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<p><p>Tony Tussing</p></p><p></p>

Heritage Middle School in Deltona will be the site of the third FACT (Families and Community Together) Fair for the 2021-22 school year. The fair will take place 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17. There will be more than 60 exhibitors present, free entertainment, giveaways and pizza.

The FACT Fair is sponsored by Volusia County Schools and Title I Parent and Family Engagement.

For more information, call Neville Schouburgh at 386-734-7190, ext. 44737, or email to nhschoub@volusia.k12.fl.us.

Heritage Middle is at 1001 Parnell Court in Deltona.

Volusia County Schools has announced that Volusia County’s graduation rate increased by 4.2 percent for the 2020-21 school year. The 91.9-percent graduation rate is at its highest ever.

The district’s graduation rate has grown more than 13 percent over three years, and has surpassed the state average of 90.1 percent by 1.8 percent for the first time.

The next day off for students will be Friday, March 11, which is a teacher duty day. Monday, March 14, marks the beginning of the Spring Holiday, with students and teachers returning to the classroom Monday, March 21.

Manatee Cove Elementary School

At Manatee Cove Elementary School in Orange City, fourth-grade Social Studies Fair projects will be on view for families on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 3. The winners will be announced Wednesday, Jan. 26.

Kona Ice will be on campus as a fundraiser Friday, Jan. 28.

DeLand High School

DeLand High School junior Akhil Kandamkulathy is one of two Volusia County students who have been chosen as Sunshine State STEM Scholars.

Each scholar, along with their parents, will travel to Orlando for an extraordinary program designed to bring together scholars from around the state, connect them with employers that specialize in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, and create a networking opportunity between scholars and schools from Florida’s college and state university system.

DeLand High School athletics

The DeLand High School Lady Bulldog weightlifting team recently competed with Lyman High School. DeLand girls who took first-place finishes during the competition were Zachiyah Banton-Dofflemyer, Jendaya Talton and Summer Rank, in the clean-and-snatch lift, while Cheyenne Cartwright, Rank and Talton took firsts in the bench competition.

Those claiming seconds were Addison Ruocco (twice), Hollee Brady, Mahek Chandna, Diana Delgado and Azariyah Hagins, with Jennifer Grusz, Leah Jensen and Banton-Dofflemyer earning thirds.

During the Gus Gibbs Memorial Holiday Basketball Tournament, played on the Bulldog court, senior Trayvon Barbary earned All-Tournament honors while averaging 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists during the tourney.

Since the holiday period, the Lady Bulldog basketball team has lost two very close games to University, 50-48, and Mount Dora Christian Academy, 38-34.

In soccer, the DeLand boys knotted a 0-0 tie with Crescent City, while the girls topped Spruce Creek, 2-1.

The DeLand boys’ basketball team was stopped by Jacksonville Ribault, 44-38.

Most of the spring sports will be beginning preseason practice shortly. This includes baseball, softball, tennis, track and field, and girls’ flag football.

The DeLand High athletic calendar has the boys’ basketball team traveling to University at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21.

On Saturday, Jan. 22, the Bulldog wrestlers compete at Celebration High School.

On Monday, Jan. 24, the Bulldog boys’ basketball team faces Pine Ridge in the DHS gym at 7 p.m., while Tuesday, Jan. 25, the girls’ basketball team greets Mount Dora Christian at 6 p.m.

On Wednesday, Jan. 26, the DeLand wrestlers will be at home in the Bulldog gym, while the Lady Bulldog weightlifters compete in the district tournament.

Thursday, Jan. 27, has the Lady Bulldog basketball team traveling to Father Lopez at 6 p.m., and on Friday, Jan. 28, the Bulldog basketball team goes to Lake Mary for a 7 p.m. game.

The DeLand wrestlers compete in the Flagler Palm Coast Tournament through Saturday, Jan. 29.

Deltona High School

Deltona High School had the highest graduation rate — 96.8 percent — for the 2020-21 school year among Volusia County public schools.

Student Research Foundation is pleased to announce that Emily Wilder, Deltona High School Class of 2022, is one of the fourth-place winners of the 2020-21 Community Contribution College Scholarships. Wilder was selected from a pool of more than 4,000 applicants from around the country. Each year, SRF awards postsecondary scholarships to deserving students across the country who have done something that positively impacts their lives and others around them.

University High School

University High School in Orange City had the largest increase in their graduation rate for Volusia County public schools during the 2020-21 school year. The Titans moved from 82.2 percent in 2019-20 to 92.2 percent in 2020-21.

Stetson University Athletics

Both the men’s and women’s Stetson University Hatters basketball teams won one and lost one in the week after the holiday break. The men defeated North Florida in overtime, 68-66, with the game being knotted at 63 at the end of regulation play.

The Hats were topped by Liberty, 75-59. In the Liberty game, Rob Perry scored 18 points, with seven rebounds and two steals, while Chase Johnston had 13 points and Christiaan Jones scored 11 points.

In the North Florida game, Perry dropped in 22 points with eight rebounds, while Johnston had 12 points, and Jones added 10 points with nine rebounds.

The Lady Hatters stopped North Florida, 73-62, and were defeated by Liberty, 65-49. In the Liberty game, Tatiana Streun scored 12 points, while pulling down seven rebounds. Kiya Turner scored 15 points and made four steals.

The ASUN Conference announced its preseason poll for women’s tennis, with the Lady Hatters picked to finish fourth among the 10 teams competing. The Stetson squad was picked to finish behind North Florida, Florida Gulf Coast and Liberty. Lady Hatter netter Anais Gabriel was named to the First Team All-Conference.

The Lady Hatters tennis team opens their 2022 season Friday, Jan. 21, when they play host to Mercer at 11 a.m. Their next three matches will also be played at home: at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 28, against Florida National University; at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 29, against Atlantis University; and at 3 p.m., also Jan. 29, against St. Thomas U.

The ASUN Conference also announced its preseason poll for men’s tennis, with the Hatters selected to finish fourth among the nine teams competing. They are favored to finish behind Liberty, Florida Gulf Coast and North Florida in that order. Hatter Diogo Marques was named to the Second Team All-Conference.

The men’s tennis team also opens their 2022 season Friday, Jan. 21, when they travel to Tallahassee to face South Alabama at 5 p.m. They then face Samford and Florida State at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively, the next day.

Their first home match will be Friday, Jan. 28, when they host Florida National at 3 p.m., followed the next day when they face Wofford at 1 p.m.

Both the men and women play their home matches at the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center in DeLand.

The Stetson sports calendar has the men’s and women’s basketball teams traveling to North Alabama for games at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, with the women playing the first game. Then on Thursday, Jan. 27, the two come back home to face Bellarmine at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., with the women playing the early game.

On Saturday, Jan. 29, the two play at home against Eastern Kentucky at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., with the men playing the later game.

College honors

Sharnell Clarke, Corley Adams, Katie Nicholson and Airyonna Parry, all of Deltona, and Alexandria Brown and Kerrigan Kaiser, both of DeLand, have been named to the fall 2021 President’s List at Southern New Hampshire University. Kelsey Hansbrough, of DeLand, and Ashley McAnally, of Deltona, have been named to the fall 2021 dean’s list at Southern New Hampshire University.

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

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