Carver Academy makes history with turkeys and ballots

Some students in Frankford had something in common with Egyptians this week: both recently held their first elections at the end of November. While G.W. Carver Academy’s elections did not stem from political revolution, a new student council lets students step into positions of responsibility within the school.

Coastal Point •  Laura Walter: Student council leaders Jarel Moore, left, and Jonathan Mercado, right, prepare to take home free turkeys and Thanksgiving dinners given annually to all G.W. Carver Academy students.Coastal Point • Laura Walter
Student council leaders Jarel Moore, left, and Jonathan Mercado, right, prepare to take home free turkeys and Thanksgiving dinners given annually to all G.W. Carver Academy students.

New student council President Jonathan Mercado, a senior, and Vice President Jarel Moore, a junior, both said they hesitated to run for office, but they appeared confident when their names were announced over the loudspeaker system on Nov. 22 as winners in the voting.

“I know we’ve got a lot to say,” said Mercado.

“I think I know my way around this school,” said Moore. “You need someone who’s capable and knows what they’re doing.”

Mercado said he thought all the candidates did a great job, and he thinks everyone can make a difference.

“It’s basically history,” Mercado said. “We’re first to be part of the student government here, plus it’s Thanksgiving, too.”

As the new student council was announced, students were also lining up for G.W. Carver’s 10th annual Turkey Drive. Each of the school’s 55 students received a free Thanksgiving turkey, and 20 also took home all of the trimmings, from potatoes to cranberry sauce.

Mercado and Moore said they were looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with their families, but they recognized that holidays can be tough.

“Some kids don’t have [anything], and when they get this, it’s like they have everything,” Mercado said.

All Carver Academy students receive turkeys at Thanksgiving, as well as clothing and other gifts at Christmastime. The tradition of giving began at the Richard Allen School in Georgetown, predecessor of G.W. Carver Academy.

Walter Smith, assistant principal, noticed holidays seemed to be a sad time for some students, so the teachers decided turkeys could help brighten the season for their families. The teachers and staff regularly work together to help the children and their families.

“When you show a kid you care, you change that life,” Smith said.

Math teacher Page Lyons said many parents are appreciative of their efforts and say they wouldn’t be able to celebrate Thanksgiving to the fullest without the school’s help.

“Our parents appreciate it without even saying it,” Smith said. “You know you did something good.”

This shows the students that “they all have a voice” and gives a goal to which they can aspire, Smith said.

The new student council includes a treasurer, Anthony Wilkerson, a junior; secretary, Branden Smith, a junior; historian, Joey Boocock, a fourth-grader; and other classroom representatives.

“It’s all about making progress,” Smith said. “That’s what we try to do each and every year.”

The G.W. Carver Academy opened in 2010 in the former Frankford Elementary School building. It was a building year, as students and staff got used to the school, which was still under renovation. This year, more renovations led to a new gymnasium, lockers and nurse’s office.

“This year’s a good year,” said Moore, who said he felt that every day is special, even alongside a day upon which he had just been named student council vice president.

“It’s a real setting,” said Mercado. “I look forward to coming to school each day.”

Funding for the G.W. Carver Turkey Drive comes from community partners, including Dagsboro Church of God, Mountaire Farms in Selbyville, State Reps. Gerald Hocker and Ruth Briggs King, Mr. Green of Lower Sussex Transportation and Jane Hovington.

“It’s nice to go out your way [for people] you don’t actually know,” Mercado said.