On Thursday, May 10, as the cool breeze of a spring evening swept across the parking lot over 100 residents, students and other interested parties turned out for the dedication and ribbon cutting for the new Hanby Elementary School and Bush Early Education Center. Visitors were treated to performances from the Hanby band, chorus, and orchestra prior to the ceremonies.
Dr. Mark Holodick, Superintendent of the Brandywine School District, welcomed everyone to the event and spoke of the groundbreaking nature of the new school building. It is the first LEED Certified school in Delaware. Some of the features Mark pointed out including a gray water collection system, in-slab warming, a highly insulated roof, and the recycling of 95 percent of the materials from the demolition of the previous Hanby Middle School building keeping it out of the landfill. Dr. Holodick also presented certificates thanking Bancroft Construction, Tetra Tech Architects, and John Read, the BSD Facilities Supervisor for their efforts in making the school a reality.
Three fifth grade Hanby students, Lexi Houston, Jane Haracz, and Samantha McCafferty wowed those in attendance with an outstanding rendition of the National Anthem.
State Representative Dennis Williams on behalf of his fellow members of the State House of Representatives, Greg Lavelle, and Debra Hefferman, (who previously was the President of the BSD School Board), presented a resolution and tribute from the House, followed by a Proclamation from County Executive Paul Clark, read by his Chief of State, Dennis Phifer, a resolution from New Castle County Council, presented by Councilmen Bob Weiner, and John Cartier.
I then had the honor of speaking on behalf of the Hanby family and offering my warm regards for the new school. As a member of the Hanby family, I am proud that the residents of Brandywine Hundred voted to keep the Hanby name on the new school. Together with the Bush School this new two schools in one provides a state of the art facility for the roughly 800 students that attend. Brandywine Hundred has a long history of the Hanby name being linked to education. John Hanby, gave land in 1810 for the first “Hanby” School, this one room school served the residents of Brandywine Hundred until the 1930’s when it was closed and consolidated into the Alfred I duPont School.
In the 1960’s when the district needed new schools to provide space for a baby boom of students they brought back the old names giving us Hanby Junior High, Talley, Forwood, and the like. Today, the new Hanby School will house grades K-5. Over these 202 years since the first Hanby School was built, Hanby descendants have continued as students, teachers, and administrators. In 2012, I am proud to be associated with the Brandywine School District and the work they have done to bring the new Hanby Elementary School and Bush Early Education Center into reality. We stand on the shoulders of those ancestors such as John Hanby who built the superstructure of what has become the Brandywine School District. People from throughout the state and nation will come and study this building. It is my firm hope that the current students will be inspired by the innovation that has been used in their new school and after they graduate they come back and make the school district even better for the next generation of students.
Page 2 of 2 - After my remarks, John Skrobot brought greetings on behalf of the school board followed by the two principals, Mrs. Ronnie Wilkie from Hanby, and Mrs. Kris Viar from Bush who offered remarks and thanked for everyone being there for the ribbon cutting.
Then in one of the highlights of the evening two Hanby fifth graders, Madelyn Williams, and Jane Haracz both of whom served on the naming committee. They both offered their thoughts on what the new school means to them. Both of them expressed sadness at leaving Brandywood behind but also great joy at everything they have experienced at the new Hanby. In the end that is what really matters, the district listened to those closest to the action and those end users the students and staff members have nothing but good things to say about their new building.
After the ceremony was over everyone was invited inside where the Hanby Dance group entertained, refreshments were served and Hanby Students provided tours of the new building for the visitors present.
In the end it was clear that in its first “Green” school, the Brandywine School District has set the bar high for new schools in the state and the nation.