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During the weekend of Dec. 12, Stetson University graduated 1,022 students in undergraduate and graduate programs in person and virtually. This large number of graduates in the middle of the school year was because graduation was delayed from last spring due to COVID-19. To accommodate social distancing, there were six smaller graduations during the weekend.

During graduation, the 2020 Etter McTeer Turner Award was given to Slavina “Sally” Ancheva. The award honors the graduating senior who achieved the highest standard of excellence in academic performance, leadership and community service. It was established by the family of the late Stetson President J. Ollie Edmunds through their Gualala Foundation that honors Stetson’s first woman dean of students. Ancheva earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science.

The weekend before graduation took place on the Stetson University campus in DeLand, the Stetson University College of Law celebrated three separate commencement ceremonies recognizing the graduating classes of December 2019, May-August 2020 and December 2020. During these three graduations, nearly 300 students received degrees. These graduates volunteered more than 34,000 hours of community service through the Stetson Law pro-bono requirement for graduation.

DeLand High School

The week before the Winter Holiday began, the seniors of DeLand High School selected the superlative students: Evie Meckley and Coby Rhodes as Most Intelligent; Jiya Hastings and Caleb Roberts as Most Athletic; Amari Jackson and Luke Van Bibber as Best-Looking; Sophia Abolfathi and Eduardo Caro-Rivera as Most Likely to Succeed; Dulce Valle and Joshua Whittaker as Most Spirited; Diamond Reyes and Andrew Walden as Best Dressed; De-Terionna Padgett and Zachary Schumann as Funniest; Olivia Camacho and Brooks Dawson as Best All-Around; Aimee Vergara and Asa Policke as Friendliest; and Julianne Hinckley and Connor McKenna as Most Talented.

The class selected as their motto “It Is What It Is,” their song is “Graduation” by Benny Blanco, and the class flower is the white rose.

DeLand High School Athletics

The DeLand High School Bulldog boys’ soccer team, after reeling off eight victories in a row, was presented with its first loss when the Bulldogs faced Spruce Creek, which has a slightly higher ranking then DeLand. The Hawks of Creek handed DeLand a 4-1 loss.

With there being no DHS sporting events during this past week, the Bulldog athletic calendar finds Bulldog basketball teams participating in the Father Lopez basketball tournament played on the Lopez campus. The DeLand squad is slated to face Bishop Kenny of Jacksonville at 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 28, followed the next day by DeLand going against Episcopal at 6 p.m.

Stetson University Athletics

The Stetson University Hatter men’s basketball team was defeated by the Gators of the University of Florida, 86-40, with Rob Perry scoring 13 points for the Hats, Chase Johnston adding 10 points, and Keith Lamar getting 10 rebounds.

The Hatters then faced the University of South Florida, with the Bulls winning, 73-62. In this game, Perry dropped in 15 points, with Johnston adding 13 points and getting seven rebounds, and Mahamadou Diawara scoring 10 points.

The Hats were slated to face Florida College, but the game was postponed due to that college’s COVID testing.

The Lady Hatters basketball team came out of quarantine and gained their first win and loss of the season. Their first outing saw the Lady Hats defeat Edward Waters College of Jacksonville, 98-48. Yazz Wazeerud-Din led the scoring for the Lady Hatters with 18 points, while Day’Neshia Banks dropped in 17 points, followed by Jamiya Turner with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Tonysha Curry and Maddie Novak each scoring 12 points. 

The Lady Hatters then faced South Florida and lost, 85-43, with Turner scoring 10 points. 

The Lady Hatters return to action Jan. 2 and 3, when they travel to Jacksonville for two games, both played at 2 p.m. Under Atlantic Sun Conference scheduling, conference games will be played two days in a row at the same location. 

The Lady Hats then will be playing host to North Alabama at 1 p.m. Jan. 9 and 10 in the Edmunds Center. 

The Stetson men’s basketball team plays host to North Florida in the Edmunds Center at 7 p.m. Jan. 1 and at 5 p.m. Jan. 2. Then, on Jan. 8 and 9, the Hats will be at North Alabama, with both games at 7 p.m. 

College honors 

Jasmine Torres, of DeLand, has been named to the dean’s list at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois. 

— Send school news to Tony Tussing via email: at flacoach43@hotmail.com. 

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