We invest in our young people


Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation highlights teacher, student grants

Ellen Driscoll | The Cape Gazette |November 29, 2022

At the Friends of Cape event Nov. 15, Cape Superintendent said the Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation has awarded $248,000 to 355 grant awardees in the last 11 years. ELLEN DRISCOLL PHOTOS

Students and staff shared their personal stories of how grants received from the Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation have broadened their experiences and helped shape their futures at the Friends of Cape members’ event Nov. 15 at Lewes Elementary.

In welcoming attendees to the event and thanking them for their support, Cape Superintendent Bob Fulton said CHEF has awarded $248,000 to 355 grant awardees in the last 11 years.

One of those grant recipients is Cape High band student Zion Hood, who received a CHEF scholarship to attend a summer performing arts program in Maine last summer. Zion said the entire experience was amazing, as he made lifelong friends while playing in weekly concerts. Thanks to CHEF, he said, he will be able to return this coming summer.

Cape Supervisor of Special Programs Eileen Baker said her daughter’s Girl Scout troop also received a grant. Through her position, Baker said she collaborates often with school psychologists and district homeless liaison Craig Warrington, who said about 120 to 140 Cape students are experiencing homelessness, including foster children. 

After Warrington told the scouts about these students, Baker said the troop devised an idea to create birthday bags for them. Bags include Cape T-shirt and stickers, a boxed microwave cake, candles, decorations, notebooks, earbuds and other presents. 

The troop assembled 120 bags this year and delivered them to school social workers to give to students on their birthdays, she said.

Rehoboth Elementary fifth-grade science teacher Jacquie Kisiel said she has held a science fair for 14 years. In 2022, all five elementary schools participated, she said, and CHEF paid for 420 participation ribbons, 420 certificates, 75 medals and 75 trophies to be given to the budding scientists. 

Sussex Consortium Vocational Coordinator Pam Graves said she received a CHEF grant so students could take part in the Southern Delaware Therapeutic Riding program. This year, 15 students have signed up, she said, and they must groom and tack their horses before riding. 

Being able to ride the horses has given students increased feelings of self-esteem and independence, and has improved their balance, muscle strength and range of motion. Horses respond well to nonverbal cues, and many of her students are nonverbal, she said.

“Seeing their joy and smiles is priceless,” she said. 

H.O. Brittingham Elementary teachers and robotics advisors Cathy Ward and Nina Wilkinson introduced fifth-grader Amelia Kennedy, who told guests the H.O.B. robotics team would never have been able to compete in the world competition in Dallas, Texas, without CHEF.

CHEF President Rick Grier-Reynolds said this year’s goal is to give away $40,000 in grants, and it needs help from the community to raise these funds, including by attending the annual Winter Jam in March.

The Friends of Cape program was also announced, in which community members can donate to CHEF in escalating amounts and receive invitations to events, tumblers, tickets to Winter Jam and more.

In the past years, CHEF invested more than $25,000 in underfunded and unfunded programs in math and science, classroom resources for teachers, the arts, diversity and inclusion, and support for homeless and limited income students. 

For more information, go to chef-cape.org.

Members of the Cape High Jazz Band (l-r) Zion Hood, Abby Stinar, Chance Trumbauer, Freddie Giovannitti, Conor Wiedmann and Chris Rude entertained guests.

Led by music teacher Seth Waldron, left, Cape Chorale members (l-r) Zamira Irizarry Fres, Sophia Tighe, Dylenn Enright, Emily Groll, Reilly Fagles-Carey, Brianna Burrell, Seren Vincent and Federico Giovannitti sing a selection of songs, including the Cape High alma mater. The chorus has received CHEF grants for student field trips.



CHEF welcomes new board member Diaz Bonville

The Cape Gazette |October 25, 2022


Diaz J. Bonville


The Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation has elected Diaz J. Bonville to a three-year term on its board of directors.

Bonville serves as president of West Side New Beginnings Inc. and is a co-founder of West Rehoboth Children and Youth Program. He recently retired from the federal government as Sussex and Kent County community outreach coordinator for Delaware Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester.

Bonville is a graduate of Cape Henlopen High School and a graduate of Delaware Technical Community College with a degree in human services administration and program management. He has over 30 years of experience working with potential achievers, and is a recipient of several community service awards and achievements. His volunteer experiences have gained local, state and national media attention.

“Diaz will make a great addition to our board,” said Rick Grier-Reynolds, CHEF president. “He is a community activist who works to improve the lives of those around him, especially young people.”

CHEF has been a nonprofit strategic partner of the Cape Henlopen School District since 2007, providing Cape students in kindergarten through 12th grade with the tools they need to excel in school and life.

To learn more, go to chef-cape-org.



The Cape Gazette |October 7, 2022

CHEF welcomes new board member Maura Johnson


Maura Johnson

The Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation has elected Maura Johnson to a three-year term on its board of directors.

Johnson has been teaching in the Cape Henlopen School District for eight years and was its 2022 Teacher of the Year. She is currently a third-grade teacher at Lewes Elementary School. In 2015, she graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor of science degree in early childhood education.

As a Delaware native and Cape alumna, Johnson always had the dream to move home to the community that inspired her love of education. Johnson loves to stay involved with both her school and community. She is a lighthouse coordinator for the Leader in Me program at Lewes Elementary and was a coach for Girls on the Run for many years. 

"We are extremely pleased to have a former District Teacher of the Year join our board," said Rick Grier-Reynolds, CHEF president. "We look forward to Maura’s assistance in helping us provide educational resources to the students and teachers of the Cape Henlopen School District."

CHEF has been a nonprofit strategic partner of the Cape Henlopen School District since 2007. For the latest information about how CHEF is providing Cape students in kindergarten through 12th grade with the tools they need to excel in school and life, go to chef-cape.org.


CHEF distributes $10,000 worth of donated school supplies

Fifth annual Caravan of Caring visits Cape schools to support students

Shown are (l-r) Bob Kaden, CHEF; Joe Lingo, CHEF; Ashley Reynolds, CHEF; Aleya Tingle, Lefty’s Alley & Eats; and Connie Kaden, CHEF; and a table overflowing with donated supplies for Cape district students. ELLEN DRISCOLL PHOTOS

The Cape Gazette

Ellen Driscoll | August 31, 2022


Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation members delivered more than $10,000 worth of school supplies donated by individuals, businesses and organizations to all Cape schools Aug. 26.                                                                         

CHEF board member Ashley Reynolds said the goal of the supply drive is to ensure teachers’ supply closets are stocked with paper, notebooks, pencils and other items for students from low-income homes who may need them.

Sydney’s Restaurant and Lounge, Lefty’s Alley & Eats and Staples hosted donation drop-off boxes Aug. 1-22. Community members deposited binders, pocket folders, zip drives, composition books, colored pencils, crayons, glue sticks, scissors, earbuds, sanitizer, tissues and more.

Donors included the Lewes Senior Center, Lewes-Rehoboth Rotary Club, Tidewater Federal Credit Union, Cub Scout Pack 1, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, St. Edmond Catholic Church, Diego’s Hideaway, Johnson Orthodontics, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Delaware Order of Redmen and the Reserve at Pilottown homeowners association.

In addition to the $10,000 worth of supplies donated, Reynolds said 200 backpacks full of school supplies will be delivered to schools for students who are experiencing homelessness or who are from low-income homes so they have the supplies they need to get the school year started on the right foot.

Backpacks and supplies were donated by Schell Brothers, the Bellmoor Inn & Spa, Bethany Beach Hotel Suites and Hotel Bethany Beach.

CHEF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that funds teacher grants for unbudgeted classroom projects, support for homeless and limited-income students, STEM initiatives, performing arts education and training, and programs to promote diversity and inclusion. For more information, go to chef-cape.org.

CHEF holds Spring Jam 2022

CHEF board members rally for a picture before the big event. Shown are (l-r) Peter Carter, Rick Grier Reynolds, Joe Lingo, Julie Derrick, Gail Mack, Steph Mastrangelo, Ashley Reynolds, Mark Mazak, Connie Kaden and Calvin Jackson. DAN COOK PHOTOS

The Cape Gazette

Dan Cook | May 26, 2022 

The Cape Henlopen Education Foundation held its Spring Jam 2022 May 20 in a large tent outside of the Virden Center, where attendees enjoyed live music from Blue Label Band, delicious food specialties from local food trucks, libations, dancing and a gift card tree.

“It was great to see everyone out this year,” said CHEF board member Gail Mack. “Last year’s virtual event was a great success, but this year was magical to see the community come out to support our Cape schools.”

Spring Jam serves as the primary funding source for the school district's unfunded or underfunded programs for students. During the past 10 years, CHEF has contributed $209,000 to more than 320 grant awardees.  To view more photos from the event click here. 

For more info on CHEF’s services, go to www.chef-cape.org.





Do More 24 Delaware

Are you looking for a way to help support the Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation (CHEF)?  Well look no further than Do More 24 Delaware, a 24 hour day of giving designed to help nonprofits raise more money and engage new donors.  Do More 24 Delaware starts on March 3, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. and ends on March 4, 2022 at 6:00 p.m.   Visit https://www.domore24delaware.org to get started.  Click on either the “Search” button or the “Find your cause” button and type in Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation.  Click on the heading Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation to be directed to fundraiser website.  From our website, you can set a reminder to donate and learn more about Do More 24 Delaware.  Over the next few days, we’ll be providing information about other incentives such as the Do More 24 Delaware Virtual Benefit Concert, Dine More 24, the Do More 24 Delaware Livestream, and the atTAcK addiction 5K on Saturday, March 5.  Remember the 24 hours of giving starts on March 3, 2022 at 6:00 p.m.


CHEF's Spring Jam Set For May 20th

The Cape Gazette | April 11, 2022

Blue Label Band, shown at Winter Jam 2020, will perform live at the Spirng Jam May 20. Funds raised by CHEF are awarded as grants to support Cape district teachers and students. SUBMITTED PHOTO

The Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation’s signature fundraising event, Winter Jam, is relaunching as Spring Jam, and will be held from 6 to 10 p.m., Friday, May 20, at the Virden Center in Lewes.

All funds raised will benefit educational programs for the more than 6,000 students in the Cape Henlopen School District.

CHEF provides teacher grants for unfunded or underfunded classroom projects, and support for homeless and limited-income students, STEM initiatives, performing arts education, and training and programs to promote diversity and inclusion.

Spring Jam tickets are $30 for Cape Henlopen School District employees and $40 per person for the general public. To purchase tickets, go to chef-cape.org/spring-jam-2022.   Read the entire Cape Gazette article here.

Girl Scouts support Cape classmates and community

The Cape Gazette | March 31, 2022

Girl Scout Troop 701 members filling birthday bags are (left side, front to back) Delia Sparks, Grace Eanes, Ellen Ramsey, Katie Curry, Claudia Stazzone, Madison Handley and Jillian Leach. At right are Kate Dowd, Delaney Huxtable and Mikaela Gordon. Not pictured are Teagan Baker, Zoe Neufeld, Abigail Hoeller and Liza Williams. SUBMITTED PHOTOS


The members of Girl Scout Troop 701 have been caring about the community since they first joined together in 2015, when the girls were in kindergarten at Shields Elementary. While in elementary school, the girls held a fundraiser for Southern Delaware Therapeutic Riding Center in Milton.

For the last two years, they have made desserts for residents of the Lighthouse for Broken Wings. During the pandemic, when local food banks were in need, the girls created a weekly schedule to fill the Lewes library food closet for six months. Not forgetting their furry friends, they also baked homemade dog treats and sewed cage curtains to make adoptable pets more comfortable during their shelter stays.  Read the entire Cape Gazette article here.


Shields Elementary student gives back to district


Shields Elementary fifth-grader Minnie Pettengell, who launched local business Sugar & Scrubs by Minnie in spring 2020, has created a Cape-themed scrub with 10 percent of sales benefitting Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation. ELLEN DRISCOLL PHOTO

October 12, 2021
For one Shields Elementary student, giving back to the community is an integral part of running a business.

Fifth-grader Minnie Pettengell launched Sugar & Scrubs by Minnie in spring 2020, initially to solve her own skin issues – bumps on her arms that couldn’t be soothed with existing products. So, she created her own base scrub she mixes with coconut oil, sugar, Epsom salt, and additional essential and scented oils.

She gave samples to teachers, who loved the products, and then started selling scrubs in a lemonade-stand format outside her home, said mother Brandi Townsend, a fifth-grade teacher at Shields. After positive feedback and strong sales, a business was born.

Minnie said she had to research what mixtures to use so the scrubs could survive heat and shipping, and through trial and error, perfected her recipes.

Read the entire Cape Gazette article here.

CHEF welcomes new board members

The Cape Gazette | February 6, 2022

The Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation has elected community leaders Taryn Burris, Jaime Carter-Houck and Mark Mazak to three-year terms on its board of directors.

Burris graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor of science degree in education and received a master of education degree in special education from the University of Maryland. Burris spent every summer in Lewes with her family since 1980, and she and her husband moved to the area permanently in 2002. They have three children, all attending in the Cape Henlopen School District. In 2005, Taryn opened Kids Cottage in Rehoboth, and in August 2018, she opened Grove & Evelyn in downtown Lewes with friend and business partner Lori Schell. 

Carter-Houck grew up in Sussex County, graduated from Milford High School and went on to earn her bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware. She spent three years living in the Washington, D.C. area before she moved back to the beach to pursue her master’s degree in education. She resides in Rehoboth Beach with her husband Ed and is a mother to four boys who all attend in the Cape district. Carter-Houck has taught for the Cape district as a substitute teacher and a one-on-one para as well as a special education teacher for the Sussex Consortium at Shields Elementary. She also owns and operates Bomshell Boutique Rehoboth, a women’s boutique on Rehoboth Avenue. 

Mazak, who was born and raised in Throop, Pa., has resided in Lewes Beach for the past seven years. He is a proud alumnus of Misericordia University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Mazak worked in educational settings for more than 20 years. Currently, he serves the State of Delaware as a consultant offering virtual online educational solutions, and is employed by Edmentum. He is a 2021 graduate of Leadership Delaware and founder of MJMLeadership.org, which focuses on life coaching.  

Read the entire Cape Gazette article here.