts, audio/video technology, communications, finance, health science, hospitality/tourism, information technology, manufacturing, engineering, transportation and logistics.

The program is expected to start this fall. There will be two levels of the program. The one-year program requires a minimum 450 hours of work-based learning and two semesters of related classroom instruction. A two-year program requires four semesters of related classroom instruction and a minimum 900 hours of work-based learning.

Students can start the program in June following their sophomore or junior year.


Business Partners Sought

To make the Youth Apprenticeship program even more viable for DDHS students by offering more career options, Walworth County and Rock County business and corporate partners are currently being sought to partner with the school. Business partners can “grow their own” employees and create their own sustainable pipeline of skilled and trained employees. This can be an excellent opportunity and partnership for businesses, the community and Delavan-Darien Schools.

For further information about the program and becoming a Youth Apprenticeship partner with the Delavan-Darien School District, contact Cindy Yager at (262) 728-2642 ext. 4420, or via email at cyager@ddschools.org.


Posted in Delavan-Darien High School, Delavan-Darien School District, News Releases, Technical Education | Leave a comment

Congressman Paul Ryan visits DDHS

Click for more images in our gallery.

From P90X workouts to federal deficits, Delavan-Darien High School students had a range of questions for their First District Congressman Paul Ryan, a former vice presidential candidate.

Ryan was invited to visit the school earlier this year when students in the Advanced Placement Government and Politics class was discussing the federal deficit. Ryan’s schedule allowed for a visit this Monday, April 14.

About 100 students from various social studies classes at DDHS stopped into the auditorium to ask questions and hear answers in a town hall-style meeting.

Ryan spoke about the country’s federal deficit, a bipartisan budget bill he helped author, his run for the VP seat in 2012, how he became a congressman and more, including his love for the P90X workout series (chest and back is his favorite workout).

The Janesville Gazette has a recap here (subscription required). 

Ryan did say he’s still up in the air on a question a lot of U.S. residents are wondering — is he considering a run at the presidency in 2016? 

“I don’t know. I’ve still got time to figure it out,” he said, noting that his family will play a huge role in his decision.

Ryan, who was visiting DDHS for the first time since 2006, also said the most gratifying part of the job is when he gets to help people. He spoke of an example where is office helped a resident cut through bureaucratic “red tape” to get a life-saving pacemaker that wasn’t yet approved for use in the United States.

Posted in Delavan-Darien High School, Delavan-Darien School District, Media Coverage, Photo Galleries | Leave a comment

REMINDER: 4K, Kindergarten Registration Day is Wednesday


DELAVAN — Parents and young students wishing to be a part of something amazing should keep their calendars open on Wednesday, April 16, 2014.

That’s when the Delavan-Darien School District is holding is preschool and kindergarten registration. Child Development Day is also occurring April 16 (see details below).

Parents in the district can register their children — who are not already Delavan-Darien students — between 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., or between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 16, at Phoenix Middle School (414 Beloit St., Delavan). During this time, parents will complete paperwork and children present will participate in a kindergarten readiness screening.

“A new school year brings the excitement of learning, growth and change to children, and adults alike,” said Pupil Services Director Sara Halberg. “Teachers, principals and all of us who support learning are committed to do all that we can to make the upcoming school year a successful one for your child.”

Delavan-Darien schools have been experiencing much change and success over the last several years. The district now has new reading and math curricula for all three elementary schools and Phoenix Middle School, a one-to-one technology program for all students (the only such district-wide program in the county) and a new dual-language immersion program starting in the 2014-15 school year (also the only school district in the county with such a program). The district was also just recognized by the National Association of Music Merchants as one of the best in the country for music education.

All parents with children who will be age 4 or 5 by Sept. 1, 2014, and who are not currently enrolled in Delavan-Darien schools, should plan to attend the enrollment day event if possible.

Parents and guardians should bring:

  •       Students’ Birth Certificate or Passport
  •       Proof of Residency (i.e. utility or cable bill, lease agreement, mortgage payment)
  •       Parent/Guardian Photo Identification
  •       Child’s Immunization Record (if available)
  •       Completed Enrollment Form (available at: www.ddschools.org/programs/kindergarten_enrollment)

The district’s kindergarten program meets full school days, Monday through Friday. The new English/Spanish dual-language immersion program option will also available for kindergarteners (space permitting).

Preschool students have several options, including:

  •       A morning, 5-day Dual-Language Immersion program at Turtle Creek (space permitting);
  •       An afternoon 5-day program at Turtle Creek;
  •       Two full days a week (Mondays and Thursdays or Tuesdays and Fridays) and one Wednesday per month at the child’s neighborhood school.

Enrollment appointments are preferred, but not required. To schedule an appointment call:

  •       262-728-2642 extension 4805 for English
  •       262-728-2642 extension 4592 for Spanish


Child Development Day

Delavan-Darien area parents of young children, age birth to 4, will have an opportunity to learn more about child development – what’s typical and what’s not – during Delavan Community’s Child Development Day.

The event will run concurrently with preschool and kindergarten registration: between 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., and between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 16, at Phoenix Middle School (414 Beloit St., Delavan).

The Delavan Darien School District, in conjunction with the Preschool Community Collaboration Council, is sponsoring this free child development screening day.

Child Development Day will provide families with the opportunity to learn more about the level of their child’s development, the services available for families of young children, and normal child growth and development from birth to age five. The screening will focus on children from birth to 4-years-old. All parents of children in that age group are urged to attend.

To schedule an appointment please call:

  •       262-728-2642 extension 4805 for English
  •       262-728-2642 extension 4592 for Spanish


Posted in Darien Elementary School, Delavan-Darien High School, Delavan-Darien School District, News Releases, Phoenix Middle School, Turtle Creek Elementary School, Wileman Elementary School | Leave a comment

Phoenix students take learning to D.C.

Phoenix students outside our nation’s Capitol building. Click pic for more images in our gallery.

Eleven Phoenix Middle School seventh and eighth graders, along with teachers Jess Rima and Shaina Sepulveda, took headed to Washington D.C. recently to learn about our nation’s history.  

The students and teachers also had the opportunity to visit Williamsburg and Jamestown to see where British colonization began in the Americas.

The group visited the U.S. Capitol, the White House, Ford’s Theatre, Arlington Cemetery, as well as several memorials, monuments, and museums, including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum where they met a survivor of the Holocaust.

Students held a variety of fundraisers prior to the trip east to help pay for it.

What a great learning adventure for all who went!

Posted in Delavan-Darien School District, News Releases, Phoenix Middle School, Photo Galleries | Leave a comment

DDHS Grads present research at national conference

Daniel Gissing (right) and his research partner xxxxx show their research poster at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Click to enlarge.

Daniel Gissing (right) and his research partner Jenalee Grabowski show their research poster at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Click to enlarge.

Delavan-Darien High School Graduates Daniel Gissing (Class of 2010) and Michael Olson (Class of 2011) were among 3,000-plus college students to present research at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

The conference was held APril 3-5 at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

Gissing is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He and another student presented a research poster, “The Impact of a Citation on Under Age Drinking Behaviors.” His abstract is below:

Jenalee Grabowski and Daniel Gissing- Co-Authors

Underage drinking is a common part of the college culture and involves consequences such as underage drinking citations. Taking a more critical look into this topic is important because the prevalence of underage drinking remains high and current intervention methods have not been proven to be effective (Spoth, Greenburg & Turrisi, 2009). The purpose of this study was to answer the central research question: “How does receiving an underage drinking citation affect the future drinking behaviors in college students related to gender?” We investigated attitudes about underage drinking by surveying 100 male and female college freshmen at a Midwestern college. It was hypothesized that males would be less likely to change their behaviors of drinking if they received a citation. This hypothesis was informed by the literature and using the Social Exchange theory. Social Exchange Theory suggests that individuals make behavioral decisions based on a cost-benefit evaluation (Moore & Asay, 2013). Quantitative survey data was statistically analyzed using frequencies, cross-tabulations, mean comparisons, independent t-tests, and a reliability analysis. We found support for our hypothesis in that while compared to females, males were approximately 20% less likely to see an underage drinking citation as a deterrent for them to continue drinking underage. Implications for practitioners include that it cannot be fully assumed that males will change their drinking behaviors after receiving a citation, therefore underage drinking may need to be handled differently between genders. Future research would benefit from a large, randomized national sample and a mixed methods approach to include the qualitative lived experience of the participants.


Olson is a student at UW-Whitewater. His work was titled “Localization Studies of Uncharacterized Mitochondrial Protein SLOWMO1.” His abstract on his research is below:

Author: Michael Olson

Mitochondria are the eukaryotic organelles most commonly known for their primary function of energy conversion. In order to better understand the potential causes and possible treatments of diseases related to mitochondrial dysfunctions, the function of mitochondrial proteins must be better understood. More than 1000 of the proteins believed to reside in human mitochondria have yet to be studied. With direction from the MitoCarta Compendium (a database of genes with high likelihood of being mitochondrial) we have cloned the cDNA encoding the unstudied putative mitochondrial membrane transport protein SLOWMO1. The cloned cDNA was inserted into an expression vector containing the immunofluorescent tag (GFP) allowing visualization of the protein expressed inside living cells. After confirming mitochondrial location we will manipulate expression (over-express/knock down) of the encoded protein to gather functional information. Any new information gathered about these proteins will aid in more fully understanding mitochondrial functions and may help lead to disease prevention or treatment.

For more information on the national conference, visit its website.

Posted in Delavan-Darien High School, Delavan-Darien School District, News Releases | Leave a comment

ALUMNI NOTES: Graduate publishes young adult fantasy novel

Click for Amazon.com listing of the book.

Click for Amazon.com listing of the book.

In a dramatic, teen fantasy adventure reminiscent of Eoin Colfer’s book series, Artemis Fowl, and J.K. Rowling’s immensely popular Harry Potter series, Delavan native Max Timm gives readers a new bent on a fairy story and delivers a hero to rival Disney’s Tinkerbell. In an attempt to bring the traditional fairy to the teenage market, Timm has created a fantastical world and a new system for making wishes in his debut novel, The WishKeeper.

A Delavan-Darien High School graduate (Class of ’97), Timm spent his formative years in Delavan primarily as an athlete, but while attending Holy Cross College at Notre Dame, Timm discovered a love of the arts and creative writing. He transferred to Columbia College Chicago and focused on screenwriting and film producing. Timm looked back on his Mid-western upbringing and considered just how many granted wishes propelled him to his current location.


Max Timm, DDHS Class of '97

Max Timm, DDHS Class of ’97

“The amount of people who helped me throughout my childhood, either voluntarily or involuntarily, is immense,” Timm said. “I began thinking of them as my ‘wishkeepers’ and how each subtle or not-so-subtle attempt to support me truly made me into who I am today. The word eventually stuck.”

The WishKeeper is the result of over eight years of work in which he created a new system of making wishes where everyone is assigned a kind of fairy called a WishKeeper.

While The WishKeeper centers around a fantasy world and, in particular, one rebellious little fairy with broken wings, the themes and morals of the book are still quite human in nature.

From the Back Cover:

The fate of your wishes rests on the back of a broken-winged fairy, but Shea Evenstar is no ordinary pixie. She wants to be a WishKeeper. When her parents destroyed a True Love Wish, the explosion shredded her wings, leaving her handicapped and the only fairy that can’t fly. 

Now sixteen, angry, resentful and determined, Shea sets out to grant a True Love Wish and prove that she can be the WishKeeper she always dreamed to be…no matter the consequence.

Timm also stretches the limits of the young adult book genre. As the acclaimed Kirkus Reviews stated in their review, “Timm takes some risks, too, by navigating the relatively uncharted territory of lesbian love in young adult fiction via Avery…he takes on the fantasy gamut with finesse…”

Inspiring and heart-felt, The WishKeeper is a page-turner that grips a reader’s emotions well beyond what might be expected from a fairy story.


“Timm masterminds a fantastical setting… Parents will appreciate the book’s inspiring message and the courage it might stir in young readers. An action-packed, dramatic tale with a nonstandard relationship and a winning message.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A classic basis of a fairy tale and adds a twist…angry, resentful teenagers aren’t usually in fairy tales. This is a Tinkerbell for big girls.”

About The Author:

Max Timm is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Film Writing and Producing. He was the Director of Development at the acclaimed Writers Boot Camp in Santa Monica, CA, for more than six years, as well as a screenwriting instructor. His debut novel, The WishKeeper, has sold more than 8,000 copies in less than six months. Residing in Los Angeles, he is currently working on book two of the series.

Posted in Darien Elementary School, Delavan-Darien High School, Delavan-Darien School District, News Releases, Phoenix Middle School, Turtle Creek Elementary School, Wileman Elementary School | Leave a comment

Ten Phoenix Middle School students win in Junior Duck Stamp Contest

DELAVAN — Phoenix Middle School students were once again well represented in the Wisconsin Federal Junior Duck Stamp artwork contest.

Ten students had their artwork selected as award-winners, including:

  • Teyha Lebow, first place, eighth grade;
  • Oscar Garcia, second place, sixth grade;
  • Rachael Bradley, third place, eighth grade;
  • Eduardo Arredondo, eighth grade, honorable mention;
  • Cassandra Cantrell, eighth grade, honorable mention;
  • Rachel DeBow, eighth grade, honorable mention;
  • Anai Fonseca, eighth grade, honorable mention;
  • Erin Sorg, eighth grade, honorable mention;
  • Gabriela Montelongo, sixth grade, honorable mention;
  • Taylor Ritchey, sixth grade, honorable mention.

Statewide, there were nearly 400 entries submitted from students in kindergarten through grade 12 from schools throughout Wisconsin. All 10 of the Phoenix Middle School winners are taught by Phoenix art teacher Hugh Petersen.

Students will have their artwork posted on the Federal Junior Duck Stamp website gallery, and on the organization’s social media pages. The top 36 winning entries will be showcased in two traveling displays across the state from May 2014 through March 2015.

The local award-winners will also be invited to an awards banquet later this year and receive ribbon awards and prizes for their work.

This annual contest was created more than two decades ago to raise awareness and appreciation for wetlands and waterfowl conservation for students in grades K-12.  It is modeled after the Federal Duck Stamp Contest for adult artists. Students create original artwork showing North American ducks, geese, or swans in their natural habitats. First, second, third, and honorable mention awards are given out in four age categories.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service selects a “best of show” piece, which is then produced as a pictorial $5 stamp to recognize the conservation efforts of young people and to support environmental and conservation education programs in the U.S.

The Wisconsin Federal Junior Duck Stamp contest is sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge; Friends of Necedah National Wildlife Refuge; Friends of Horicon National Wildlife Refuge; and the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association.

Posted in Delavan-Darien School District, News Releases, Phoenix Middle School, Photo Galleries | Leave a comment