Incredible Kid Awards Presented

BERLIN – Two schools in northern Worcester County are partnering with Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Ocean City to nominate students for Ripley’s Incredible Kid award.

The monthly award recognizes students from Stephen Decatur Middle (SDMS) and Buckingham Elementary schools for their achievements and enlists the help of teachers and counselors to nominate kids for their academic improvement or acts of kindness.

In the month of April, Ripley’s received seven nominations and on May 1 chose SDMS students Kelis Sandifer and Da’Ijah Dickerson as the award’s first winners.

Sandifer won the award for improving her academic status this term in three courses.  Dickerson earned the award for improving in five subjects as well as her outstanding behavior.

Group Sales Manager Audra Ely said she and her husband Brandon, Ripley’s general manager, decided to start a monthly Incredible Kid award after moving to the area from Panama City Beach, Fla., earlier this year to take on new positions at the Ocean City Boardwalk location.

“They work really hard,” she said. “So we want them to be rewarded for doing good.”

Ely said the original intent of the award was to recognize the most improved student, but soon changed the qualifications for a nomination.

“Anything amazing, kind, good is kind of what we are looking for,” she said.

Ely explained that students who are nominated will receive a child’s ticket to Ripley’s and an award to take home. Monthly winners from each grade will be given a family pass in addition to a certificate.

“The idea was to reach out to the kids and let them know because they are doing something good they should be awarded for that,” she said.

Ely explained that she and her husband decided to give out awards and prizes to local students to bolster Ripley’s involvement in the school system and community.

“When we got here, we noticed there wasn’t a lot going on with the schools in the area,” she said. “I am a big believer in schools and good grades and citizenship. So I came up with the award to bring Ripley’s back into the schools.”

Ely added that the goal was to remind residents that Ripley’s supports its community.

“We’re on the Boardwalk but yet forgotten by the locals,” she said. “So we are trying to let them know that we are here and we still care about this community.”

Ely said Ripley’s will continue to give awards each month throughout the school year and hopes to interact with more elementary, middle and high schools.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

Alternative Text

Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.