george marks elementary school bulldog bots
ROBOT BRAWL — George Marks Elementary School Bulldog Bots recently competed in their first-ever VMA Robot Brawl at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Daytona Beach. Team members, from left in the front row, are Avery Launer, Adelys Hernandez Contreras, Shelby Marsh and Grayson Poertner. In the center row, from left, are Ivan Arevalo and Ryder White. In the back row, from left, are Rishard Inman, Kailee Gleason, coach Kelly Long, Gigi Treto, coach Bob Kundinger, Liza Trivett and Kilee Adkins. The team battled four robots against other students’ robots in the area from elementary to high school. The Bulldog Bots would like to thank Jessica Lovatt and the VMA Volusia, as well as team sponsors Quality Quickprint of DeLand and Hough Electric. PHOTO COURTESY KELLY LONG

Volusia County Schools and FUTURES Foundation for Volusia County Schools have announced the nominees for Volusia County Teacher of the Year 2024. There are 69 nominees, with the top five to be chosen around Thanksgiving, and the winner to be announced in late January 2023 at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort.

Below is the listing of those nominated by schools in West Volusia. The group is broken into two groups — elementary and secondary — so that they are easier for the reader to find.

The elementary-school nominees who teach in West Volusia are Cecilia D. Helton, Blue Lake in DeLand; Wendy Lynn Fontaine, Citrus Grove in DeLand; Valerie Marcus, DeBary; Heather Mooney, Deltona Lakes; Dominique A. Clark, Discovery in Deltona; Natalie Maynard, Enterprise; Erica Jeria, Forest Lake in Deltona; Angie Vogelzang, Freedom in DeLand; Robin Shank, Friendship in Deltona; Margaret Tambini, George Marks in DeLand; Holly McPherson, Manatee Cove in Orange City; Emily Naghdi, McInnis in DeLeon Springs; Cheryl Turner, Orange City; Jaime Potts, Osteen; Christie Y. Henry, Pierson; Evelyn Irizarry, Pride in Deltona; Ashley McCormick, Spirit in Deltona; Christina Bryant, Starke in DeLand; Judy Picone, Sunrise in Deltona; Brad Culpepper, Timbercrest in Deltona; Jennifer Algard, Volusia Online Learning; Shandris Hinson, Volusia Pines in Lake Helen; and Samantha MacHardy, Woodward Avenue in DeLand.

The secondary-school nominees who teach in West Volusia are Wendy Jefferies, Alternative Education at Highbanks Learning Center in DeBary; Michelle Lyle Bishop, DeLand High; Heather Robinson, DeLand Middle; Kristy Garthwaite, Deltona High; Cecilia C.M. Lott, Deltona High; Jacqueline Drescher, Galaxy Middle in Deltona; Joshua Jordan, Heritage Middle in Deltona; Holly Taylor, Pine Ridge High in Deltona; Luz Mariella Sullivan, River Springs Middle School of Technology & Innovation in Orange City; Victoria Langston, Southwestern Middle in DeLand; Jaime Davis, Taylor Middle-High in Pierson; and Linda Berner, University High in Orange City.

During the entire month of November, Volusia County Schools will be hosting the Fall 2022 Instructional Job Fair. There will be in-person and virtual interview opportunities.

Go to to register and find more information.

Open registration began Nov. 3 for dual-enrollment opportunities at Daytona State College. This registration period will end Dec. 5, 2022.

Daytona State College offers a dual-enrollment program that can help a student get a head start on their college education while still in high school, no matter where they choose to pursue their higher education. For more information, go to

The Volusia Manufacturing Robot Brawl took place recently at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona Beach. Competition was held in the 1-pound, 3-pound and 15-pound categories. The winners from the west side of the county found DeLand High’s Eziah Munoz taking second in the 1-pound division, and the team of Donald Martin and Chris Morris from DeLand High claimed first in the 3-pound division with Imagine Wagon robot. Unimalones placed second with a team from Deltona High operating the robot in the 3-pound class. Pine Ridge High’s Dream Crusher won the 15-pound class, while University High’s Chop Bot took second.

DeLand High School

During the DeLand High School Homecoming Parade, Avant Garde claimed first in Club Truck decorating, while the Fashion Plates were second and Hill Street Theatre was third. Interact won first place in the Club Floats category, and Construction took second. In Class Floats, the freshmen placed first, the juniors were second, and the sophomores were third.

The King and Queen of Homecoming were Sean Hulsman and Bailey Newcomb, while the Junior Prince and Princess were Terrance Ward and Jaliyah Powell. The Sophomore Duke and Duchess were Jake Boyington and Emily Cloudman, and the Freshman Lord and Lady were Josh Bradshaw and Lila Forare.

Those serving as Royalty were Jackson Schrier, Maci Cowart, Zues Hernandez, Princess Apakama, Jamil Cunningham, Katyah Ross, Garbriel Willis, Mia Jackson, Weston Millett and La’Nasia Yarbrough.

Principal Dr. Melissa Carr has been elevated to the county staff position of director of educational technology, and Assistant Principal Mike Degirolmo has been named interim principal.

DeLand High School Athletics

QUALIFIED — The DeLand High School girls’ golf team recently qualified to play in the FHSAA regional tournament, with the possibility of advancing to the state tournament. Team members, in no particular order, are junior McKenzie Coody, freshman Hayden Nichols, seniors Sydney Knight and Kylie Theessen, coach Dina Pinson, and sophomores Josie Knight and Evie Cohen.

The DeLand High School swim teams won their last two meets of the year to go undefeated throughout the 2022 season. The team downed Father Lopez, 139-31, for the boys, and, 106-64, for the girls, while they topped Flagler Palm Coast, 137-33, for the boys, and, 92-78, for the girls. The DeLand team had 12 boys and seven girls move on to the regional meet in Ocala looking to qualify for the state meet. In their last dual meet, the following won events: Emory Miles, Piper Jemison, Hayley Luznar, Lilla Dexheimer, Maddox Mules, Massimo Brunacci, Kenan Smith, Maverick Mules, Tim Robyns and Carlos Mize.

Both of DeLand High’s bowling teams have qualified for the FHSAA state championship to be held in Orlando at the Boardwalk Bowl. Tyler Sprague was the overall champ with a 700 series. The girls’ team fought back in the district from being down, 2-1, in a best-of-five format to earn the berth, with Seabreeze taking first. The boys were facing the same count, and battled back to take second behind Matanzas, to whom the DeLand Bulldogs handed their only loss earlier.

The Lady Bulldog volleyball team has gotten one step closer to the FHSAA state tournament. The DeLand squad beat Timber Creek of Orlando, 3-1 (25-20, 25-21, 23-25, 29-27). All they need to do is top Lake Brantley to be in the state finals.

The DeLand High girls’ golf team placed third in their district tournament, sending them on to the regional match. In the district, Lake Mary High was first with a 290 score, while Lake Brantley was second with 351, with the Lady Bulldogs one stroke back with a 352 round. DeLand was led by McKenzie Coody with a 79, followed by Sydney Knight at 87, Evie Cohen at 88, Josie Knight at 98 and Kylie Theessen at 105. Sydney Knight and Theessen are the only seniors on the team. The coach is Dina Pinson.

It has been reported that the DeLand High football team, which is playing well on the field, also did well during the first grading period. In the first nine weeks of the 2022-23 school year, of the 57 players on the district roster, 38 have a 3.0 GPA, with eight carrying a 4.0 or better GPA. The team’s GPA is 3.25, and only three players have more than one grade lower than a C. Grades are important to coach Rick Darlington, who has a mandatory class-attendance policy.

Stetson University

Stetson University’s Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience has received a Stage 1 Civic Innovation Challenge planning grant from the National Science Foundation for a project designed to help the City of Cape Canaveral reduce flooding and improve water quality in the face of rising seas. Dr. Jason Evans, executive director and associate professor of environmental science, is the principal investigator for the project.

The Stetson University board of trustees has approved Dr. John P. Downey, as Stetson’s next vice president of campus life and student success. He comes to DeLand from Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania, where he served as the dean of students.

Stetson University Athletics

The Stetson University Hatter soccer team stopped the men’s team from Jacksonville University, 2-1, with Andres Mata getting both Stetson goals. The Lady Hatter soccer team was halted by Kennesaw State, 6-1, with Kyleigh Thelen scoring the Stetson goal.

Stetson’s volleyball team defeated Queens College of Charlotte, 3-0 (26-24, 25-22, 25-11). The team greets Jacksonville at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, in the Edmunds Center.

Basketball season is upon us, and the Stetson men downed the University of Tampa, 78-70, in overtime. At the regulation end of the game, the score was knotted at 65. In overtime, Stetson outscored Tampa, 13-5. Jalen Blackmon scored 18 points for the Hats, while Wheza Panzo added 12 points, with eight rebounds. Luke Brown added 10 points to the score column, with Josh Smith also pulling down eight rebounds.

On Monday, Nov. 14, the men travel to face the University of South Florida, with game time to be determined. They face Rider and Niagara in Ireland Friday and Saturday, Nov. 18 and 19.

The Lady Hatter basketball team greets Johnson University at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, and Furman at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19.

The Stetson football team goes to St. Paul, Minnesota, to face St. Thomas at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12. On Saturday, Nov. 19, the Hatters play host to Presbyterian at 1 p.m. in Spec Martin Memorial Stadium.

— Send school news to Tony Tussing via email: at


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