PHOTO COURTESY SUTHERLAND FAMILY SCHOLARSHIP WINNER — Foresters Financial, a financial services and life-insurance company with a history of philanthropy, has announced that Ashley Sutherland of DeLand is the recipient of a $2,000 scholarship, and is eligible to receive up to $8,000 over four years. Sutherland has chosen to attend Florida Southern College in the fall. She earned her scholarship due to academic achievement and her time spent volunteering with the Muscular Dystrophy Association as a goodwill ambassador.

Monday, Aug. 16, is the first day of school for students in Volusia County public schools. The first day of vacation will be Monday, Sept. 6, so that all can observe the Labor Day holiday.

Speaking of school, here are some facts about the Volusia County school system: There are 44 elementary schools, 12 middle schools, 10 high schools, two combination schools (K-8 or 6-12 grades), four alternative schools, and remote-option Volusia Online Learning. All of these schools serve more than 61,400 students in prekindergarten through 12th grade.

The Volusia County School District is the 14th largest in Florida and the largest employer in Volusia County.

The school district has numerous publications. One of the more interesting to parents is the Parent Guide and School Calendar, which can be found online at, looking under Parents then Publications.

Parents and community members who are interested in individual schools can participate in a school’s School Advisory Council. SACs meet monthly. Check with the school as to when and where these meetings take place.

George Marks Elementary School

A couple of weeks ago, this column mentioned that George Marks Elementary School in DeLand would have goats on campus. These will be there for two purposes: to support social emotional learning for students and to build the agriculture program for its feeder schools. George Marks students will be working with DeLand High student volunteers to learn how to properly feed and care for these animals. There will be an after-school club that students can sign up for to take advantage of this program.

Clubs will be in full swing after the start of the new school year. Parents should watch for information coming home about these clubs. The school will host a Girls on the Run Club, Art Club, Garden Club and many other programs to get the school’s youth involved and participating in community service.

DeLand High School

Monica Leimer, the DeLand High School director of bands, has been named as a quarterfinalist for the 2022 GRAMMY Music Educator Award.

A total of 2,129 teachers from 204 cities have been selected as quarterfinalists for this award, which is presented by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum. The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators (kindergarten through college, in public and private schools).

DeLand High will be using a new bell schedule this year. The regular bell schedule starts with the first-period bell ringing at 8:30 a.m., with second period starting at 9:24 a.m., third period at 10:18 a.m., fourth at 11:12 a.m., fifth at 12:53 p.m., sixth at 1:46 p.m. and seventh at 2:40 p.m. Lunch is noon-12:47 a.m.

Pine Ridge High School

Volusia County Schools has officially cut the ribbon to launch a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) program at Pine Ridge High School in Deltona. VCS was awarded a $531,457 state grant through the Florida Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant for the program’s equipment, software, computers and curriculum. Students will have the opportunity to earn industry certifications, and will complete a pre-apprenticeship the summer before their senior year.

UA Local 295 Apprenticeship in Daytona Beach worked with VCS to develop the curriculum and pre-apprenticeship experience.

Taylor Middle-High School

Laura French and James Kohler have been named the girls’ and boys’ cross-country coaches, respectively, at Taylor Middle-High School in Pierson.

Stetson University

Hatterthon is Stetson University’s student philanthropy group that is part of the Miracle Network Dance Marathon. This marathon is a nationwide, student-led campaign that raises funds and awareness for any of the 170 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across the United States and Canada.

Hatterthon, which recently celebrated its fifth year on campus, received the 2021 Marathon Programming Award from Children’s Miracle Network, in recognition of an exceptional and engaging program during its Dance Marathon event in March.

Throughout the year, Hatterthon hosted a variety of awareness and fundraising activities, all culminating in an annual spring-semester event. Hatterthon raised a total of $87,020.21 for the 2020-21 school year.

Stetson’s Hatterthon Executive Director Jake Sadoway, who will graduate this year, was named a recipient of the Children’s Miracle Network Distinguished Leadership Award.

Stetson’s Hatterthon utilized 60-plus student leaders and captains, along with approximately 300 participating students, called miracle-makers.

Stetson University athletics

Stetson University men’s golf coach Larry Watson has announced his retirement. He joined the Stetson program in 2012 as director of golf operations, and became the head coach the next year.

Watson’s tenure at Stetson included his efforts to develop and oversee the construction of the Edinger Golf Complex.

College honors

Christian Bernabe, of Deltona, and Tim Dixon, of DeBary, both of whom are members of the University of Arkansas baseball team, have earned 2020-21 American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Team Academic Excellence honors.

— Send school news to Tony Tussing via email: at



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