BACKUPS — Four members of the DeLand High School band accompany members of the Singsations Youth Choir as they perform a Christmas concert. The musicians, in no particular order, are Jordan Hanstein, Kai Patrick, Ricky Harrison and Daniel Burrow. BEACON PHOTOS/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

Volusia County Schools has announced the five finalists for the Volusia County School District’s Teacher of the Year: Valerie Marcus, a fifth-grade teacher at DeBary Elementary School; Dodi Gaines, a Cambridge AICE Facilitator at Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach; Tamika Harvard, a math coach at Westside Elementary in Daytona Beach; Vonda Morris, a probability and statistics/AP statistics teacher at Spruce Creek High in Port Orange; and Cassandra Stewart, media specialist at R.J. Longstreet Elementary in Daytona Beach.

The Teacher of the Year will be named in January at a celebration hosted by FUTURES Foundation for Volusia County Schools.

The Teacher of the Year is selected through an application process. Each Volusia County school nominates a teacher, who completes an application to vie for the district title. The full list of nominees can be found at

The DeLand High School Bulldog boys’ basketball team will play host to their annual Holiday Basketball Tournament. The tournament will take place Wednesday-Friday, Dec. 28-30, in the Bulldog gym, with eight teams competing.

Games each day will be played at 3 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The complete bracket for the tournament has not been announced as of yet.

Winter Holiday for teachers in Volusia County public schools ends Monday, Jan. 2, with teachers going back that day. Students return to class Tuesday, Jan. 3. This also marks the beginning of the third grading period.

Due to Hurricane Nicole, 10 hours of instructional time was lost. Volusia County Schools and Volusia United Educators have agreed to use 10 consecutive Early Release Wednesdays to make up that time. Instead of being released one hour early on those Wednesdays, students will be released at the normal dismissal time. These are the 10 Wednesdays: Jan. 11, 18 and 25, Feb. 1, 8, 15 and 22, and March 1, 8 and 22.

DeLand High School

DeLand High School band director Monica Leimer is one of two Volusia County music teachers who have been nominated for the Manilow Music Teacher Award. This award recognizes an outstanding music teacher who helps to bring music to life for his or her students. The Manilow Music Teacher Award recipients receive $10,000, which includes a $5,000 cash prize and $5,000 in Manilow Bucks credit, which can be used to purchase instruments for the teacher’s classroom. The other Volusia County nominee is Lauren Martin of Spruce Creek High School in Port Orange.

DeLand High School Athletics

The DeLand High School Lady Bulldog soccer team won one and lost two as they defeated Father Lopez, 3-0, and lost to Seabreeze, 5-1, and Orangewood Christian, 4-0. In the win, Maria Montes scored twice, and Briana Seiple added the third goal. In the loss, Alina Evans had the lone DeLand goal in the loss to Seabreeze.

The DeLand boys’ soccer team was stopped twice, with Lake Highland Prep winning, 1-0, and Lake Mary topping the Bulldogs, 6-1.

The Bulldog basketball team defeated Innovation Montessori of Ocoee, 73-25, and lost to Lake Highland, 59-21, and to Spruce Creek, 69-42.

The Lady Bulldog basketball players also won one and lost one, as they defeated New Smyrna Beach, 42-24, but lost to Mount Dora Christian Academy, 53-38.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal has announced its nominees for Bowler of the Year. DeLand High has three of the six students nominated: Jesse Barger, Sam Martin and Tyler Sprague. Sebastian Baldwin was named an Athlete of Note.

The DeLand girls’ weightlifting team took two team second-place finishes in their most recent meet. Those athletes gaining first-place finishes were Rian Anderson (2), Alicia Robinson, Leah Jensen, Katyah Ross (2), Jaliyah Powell (2) and Mia Rhodes. Those gaining second-place finishes were Addison Ruocco (2), Kaia Horn (2), Hollee Brady (2), Robinson and Jensen. Third place went to Cheyenne Cartwright (2), Sophia Riley and Diana Delgado.

Those following the football finals know that Kissimmee Osceola was stopped by Lakeland playing for the state championship Dec. 17, while Apopka, another DeLand foe, faced Miami Columbus on the same day. Finally, Mainland, a third DeLand opponent, faced Lake Wales for the state title Dec. 16.

Stetson University Athletics

The Stetson University Lady Hatter basketball team pulled out a last-second victory over Tennessee State, 67-65, by scoring 5 points in the last 20 seconds of the game. Khamya McNeal scored 19 points and had five rebounds, Jordan Peete added 12 points, and Kiya Turner scored 11.

The Stetson women’s squad also faced FSU, losing, 83-48, with Alyssa Hargrove scoring 16 points and collecting three steals.

The Hatter men’s basketball team topped Webber International, 83-59, with Wheza Panzo scoring 30 points off of a shooting effort of 10 for 19 from beyond the 3-point line. The Hatters lost to the University of Florida, 89-51, with Alec Oglesby being the top scorer for Stetson with 9 points. Aubin Gateretse scored 8 points, with five rebounds and two blocked shots.

The United Soccer Coaches announced that senior midfielder Gio Rodriguez and freshman midfielder Andres Mata made the All-Atlantic Regional Team. Stetson was one of three ASUN teams to have athletes honored.

Upcoming athletic events for Stetson include the men’s basketball team playing at Lipscomb at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30, and the men and women playing host to North Florida Monday, Jan. 2, with the women playing at 5 p.m. and the men taking the floor at 7:30 p.m.

The Stetson men’s tennis team has released its 2023 schedule, with the team facing Georgia State, South Florida, Charleston, The Citadel and UCF, along with their ASUN Conference opponents. The team’s first outing in 2023 will be at 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, against Georgia State at the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center on the Stetson campus.

College honors

Joy Irwin-Evangelist, of Orange City, has earned a Bachelor of Science, Registered Nursing, at Minnesota State University – Mankato.

— Send school news to Tony Tussing via email: at


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