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Frank Garaitonandia, who teaches art at Citrus Grove Elementary School in DeLand and is Volusia County’s Teacher of the Year, is now one of five finalists for Florida’s Teacher of the Year. Florida’s K-12 Public Schools Chancellor Jacob Oliva and Deputy Chancellor for Education Quality Dr. Paul Burns made a surprise visit to Citrus Grove to make the announcement.

Frank Garaitonandia

Garaitonandia has spent 18 years in education providing a creative spark to motivate students. He created a Kindness Mural Project at Citrus Grove to honor and support kind acts. The project brought together students, staff and community members. He has also promoted the integration of art into multiple subjects by presenting STEAM workshops throughout Volusia County. In 2016, he was a nominee for the Hispanic Excellence in Education Award.

In partnership with the Florida Education Foundation, the Florida Teacher of the Year program is made possible by these generous sponsors: Florida Prepaid, State Farm, Gulf Power Foundation, Helios Education Foundation, Florida Blue Foundation, Herff Jones and Florida State University College of Education.

Teacher Appreciation Week found Volusia County Superintendent Dr. Scott Fritz pulling five names of Volusia County teachers to place their names in the running for the use of a brand-new Jeep Compass to drive for two years free. The Jeep Compass is donated by DeLand Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram.

The names drawn were Rose Moss of Blue Lake Elementary School in DeLand, Don Bradley of Edgewater Public Elementary, Tanisha Williamson of Campbell Middle School in Daytona Beach, Jean Dunkelberger of Tomoka Elementary in Ormond Beach, and Amanda Whited of Galaxy Middle in Deltona.

Two days later after the first drawing, Dr. Fritz and Tolga Batir, owner of DeLand Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, drew Tanisha Williamson’s name as the winner.

Cambridge International has announced that Broward County Public Schools, Charlotte County Public Schools and Volusia County Schools had been selected as recipients of its District of the Year award for U.S. school districts for the 2020-21 school year.

The District of the Year award recognizes districts that have consistently strong student performance in their schools and who have also continued to expand their offering of the Cambridge Pathway.

DeLand High School

DeLand High School graduating seniors will have mandatory graduation rehearsal at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 1, at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach. Seniors are asked to arrive by 6:45 a.m.

Graduation will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 3, at the Ocean Center, and seniors need to be there by 6:15 p.m.

Pine Ridge High School

Pine Ridge Theatre Troupe 5532, from Pine Ridge High School in Deltona, competed in the State Festival with 12 individual events for adjudication. Those gaining superior ratings were Lauren Jackson and Kaley Arbogast in duet acting, Christina Weathers in makeup design, Brandon Jackson in costume construction, Edmarly Ariol in publicity design, and Kyra Sullivan in one-act playwriting.

Those earning excellent ratings were Cristina Martinez in makeup design, Lariza Guerra and Jenaya Knuckles in duet acting, Morgan Davis and Lauren Jackson in duet acting, Owen Arnold in solo musical, Vanessa Villegas in publicity, and Kaley Arbogast in scene design.

The theater group is instructed by Christina Goodin.

Pine Ridge High will be presenting a new program next fall, Career and Technical Education Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning. Therefore, the school held a contest to select a logo for the program; the winner was Aden Lewis. The others participating in the contest were Abrahma Trevino, Angel Vazquez, Camille Dickens, Delilah Colon, Dylan Brocato, Enelise Alfonoso, Fabian Ortiz Raposo, Jaimy Cotto De Jesus, Jake Reading, Jamila Santana, Jaricelys Abadia, Jayden Marte, Jonathan Coppen, Joshua Chertcow, Juan Rivas, Kamila Tirado, Logan Harr, Madison Cerbulis, Madison Lamay, Mason De La Cruz, Nathan Hernandez, Sophia Peppas, Stevon Wright, Tanner D’Errico and Xavier Galarza.

Charlyn Klink was Pine Ridge’s selection for the March City of Deltona Superstar, and Deidre Jones was selected for April.

Panther of the Month recent recipients were sophomore Leighana Bardwell and senior Angel Rosado-Rios.

Mr. and Miss Pine Ridge for 2021-22 have been selected and were recently crowned: Joey Nadeau and Elizabeth Rodriguez.

The Pine Ridge Panthers’ spring football game will be at 7 p.m. Friday, May 21, on Panther Field.

The Senior Sunrise Breakfast will be at 6 a.m. Tuesday, May 25, on the football field.

Thespian Inductions take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 25, in the Panther Auditorium.

University High School

Andreas Schulz, a sophomore at University High School in Orange City, won the 200-meter para-athlete ambulatory race at the FHSAA State Track and Field Championships. He ran the 200 meters in 24.05 seconds. This is the state record as it is the first time the event has been contested in the state series.

Stetson University

Stetson University has been recognized nationally by Intelligent.com for having one of the top online Master of Accountancy programs. The School of Business Administration program placed 47th out of 52 institutions, and is one of five at a university in Florida.


College honors

Concetta Johnson, of DeBary, has been named to the dean’s list for the spring 2021 semester at Columbia College in Orlando.

The following students recently graduated from Flagler College in St. Augustine:

Sabrina Gutierrez, of DeBary, graduated summa cum laude with a degree in psychology and English.

Valerie Manfredi, of DeBary, graduated summa cum laude with a degree in psychology.

Patricia Bishop, of DeLand, graduated summa cum laude with a degree in philosophy and religion.

Lauren LaRue, of DeLand, graduated magna cum laude with a degree in mathematics.

Lauren Thomas, of Deltona, graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design.

NaJah Gerrald, of Orange City, graduated with a degree in psychology and criminology.

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



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