Wilmington High School: the time has come

 Wilmington High School as it appeared in the 1940s. (photo courtesy Delaware Public Archives)

Wilmington High School as it appeared in the 1940s. (photo courtesy Delaware Public Archives)

Wilmington High School disappeared over 30 years ago.  John Watson is among those who believes it’s time for a return.

Here is John Watson’s commentary:

The idea of a Wilmington High School is growing.  So much so that Delaware Department of Education Secretary Mark Murphy and his crew will have to support the idea.

The champion of this effort is Glasgow Democrat, Representative Earl Jacques. He’s the chairman of the House Education Committee. He’s also the one who told members of the General Assembly Bond Bill Committee to get on board with the idea, the News Journal reports. Jacques argument is as long as there are students needing education in the state’s largest city, then financial planning for a new high school has to begin sooner than later.

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“It’s time to resurrect Wilmington High School, the Red Devils, those children deserve it, their parents deserve it, and we need it to move forward,” Jacques said.

This effort is also moving forward through the work of the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee, created with the purpose improving the education situation for students who live in the city limits.

Jacques says lawmakers should make the funds available, adding that Wilmington High School should be state-of-the-art, comparable to the new Dover High School. He went on to say, “We need to put money aside. I don’t know if it will be $50,000, $100,000, or $1,000,000, but we need to start thinking this way.” It’s obvious that Jacques is in the leadership position on the project.

There are those who think having a Wilmington High School will result in pulling the Christiana and Colonial School Districts out of the city, and moving them into the Red Clay District

However, there is support from many corners. I personally think it’s about time we stop talking about it and start changing the situation where Wilmington students, very early in the morning, must take school buses to these suburban schools, where they often feel uneasy dealing with students they have no other contact with, except at school.

There is every reason to believe it will be done.  It not only has Jacques’ legislative support, but also Senator David Sokola, who chairs the Senate Education Committee. Another interesting ally of the plan is Dover Senator Colin Bonini.  It’s reported he wants more facts before his full support of the idea, but he does think that overall it’s a good idea. Then the final piece of support might come in form of Bank of America executive, Tony Allen.

It’s no surprise to me that the Delaware Department of Education Secretary Mark Murphy said no proper channels have been planned for a new high school in Wilmington, but the good news is state education officials seem to be fully behind the program. The belief is a high school in Wilmington could bring the community together.

Dr. Mark Holodick, superintendent of the Brandywine School District, said it could become more than just a high school. It could become a hub, offering programming and resources for adults.

Delaware Education Association President Fredrika Jenner said, “It’s a major part of what we would have to do to create an overall successful program for the students in Wilmington.”  She added, “I think it will have an impact on community relations, gun violence, and if we can get kids to think about their future in a different way, and in a way that is tied to their education, I just think that would be extraordinary.”

This issue has been around for a long time.  It just makes sense that now is the time to get this done.


John Watson is a long time Wilmington radio talk show host and observer of events in Wilmington and Delaware.  You can write him: JohnWatson1506@comcast.net



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