I Love Lake Forest Day scheduled for Oct. 26

I Love Lake Forest Day is a tradition handed down from year to year by generations of local families. This year there’s a bonus — the school district is celebrating a milestone anniversary.

“It is our 50th anniversary celebration as a district this year,” Jessica I. Piccolo of the superintendent’s office said. “[The event] is well loved by the community and they show it through participation. We receive rave reviews from a variety of the participants. In the past, we have usually had around 1,500 attendees.”

I Love Lake Forest Day will be held Saturday, Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Lake Forest High School in Felton.

To help mark the district’s 50th anniversary, T-shirts and other commemorative items will be on sale. Lake Forest High School yearbooks will also be on sale, she added.

“This year our FFA [Future Farmers of America] will have a petting zoo, corn maze and tractor rides. There will be bounce houses and miniature pony rides as well. The Delaware State Police will have their Clydesdale horses and a K-9 demonstration. We will have a Touch-a-Truck event with dump trucks, fire trucks, motorcycles, helicopters and more that children can look at, walk through and sit in. Jungle John will be presenting a Halloween Safety Show.

“We will have numerous vendors with items for purchase including our school clubs, PTO/PTAs and outside businesses. The Chorus groups from all our schools will be performing in the auditorium and each school will also have a curriculum table set up so families can see the content their children are learning. There will be display boards set up with student artwork. Grottos Pizza, Felton Ice Cream and Chick fil A will all have their trucks at the event with food available for purchase. And much more.”

To top off the day, the aquatic center will receive a new name.

“At 10:15 a.m., we will be dedicating the Lake Forest High School Pool in honor of the late Dennis A. Davis,” Ms. Piccolo added.

Mr. Davis became a regular to the swimming community after joining Lake Forest High School as a physical education teacher in July 1983. He served as a swim coach for students and the community at large. He also worked as the aquatics director for the school district for a time before passing away July 27 last year.

“Coach Davis, as he liked to be called, had a huge impact on the swim community. He grew the Lake Forest Community Swim Team to over 100 swimmers involving families from Lake Forest communities, as well as other school districts in Kent and Sussex Counties. He offered the only downstate diving program for high school athletes and pioneered for high school aquatics in Kent and Sussex Counties,” Ms. Piccolo said.

He went on to teach and certify hundreds of students as they became lifeguards around the state of Delaware. He initiated Senior Citizens’ Aqua Aerobics, Ms. Piccolo added, and offered swim classes to local youth organizations. Coach Davis was also known for hosting the Delaware State Police scuba teams for training and opened the pool for Special Olympic competitions, helping Lake Forest High School earn the Delaware Special Olympics Outstanding School Award in 1990.

Coach Davis’ commitment to fitness, Lake Forest School District and the local swimming community had such an impact that a petition signed by hundreds of community members was presented to the Lake Forest Board of Education by Sue Ellen Dennis requesting that the pool area be renamed in honor of Coach Davis.

“That alone speaks volumes as to the impact he had on the Lake Forest Community,” Ms. Piccolo said. “After discussion, consideration and following policy, the Board unanimously voted to rename the Pool Area to the ‘Dennis A. Davis Aquatic Center’ at the Aug. 22, 2019 board meeting.”

The aquatics center, located inside Lake Forest High School, continues to be utilized on a daily basis throughout the year to not just students, but the community at-large. Although the ceremony during I Love Lake Forest Day is simply a renaming and dedication ceremony, the pool has received numerous upgrades and renovations over the past few years including all new lighting, pool filtration and HVAC system. The pool was also repainted.

“This event and a lot of the events for the 50th anniversary are funded solely with donations we have received from the community. We are thankful each year to those that donate year after year. Including Lake Forest Band Boosters, Chick’s Harness & Supply, Pippin Funeral Home and Mausoleums & Monuments, Felton Holly Kia, Scott’s Furniture of Bridgeville, Best Ace Hardware, Berry Short Funeral Home, L&W Insurance, Melvin Funeral Home, Frederica Pizza & Pasta House, Representative Shannon Morris, VFW Ruritan, BRS Consulting, Inc. and many more,” Ms. Piccolo added. “The District feels it is important that we build relationships within our community.
Partnerships with families, communities and businesses is goal two of our strategic plan. Without community support, events like these would not be successful.”

Reach staff writer Jennifer Antonik at jantonik@newszap.com

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