delicia bent edith starke
Delicia Bent as Edith I. Starke

Friends of Deltona Library will soon host a free program celebrating the life of Edith I. Starke, a pioneering Volusia County teacher, principal and civil rights activist and the namesake of an elementary school located in DeLand. The program will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13, in the Deltona Regional Library auditorium, 2150 Eustace Ave.

Edith I. Starke

Delicia Bent, a student at Stetson University and native of Cape Coral, will bring to life this dynamic woman in a portrayal of the highlights of her life. More than 40 years after her death, Edith Irene Starke remains a significant figure in Volusia County. In her many roles, she left her mark on all who met her.

Bent, a theater-arts major, became a fan of Starke while researching her life for her performance.

“I learned that she loved teaching and helping people learn. And her leadership extended to civic organizations too numerous to list, including the Red Cross, United Way, NAACP and League of Women Voters,” Bent said.

First lady Casey DeSantis, wife of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, has announced that the theme for this year’s Black History Month contests will be “Celebrating African-American Contributions to

Florida’s History.” The contests include student art and essays, as well as the Excellence in Education Awards.

Black History Month is celebrated each year in the month of February.

“Black History Month is an opportunity for students to learn about the contributions African Americans have made throughout Florida’s history. Over the next month, we will be honoring these contributions and their benefits to Florida’s communities,” first lady DeSantis stated.

DeSantis is inviting students to take part in academic creative contests throughout the month. Students in grades K-3 can participate in an art contest, and students in grades 4-12 can participate in an essay contest. Students, parents, teachers and principals are invited to nominate full-time educators of all grades for the Black History Month Excellence in Education Award.

Each student participating in the Black History Month Art Contest will submit original, two-dimensional artwork based on this year’s theme. Two winners will be selected.

Each student participating in the Black History Month Essay Contest will submit one essay no longer than 500 words, based on this year’s theme. Three winners will be selected: one elementary-school student (grades four-five), one middle-school student (grades six-eight), and one high-school student (grades nine-12). Each winner will receive a four-year Florida College Plan scholarship provided by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.

The Black History Month Excellence in Education Award Contest is open to all full-time educators in an elementary, middle or high school in Florida. Three winners will be selected: one elementary-school teacher (grades kindergarten-five), one middle-school teacher (grades six-eight) and one high-school teacher (grades nine-12). Nominations may be submitted by a principal, teacher, parent or guardian, or student.

Student contest forms and educator nominations must be mailed to Volunteer Florida (Black History Month Committee), 1545 Raymond Diehl Road, Suite 250, Tallahassee, FL 32308, or submitted online at All entries must be received by 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18. If mailing, please consider the time necessary to ensure the submission is received by Volunteer Florida’s Office no later than the aforementioned deadline.

For more information, visit

Earlier this year, this column mentioned new programs being offered by the Deltona Parks and Recreation Department. Further new offerings include Youth Flag Football, to be played in March and April, with games on Saturday mornings and one practice during the week.

The registration deadline is Friday, Feb. 11. The cost is $50 per child ages 5-12 at Wes Crile Park, 1537 Norbert Terrace in Deltona.

Space is limited, so please don’t wait to sign up.

For more information, call 386-878-8940, or visit the City of Deltona website at

DeLand High School athletics

The DeLand High School girls’ weightlifting team recently competed in the FHSAA district meet, with the Lady Bulldogs placing fourth in the snatch lift and fourth in the bench/clean and jerk division. All girls listed below qualified to participate in the FHSAA regional contest that took place Jan. 29 at Flagler Palm Coast:

Earning second place were Zachiyah Banton-Dofflemyer and Summer Rank, with Rian Anderson, Jendaya Talton and Addison Ruocco taking third. Amaya Lewicki gained a fourth, with Cheyenne Cartwright and Leah Jensen earning sixth place. Damion Dunn is the coach.

The DeLand Bulldog boys’ basketball team defeated Spruce Creek, 42-25; Flagler Palm Coast, 54-24; and New Smyrna Beach, 40-39; but was stopped by Ocala Trinity Catholic, 65-33.

The DeLand Bulldog boys’ soccer team defeated Flagler Palm Coast, 6-1, and topped Seabreeze, 4-0, with Adam Hill getting two goals against the Seabreeze Sandcrabs, with Seth Weldon and Fabian McKnight each getting one.

The Lady Bulldog soccer team lost to Eustis, 4-3, with seniors Nancy Almanza and Anna Beal, along with freshman Savannah Bruno, scoring goals. The Lady Bulldogs then topped The Villages, 4-0, with Almanza, Beal, Bruno and freshman Brianne Yocum each getting a goal, while Beal also had an assist.

The DeLand girls’ basketball team was defeated by Ocoee, 48-7.

On Saturday, Feb. 5, the Bulldog varsity wrestlers will be at the Five Star Conference meet at Seabreeze, while the junior-varsity squad will be at regionals at Yulee High School.

On Wednesday, Feb. 9, which is Senior Night, the DHS wrestlers will play host to Cypress Creek in the Bulldog gym.

Stetson University

The Homer and Dolly Hand Art Center on the Stetson University campus in DeLand is hosting the exhibit “Transfiguration: A Black Speculative Vision of Freedom” through Saturday, Feb. 19.

This exhibit will feature artwork by Black Kirby (John Jennings and Stacey Robinson), Nettrice Gaskins, Krista Franklin, Tim Fielder and Intergalactic Soul (Marcus Kiser and Jason Woodberry).

Visitors to the Hand Art Center are required to wear masks as part of the Stetson University COVID-19 protocols. For more information, visit

The Stetson University College of Law has inducted Paul Marshall May and Thomas Bullitt McCoun III into its Hall of Fame. May was a 1980 graduate of Stetson Law. He spearheaded efforts to take the Stetson Law Alumni Association from a practically nonfunctioning group to a robust organization, while practicing commercial litigation. He passed away in 1999, after which Stetson Law created the Paul M. May Meritorious Service Award.

McCoun was a 1974 graduate of Stetson Law, who began his career as an assistant state attorney in the 6th Circuit Court of Florida, and would later accept the position as a U.S. magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. McCoun passed away in 2019.

Stetson University Athletics

The Stetson University Hatter men’s basketball team recently lost one game in overtime and won one, with Christiaan Jones making a basket in the last second of the game. The Hats defeated North Alabama, 67-65, with Jones scoring 16 points, while Stephan Swenson and Alvin Tumblin scored 12 points each.

The Stetson men lost a game to Florida Gulf Coast in overtime, 93-91, with the game being knotted at 82 at the end of regulation play. The Hats trailed by 15 at halftime, before forcing overtime. Freshman Tumblin scored 22 points, with nine rebounds and one blocked shot, while Josh Smith added 18 points and Swenson dropped in 16 points, with Jones adding 14 points with 14 rebounds, while Chase Johnston also had 14 points.

The Lady Hatters basketball team went down to defeat at the hands of the No. 21 team in the country, Florida Gulf Coast University, 78-41, but recovered to down North Alabama, 75-43.


In the FGCU game, Tatiana Streun scored 12 points with seven rebounds, while Kiya Turner added 10 points.

Against North Alabama, Yazz Wazeerud-Din scored 18 points with three steals, Mali Morgan-Elliott made 14 points, and Jamiya Turner scored 12 points with one blocked shot.

Tatiana Streun was named ASUN Newcomer of the Week for her recent play. During the week, she averaged 18 points and six-and-a-half rebounds. She currently ranks second in the ASUN in conference play in scoring, with an 18-point average.

The Stetson tennis teams opened their 2022 seasons with the men in Tallahassee and the women playing at home. The Lady Hatters topped Mercer, 6-1, with Noa Cohen, Nadejda Maslova, Cheri Darley, Laia Pasini and Alanna Di Francesco scoring wins. The Hatter men were stopped by South Alabama, 4-0.

On Saturday, Feb. 5, the two Hatter basketball teams will be at Central Arkansas, with the women playing at 2 p.m. and the men at 4:15 p.m. Then Wednesday, Feb. 9, both teams play host to Jacksonville State, at 5 p.m. for the Lady Hatters and at 7:30 p.m. for the men.

The Stetson women tennis players face Troy at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, at the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center on the Stetson campus, while on Wednesday, Feb. 9, they travel to Daytona Beach to face Bethune-Cookman at 3 p.m.

College honors

Briana Jordan Eads, of Orange City, has been named to the President’s List for the fall 2021 semester at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. Eads is majoring in social work.

Stephanie Saliva, of DeBary, has earned a Bachelor of Science in social science, and Brandon Rodriguez, of Deltona, has earned a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice, from the University of Maryland Global Campus during the fall 2021 semester.

Kalei Burgess, of Deltona, has earned a Bachelor of Arts in communication and information sciences from The University of Alabama.

Bradley Sisk, of DeBary, has earned the distinction of Faculty Honors for the fall 2021 semester at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

— Send school news to Tony Tussing via email, at



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