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In June, Volusia County Schools will proceed with socially distanced graduation ceremonies. Proms, graduation bashes and other large group senior activities where social distancing is not possible will regretfully not be held this year. High schools will plan alternatives to prom and other traditional activities to make the end of senior year special for graduates.

For the Class of 2021 graduation, VCS will follow the same model used successfully last year. Graduates will be socially distanced during the graduation ceremony at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach. Attendance will be limited, with up to two tickets for each senior available for purchase through their high schools.

Ceremonies will be professionally livestreamed to allow extended family to watch remotely. They will also be recorded and posted on the district website.

The graduation schedule for the Class of 2021 can be found at https://www.vcsedu.org/communty-information-service/calendars.

Volusia County Schools Student Transportation Services is hiring bus drivers and attendants. If interested, call 386-734-7190, ext. 50535, or email to studenttransrecruit@volusia.k12.fl.us.

This is an opportunity to receive paid training for bus operators (no CDL required); paid training for bus attendants; full-time benefits, including health, dental, life insurance and retirements; a flexible schedule; and weekends, holidays and the summer off.

The FHSAA state girls’ weightlifting championships took place at Suwannee High School in Live Oak and St. Cloud High School. The West Volusia area was represented in all three high-school divisions.

In the 1A Division, Riley LeBlanc of Taylor Middle-High School of Pierson competed in the 198-division, taking seventh overall with a 320 total for the two lifts, which included 175-pound bench press and 145-pound clean and jerk.

In the 2A Division, Deidre Jones competed for Pine Ridge High School of Deltona in the unlimited division with a 305-pound total, with teammate Kharisma Littles competing in the 154-pound division taking seventh overall with a 325-pound total, including 165-pound and 160-pound lifts.

In the big-school Division 3A, Sarah Munar from DeLand High School placed eighth in the unlimited division with a 365 total, including lifts of 195 pounds and 170 pounds. Representing University High School of Orange City were Amarise Rodriguez in the 101 division taking sixth with 130 and 120 lifts for a 250 total; Destiny David competing in the 110 class with 125- and 100-pound lifts for a 225 total; and Amber Garcia competing in the 139-pound division with lifts of 135 and 140 pounds for a 275 total.

Upcoming School Advisory Council meetings will include Pine Ridge High School in Deltona with a virtual meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, March 8; Friendship Elementary in Deltona at 4:15 p.m. Monday, March 8, in the media center; McInnis Elementary in DeLeon Springs with a virtual meeting at 7 a.m. Thursday, March 11; DeBary Elementary at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, March 11, in the media center; and Georgia Marks Elementary in DeLand at 3 p.m. Thursday, March 11, in the media center.

Sunrise Elementary School

Yearbooks for Sunrise Elementary School in Deltona can be preordered for $22 through March 12. At school, this can be paid by cash or check. Online orders can be placed at commpe.pictavo.com.

Galaxy Middle School

Galaxy Middle School in Deltona has a very busy chorus department under the direction of Sharon Wade. Chorus students started the school year learning to sight-read, rhythm-read and find their singing voice.

In October, chorus members discovered “Your Brain on Music: Thrills and Chills.” Members of the Advanced Chorus were honored to participate in a master class via Zoom with Dr. Russell Robinson, professor emeritus at the University of Florida. The students performed Andrew Lloyd Webber choral favorites for him. He then provided tips to enhance the music and answered student questions.

The singers also performed a Winter Concert, which was recorded and shared with their families.

The second semester started with Vocal Ensemble members performing for a Four Chaplains Ceremony in Deltona. The chorus also sang “God Bless America” for the NASCAR Truck Race by recording it at school and then having it shown during the race at Daytona International Speedway. The students also had the opportunity to attend the race in person.

DeLand High School

Evie Meckley

DeLand High School senior Evie Meckley has been selected as a National Merit Scholarship finalist. She moved on from a semifinalist to a finalist by submitting her SAT scores, which confirmed her earlier PSAT/NMSQT performance, and by having an outstanding academic record and by being endorsed and recommended by an official at DeLand High. Meckley also submitted an application that included high-level courses taken and those grades, extracurricular and volunteer activities, and self-descriptive essays.

The DeLand High media center is open for students after school until 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday for studying and makeup work.

DeLand High School Athletics

Amberleigh Sauer, a DeLand High School graduate and current student/athlete at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, competed in the ERAU Last Chance Track Meet. She placed first in the shot put at 38 feet, 9.5 inches; second in the hammer throw at 142 feet, 1 inch; fourth in the discus at 132 feet, 5 inches; and fifth in the javelin throw at 88 feet, 6 inches.

In the first track meet for the Bulldogs, the DeLand High track squads traveled to Deltona High School. The Lady Bulldogs picked up five first-place finishes, while the boys earned four. The girls were led by two seniors, Jiya Hastings and Jordan Singletary, with each of them getting two firsts. Hastings won the 100-meter dash at 13.01 and the 200 at 26.37, while Singletary won the two hurdle events with a 16.95 in the 100 hurdles and a 50.23 in the 300 intermediate hurdles. Madi Mandell scored the other first with a win in the 1,600 meters, with a clocking of 6:31.43.

The boys were represented by four individual wins, with Kevar Williams winning the 100 at 10.89, Ethan Myrick the 1,600 at 4:54.89, Ian York the 300 hurdles at 46.48, and Marion Smokes in the shot put with a shove of 34 feet, 5 inches.

The DeLand High athletic calendar, which needs to be checked due to COVID and weather, is as follows:

Friday, March 5, has the Lady Bulldog softball team hosting Eustis at 4:30 p.m. on campus, while the girls’ tennis team goes to University High at 4 p.m.

On Saturday, March 6, the track team travels to a meet at Lake Mary High School at 8 a.m., while the junior-varsity baseball team goes to University for games at 10 a.m. and noon.

Monday, March 8, places the baseball team at Seabreeze at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., with the tennis teams going to Deltona High at 4 p.m.

Tuesday, March 9, has the girls’ flag football team playing host to West Orange at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Spec Martin Memorial Stadium, while the track team is at Spruce Creek for the Volusia/Flagler Freshman/Sophomore Championships at 3:30 p.m. The softball team is going to Spruce Creek at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Wednesday, March 10, brings the Merritt Island junior-varsity baseball team to the Sperling Sports Complex at 6 p.m. to play the Bulldog junior-varsity baseball team, while the tennis teams travel north to Flagler Palm Coast at 3:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 11, puts the flag football team in Spec Martin Memorial Stadium to face Wekiva High School at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., while the girls’ tennis team hosts Seabreeze at 4:15 p.m. on campus, and the baseball team travels to Trinity Prep in Winter Park at 7 p.m.

Saturday, March 13, has the DeLand track teams playing host to their annual Big “D” Relays on campus at 9 a.m., while the junior-varsity baseball team travels to Atlantic High in Port Orange at 10 a.m.

Pine Ridge High School

Volusia County Schools has been awarded a $531,457 state grant to launch a vocational program in heating/air conditioning at Pine Ridge High School in Deltona. This is part of the Florida Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant totaling $10 million to support the expansion of local registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs at schools, colleges, universities and private training entities.

The new Heating/Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics/Installers and Heating/Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Mechanics Program will start at Pine Ridge High in the 2021-22 school year. More information about the Florida Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant Program is available at www.fldoe.org/pathwaysgrant.

Families interested in the new heating/air conditioning program should complete the survey at www.tinyurl.com/PRHSHVAC or contact Pine Ridge for enrollment information. Students do not have to be zoned for Pine Ridge, but will need to apply for a variance to attend. Applications for school-choice variances for next school year opened March 1.

Thank-yous are being offered to business partners who have already expressed support for the new heating/air conditioning program: CareerSource Flagler Volusia, HM2 Mechanical and Specialty Contractors, Kinetic Systems, MJW Consolidated, Siemens, Thermaserve Inc. and Von-Aire Inc. Other companies interested in becoming a business partner should contact CTE at 386-734-7190, ext. 20640.

Stetson University

On Feb. 15, Jeremy DiGorio started as Stetson University’s new associate vice president for budget and financial planning. DiGorio comes to Stetson from Rollins College, where he served in various financial roles since 2013.

Stetson has entered into a new agreement with Lake-Sumter State College that creates the opportunity for LSSC honors students to transfer to Stetson’s honors program upon completion of an associate of arts degree.

Stetson’s Community Education Project (CEP), a multidisciplinary college-in-prison program, is expanding its humanities course offerings at Tomoka Correctional Institution in Daytona Beach, thanks to a $359,000, two-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant “Seeding Justice: Collaborative Learning Landscapes in Carceral Spaces,” was made possible by the foundation’s The Future of Higher Learning in Prison initiative. CEP is the first project at Stetson to receive a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The grant will allow CEP to offer five new courses, including two food-studies classes on sustainable food production that explore race, class and gender in the food system; two humanities courses that are aimed toward food studies; and a special-topics class on race, food and nation in the Americas.

The grant will also provide CEP with an opportunity to create the garden, an outdoor classroom, and employ a garden manager and postdoctoral fellow in the humanities.

For more information, go to www.stetson.edu/other/cep.

Stetson University Athletics

Stetson University junior cross-country runner Tristen Montalvo has been named the ASUN Runner of the Week. He achieved a first-place finish for Stetson in the Florida Gulf Coast University meet, running the 5K course in 15:13.8, which was a full 20 seconds ahead of second place. He is just the third Stetson cross-country runner to gain this honor. The Stetson men won the meet with a 25-32 score, while the FGCU women won 37-19.

Kiera McCarthy, Christina Nikolai and Riley Reagan have been named to the ASUN preseason All-Conference Team for lacrosse. The Lady Hatters were stopped in their first match by Campbell University, 15-5.

The Hatter men’s basketball team split with Jacksonville University, 91-75 and 82-86. In the victory, Chase Johnston scored 24 points, with Rob Perry adding 18 points, Christiaan Jones 15, and Mahamadou Diawara 13. In the second game, Perry scored 27 points, with Jones getting 16 points, and Stephan Swenson gaining 11.

Jones is the 36th player to score 1,000 points during a Stetson career.

The Lady Hatters basketball team defeated Kennesaw State, 49-21, with Kiya Turner scoring 16 points and Maddie Novak collecting 10. The week before, Yazz Wazeerud-Din collected two ASUN honors by being named Player of the Week and Newcomer of the Week at the same time.

The Stetson baseball team opened its 2021 season with two wins over Florida A&M, 6-3 and 1-0. In the first game, Kyle Ball, Brandon Hylton and Nick DiPonzio hit home runs.

The volleyball team was stopped by FGCU, 3-0, with Lady Hatter Naina Ivanova becoming the 10th player to reach 1,500 career assists by gaining 17 in the match.

The Stetson women’s soccer team topped FIU, 3-1, with Jackie Fiacco scoring two goals.

The upcoming Stetson athletic calendar, which should be checked before attending due to weather and COVID, has the volleyball team hosting Jacksonville in the Edmunds Center at 6 p.m. Friday, March 5, while the men’s tennis team hosts FIU, and the baseball team welcomes USF at 6:30 p.m. in Melching Field at Conrad Park.

Saturday, March 6, has the baseball team hosting USF at 2 p.m., the volleyball team welcoming Jacksonville at 6 p.m., the women’s soccer team greeting North Florida on campus at 7 p.m., the men’s and women’s rowing teams facing Adrian College and Rollins at 8 a.m. at the Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center, and the lacrosse team facing the University of Florida at 1 p.m. on campus.

Sunday, March 7, finds the baseball team hosting USF at 4 p.m.

Wednesday, March 10, has the ASUN women’s basketball tournament beginning at Kennesaw State; it runs through March 13.

The Lady Hatter softball team faces South Dakota at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on campus, with the baseball team traveling to the University of Florida at 6:30 p.m.

Friday, March 12, the baseball team is at Alabama at 7 p.m., with the lacrosse team welcoming Gardner-Webb at 3 p.m., and the men’s tennis team hosting Furman.

Saturday, March 13, the women’s soccer team greets Jacksonville at 7 p.m., and the baseball team plays at Alabama at 3 p.m.

On Sunday, March 14, the Hatter baseball team closes out at Alabama at 2 p.m., with the men’s tennis team facing Georgia State at 2 p.m. on the Stetson courts.

College honors

Emily White, of DeLand, has been named to the dean’s list at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

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

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