Dover High School seniors were the first to hear Principal Eugene Montaño and his staff lay down the law for the 2011-2012 school year during the early morning assembly Friday for the first day of school.


Dover High School seniors were the first to hear Principal Eugene Montaño and his staff lay down the law for the 2011-2012 school year during the early morning assembly Friday for the first day of school.

Montaño reminded seniors that they have to pass a math minimum of algebra II, no easy task, and they must earn 24 credits total in order to graduate.

“I hope you had a good summer. Because if you didn’t, it’s over,” Montaño said. “Not that long from now, 185 or so days, you’re going to be walking across the stage in a blue or white cap and gown. That’s my expectation of you.

“Some students think senior year is an easy year,” he said. “You can lose sight of graduation. That’s the only reason why you’re here. Graduation will help you earn twice as much as a dropout.”

It’s not only important to Montaño that seniors graduate. He also wants to move the school from the state and federal rating of “under improvement” to “commendable or higher.” Those are set by Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System scores.

The class of 2012 began with 500 students. That is down to 340, Montaño said.

“The idea is we don’t want to lose any of you,” he said. “We can help you. We have guidance counselors, psychologists and other adults to help you graduate on time.”

Assistant Principal Courtney Voshell put it bluntly.

“Nobody wants to be the class of 2012 ½, right?” Voshell said. “They don’t reprint the invitations for families. So, we all want to be out of here in June.”

Attendance is crucial to maintaining privileges like parking spaces and attendance of football games, homecoming and the prom, she said. Students must show up for 95 percent of school days and must not miss test days or Fridays.

“If you are absent more than two times in a week for some mysterious reason, you can’t come to the football game or any event for the following week,” she said. “This is your last first day in the Capital School District. You need to be here.”

As for the dress code, Dover High School resource specialist Nyia McCants and Assistant Principal Kevin Turner reminded students about Dover High’s dress code. For young men, they must follow the universal rule of no hats in the building and their boxers cannot be showing, among other things.

As for young ladies, shorts and skirts must come down to their fingertips when their hands are at their sides, she said. Their bras must not be showing, no cleavage should be showing and see-through tops are not allowed. And they can’t wear leggings with just a shirt. But they are acceptable if they wear a sweater dress or skirt long enough to reach their fingertips.

For everyone, no one can wear vulgar shirts such as T-shirts that say “I love beer,” they cannot come to school in their pajamas and no one can have their cell phones showing, McCants added.

Dover High also has a pilot program that allows students to listen to music or play games on their electronic equipment during the half hour that they have for lunch, she said. But they cannot make phone calls and they cannot take videos. She urged them not to abuse this pilot program, which would be discontinued if they blew it.

Students took the lessons in stride on their first day back. They just want to graduate.

“They say the same thing every year,” senior Cody Poliseno said. “Hopefully, it works out.”

“For me, we’re starting with a fresh, clean slate,” senior Mia Harper said.