With their future home, the Centreville Armory, standing next door and beckoning the future, the students, staff, Trustees, families and friends of Wye River Upper School gathered in Donaldson Hall at St. Paul’s Church in Centreville MD to celebrate the school’s past, and first major milestone, ten years of service to the youth of the region.
Wye River Upper School is an independent college preparatory school, educating bright high school students with learning differences and those that may benefit from small class size and innovative instruction.
With introductions from WRUS Chair John Devlin, Executive Director Chrissy Aull shared remarks with the guests. Noting the young school has graduated sixty one young adults from nine Maryland counties east and west of the Chesapeake Bay, Aull prefaced “That number is impressive in that many of our students are those who have not met with success in larger, more traditional schools, despite the fact that they are bright, talented, and motivated to succeed. In fact, many come to us on the verge of dropping out. Not only do they graduate, our seniors have been accepted to over twenty different colleges and post secondary programs, ” Aull stated.
The significance of her remarks was not lost on the guests, as spontaneous applause noted.
“While we gather to celebrate the wonderful stories we have generated here these past ten years, it is the future of this young school that now takes priority and deserves our collective focus and support,” remarked Aull, referring to the Armory
Aull introduced special guests beginning with Stuart Bounds, President of the Mid Shore Community Foundation. Bounds recalled the opening of the school in 2002, on the campus of Chesapeake College, where he served as President. “I was admittedly concerned about the daily presence of a younger age group on the campus of college students. It turns out my concerns were unfounded as the students were stellar in conduct and participation within the college culture. The school has been an asset to the college, not simply in a business sense, but in terms of the mission of education that both institutions serve.”
Bounds noted his expectation that Barbara Viniar, current President of Chesapeake College would support that statement.
Richard Sossi attended as a representative of Congressman Andy Harris’ and presented the school with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for the school’s anniversary and continuing dedication to educating the area’s youth.
Guests were invited to tour the 1926 Armory, which the school purchased in late 2010. Using funds from the Building Great Minds. Saving Great Spaces campaign to raise capital, hazardous materials have been removed and all designs for the renovation are complete.
“The Armory stands next door and is “shovel ready,” announced Campaign Co- Chair Tom Seip. “We know that students, staff and the Mid-Shore community is eager to see renovations begin. However, the Board of Trustees is wise in their decision not to consider long term financing as an option to complete the project, so we continue our campaign to raise the funds.”
Seip reminded the guests that the work of the larger campaign committee, including Co-Chair Ludwig Eglseder, M.D. had produced impressive results with slightly over half of the five million dollar project having been gifted or pledged. That total includes an $824,000. grant from the Maryland Sustainable Communities Fund, which is payable upon completion of the project.
“We know that the larger community is eager to help us meet this goal and so, plans are underway to take this campaign to a more public level. At the same time we continue to ask the many members of this Eastern Shore community who are able to consider a choice to support our success through gifts to the project.” added Seip.
Centreville Town Council Member Tim McCluskey was one of the evening’s guests. “I can’t think of a project more worthy of our support. Think of all the positives – It’s about educating our youth, repurposing rather than building new footprint and bringing much needed commerce into the community. What more is there?”