PHOTO COURTESY TONY TUSSING FAMILY AND COACHES CELEBRATE SIGNING — DeLand High School senior Kevar Williams, second from right, has signed to continue his education and track career at the University of Florida next year. He holds the record in the 100, 200 and 400 meters at DeLand High. Williams is pictured with his DHS Coaches Jim Lowenstein, on the left, and Chris Madzik, on the right. Second from left is Deke Harris, who is his coach with the DeLand Lightning Bolts. Kevar’s mother, Kesesha Taylor, is pictured with Kevar doing the Gator Chomp.

The Consortium of Florida Education Foundations recently awarded FUTURES Foundation for Volusia County Schools $123,270 in matching funds through the legislatively funded School District Education Foundation (SDEF) Matching Grant Program.

Tools for Online Learning will impact 12,000 students and 1,200 teachers in the Volusia County School District through 20 schoolwide and districtwide projects. The funding will primarily be used for salaries and benefits of tutors and substitutes, program supplies, professional-development sessions, and, most notably, the purchase of standards-aligned online-learning tools needed for increased individualized instruction, such as Newsela, IXL, MobyMax and BrainPOP.

CHAMPS — Proud members of the Eagles flag football team hold their trophies after winning the City of DeLand Flag Football
Championship. The Eagles had five wins and one loss during the season, and beat the Colts 20-18. Members of the team, with some not in the photo, are Benge Matthew, Isaac Feliciano, Kaidan Garcia, Grant Giddens, Camden Giddens, Aaron Guilliard, Titan
Kirkpatrick, Adonia Ramos, Chase Raynor, Camden Steinmann, Stephen Throne, Alexander Venetucci and Edward Venetucci.

These resources will help the program achieve the goals of improving literacy, engaging low-performing students, increasing STEM education, and enhancing classroom instruction. Utilizing Volusia County Schools’ newly implemented strategic plan as the framework, these SDEF-funded projects should improve the academic proficiency levels of our kindergarten-through-12th-grade students.

The funds received have been doubled by the private match of business partners such as Florida Power & Light Co., Stetson University, Earl Colvard and Boulevard Tire, Tanger Outlets Tanger Kids Grant, Zaxby, Duke Energy Foundation and others.

Those schools receiving SDEF funds are Sweetwater Elementary in Port Orange, Tomoka Elementary in Ormond Beach, DeBary Elementary, Pathways Elementary in Ormond Beach, Horizon Elementary in Port Orange, Ormond Beach Middle School, Citrus Grove Elementary in DeLand, George Marks Elementary in DeLand, and Starke Elementary in DeLand.

Friday, Dec. 17, is an in-service day for teachers, while students have the day off. This date also marks the end of the second grading period.

Monday, Dec. 20, is the first day of the Winter Holiday.

Freedom Elementary School

The PTA at Freedom Elementary School in DeLand will present Winter Wonderland on Saturday, Dec. 11, for those students who RSVP’d and paid the fee.

DeLand High School athletics

The DeLand High School Bulldog boys’ basketball team opened its 2021-22 season with a loss to Grace Baptist Academy of Mississippi, 75-69.

The athletic calendar finds the boys’ soccer team going to Deltona at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, while the DeLand wrestlers go to the Osceola Tournament through Saturday, Dec. 11. The boys’ basketball team will play at home against University at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10.

On Tuesday, Dec. 14, the girls’ soccer team heads to Seabreeze at 7 p.m., and the girls’ basketball team hosts Lake Mary Prep. The boys’ soccer team will compete at Spruce Creek at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 14, and the boys’ basketball team greets Lake Mary Prep at 7 p.m. that day.

Wednesday, Dec. 15, finds the boys’ basketball team at home against Orangewood at 7 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 16, brings Taylor to DeLand to face the boys’ soccer team at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Sperling Sports Complex, while the junior-varsity wrestling team plays host at home in the Bulldog gym. The girls’ weightlifting team competes Dec. 16 in the Five Star Tournament at Flagler Palm Coast.

Friday, Dec. 17, has the boys’ basketball team playing at Seabreeze at 7:30 p.m., with the varsity wrestlers competing in the Hagerty Tournament in Oviedo, which extends through Saturday, Dec. 18.

Stetson University

Antoinet te “Toni” LaValle passed away last year and left Stetson University $15 million to support students in the arts and music, giving them opportunities that LaValle never had when she was young. Her bequest will create the LaValle Artist and Scholar awards, and experiential scholarships, beginning in the fall of 2022.

Stetson University Athletics

Stetson University Athletics has announced the hiring of the new men’s and women’s head rowing coach, Jamie Francis. He has many years of coaching experience and was even a rower himself at the University of Central Florida. Francis has coached at Penn State, Mercyhurst and, most recently, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

The ASUN Conference had its seventh Hall of Fame induction, including the induction of Stetson graduate Jacob deGrom, who played baseball as a Hatter 2008-10.

Other Stetson athletes who have been inducted include Kristy Brown, women’s basketball, inducted in 2020; Chris Westervelt, baseball, in 2017; Corey Kluber, baseball, in 2015; and coach Glenn Wilkes, men’s basketball, in 2015.

The Stetson Hatter men’s basketball team faced Campbell and trailed by 18 points at halftime, but the Hatters came back, holding the Camels to 22 points, while Stetson scored 38 points, to lose, 60-58.

Rob Perry had 19 points, Chase Johnston contributed 15 points, and Christiaan Jones dropped 13 points, while pulling down six rebounds.

The Lady Hatter basketball team participated in the Van Chancellor Classic Tournament in Texas. They opened the tournament with a strong win over Louisiana-Monroe, 70- 37. Ayanna Dublin had 15 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals. Tatiana Streun made 14 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Jamiya Turner with 11 points, and Yazz Wazeerud-Din and Kiya Turner, each with 10 points.

The Lady Hats then faced St. Joseph with another victory, 51-48, with Wazeerud-Din getting 18 points with four steals, and Dublin adding 10 points and five rebounds.

The Hatter athletic calendar has the women’s basketball team traveling to Holy Cross Sunday, Dec. 12, for a 1 p.m. game, while the men’s team hosts Johnson University at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 13.

On Wednesday, Dec. 15, the Stetson women travel to Tampa to face nationally ranked South Florida at 11 a.m., and the Stetson men play host to the College of Charleston at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 16, followed by the women coming home to host Virginia Commonwealth at 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17.

College honors

Isabelle Braudakis, of Deltona, is now a member of the Class of 2025 at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore.

Paul Troxler, of Orange City, performed in the clarinet section in The University of Alabama Million Dollar Band during the 2021 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Devin Washington, of Deltona, earned Lone Star Conference postseason honors for the 2021 season. Washington was on the Angelo State University Rams football team.

— Send school news to Tony Tussing via email: at


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