ALL PRO DADS — Fathers and their children, who are students at Freedom Elementary School in DeLand, gather for a photo at the first-ever meeting of a program called All Pro Dads. All Pro Dads is a national fatherhood program with the goal of encouraging stronger relationships between dads and their kids, and to bring intentional focus to helping dads love and co-lead their families well. Formed by Pat Dunn in 2022, the highlight of the meeting was when all of the dads told each of their kids, “I’m proud of you because… .” PHOTO COURTESY PAT DUNN

The final FACT (Families and Community Together) Fair of this school year is 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, April 20, at New Smyrna Beach High School. All kinds of exhibitors and information booths will be available on many topics.

Volusia County Schools, in conjunction with the Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resource System, is offering the program “What’s Next? Life After High School,” which is for families of students with special needs.

The program is 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Willie Miller Instructional Center, at 1 Aerospace Blvd., No. 331, Daytona Beach. Those planning to attend need to register at

Topics to be covered include guardianship, special-needs financial planning, graduation and deferment options, vocational rehabilitation, supportive employment, postsecondary options, autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, technology tools, Project SEARCH, college disability services, Individual Education Plan (IEP) and visual support.

Lunch will be provided with registration. There will be no child care provided, but children are welcome.

For assistance, accommodations or further information, email to or call 386-255-6475, ext. 38337.

Don’t forget that free sports physicals and ECG screening will take place 5-9 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, April 12-14, and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, April 15, at Daytona International Speedway. You must register and have certain forms filled out prior to the physicals.

Visit to register.

For more information, email to

Volusia County Schools hosted a districtwide pitch competition for high-school students, to pitch their business ideas live to local judges. This was similar to the television show Shark Tank. The competition taught high-schoolers about entrepreneurship and idea generation.

This event took place March 28 at The Center at Deltona.

Finalists will compete in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship regional and national competitions.

DeLand Middle School

DeLand Middle School students who earned honors at the Florida State Fair include Mia Portillo, who exhibited in the sheep show, while taking fourth place in intermediate showmanship, and the intermediate level Champion of Champions award. Adalyn Goodwin, Chloe Strole and Portillo exhibited in the beef cattle shows, Easton Howell and Emma Lightey showed in the swine show, and Malia Sabatini and Kelsey Sabatini exhibited in the Boer goat division.

The DeLand Middle School FFA livestock judging team of Portillo, Goodwin, M. Sabatini and Isabella Norman-Rusnak won the state championship in the 2023 Florida FFA State Middle School Livestock Evaluation CDE. Portillo earned the reserve high individual overall honor, with Goodwin taking sixth place and Sabatini eighth.

The middle-school basketball season has opened for 2023. DeLand Middle will have home games on April 14, 18, 20, 25 and 27, as well as on May 2 and 4. The first game, either boys or girls, will be at 5:30 p.m. Tickets cost $4.

Deltona Middle School

The Deltona Middle School band achieved a superior rating and a first-place finish at the Universal Music Festival. That’s not all, as they were awarded Grand Champion for being the best band overall. George Netterville is the band director.

DeLand High School

DeLand High School students who are interested in dual enrollment need to take the PERT (Postsecondary Education Readiness Test), which will be administered on campus Monday-Wednesday, April 17-19. Students must sign up to take the PERT by Tuesday, April 11, at Click on “Parents & Students” to begin the process.

To be eligible, a student must be in grades six-12, have a GPA in a high-school-level course, have a minimum of a 3.0 unweighted high-school GPA, and qualifying test scores, plus other requirements, which can be determined by visiting your guidance counselor.

Deltona High School

Deltona High School congratulates three of its teachers for being nominated for professional honors: Kelley Daly, nominated for Volusia County Inclusion Teacher of the Year; Amanda Forsythe, nominated as Deltona’s First Year Teacher of the Year, as well as the school’s nominee for the Volusia Council for Exceptional Children’s Rookie Teacher of the Year; and Anthony Saunders, Deltona High’s Crystal Apple nominee.

Blake Hinson, who plays collegiate basketball at the University of Pittsburgh and is a Deltona High grad, averaged 15.3 points per game and 6.0 rebounds per game, and had 19 blocked shots during the season, while the team went 24-12 on the season. The team went 1-1 in the NCAA tournament by downing Iowa State, 59-41, but losing to Xavier, 84-73, in which Hinson scored 18 points while grabbing five rebounds. The team also had to play their way into the NCAA tournament by defeating Mississippi State, 60-59.

Pine Ridge High School

Pine Ridge High School in Deltona congratulates Regan Gatz for winning the Youth Volunteer of the Year Award. She volunteered more than 500 hours at the school, with most being dedicated to the performing arts.

At the Florida State Fair, Cylee Jo Reinke showed in the swine show and Harmony Richardson displayed in the beef show. C. Reinke, Hayden Reinke, Gabriel Burke and Wyatt Blair competed for the FFA livestock judging division.

The Pine Ridge track teams participated in the inaugural Earl Jackson Relays at Mainland High School. The Panther boys were second overall, with the girls taking third.

Winning events were Maya Heard, leading the way in the 100-meter high hurdles at 18.42, while the team of Samuel Ynguil, Cavan Alston, Hunter Kemp and William Steinebach claimed first in the distance medley relay at 12:47.77. Ruben Smith, Caleb Ray, Elijah Thompson and Elijah Laird earned first in the 800-sprint medley at 1:42.44.

Taylor Middle-High School

Taylor Middle-High School in Pierson honors Dr. Jose Colon, the Taylor CTE facilitator, for being named the school’s Crystal Apple nominee.

World Foreign Language Festival

DeLand High School had many students taking honors at the Volusia County World Foreign Language Festival. Five DHS teachers had students who took first place at the festival. They include Keny Valcarcel, whose students Gabrielle Miller and Milly Lorenzo won first place; Katheushka Rentas, whose students Sabre Dieckhoff, Katelynn Hatfield and Le’Keycia Williams took first place; and Alexandra Rohr, whose students Chloe Brockschmidt, Lilly Darlington (2), Alexis Gilbert, Angel Rios and Rolando Ruvalcaba won first place. In columns to come, the honored students of DHS teachers Jeanne Jendrzejewski and Deborah Clouser will be listed.

DeLand High School Athletics

The DeLand High School Bulldog boys’ weightlifting team took first in both divisions in a three-way match with Father Lopez and Deltona. At the contest, DeLand High seniors Sean Hulsman, Erick Gilbert, Reed Wilgers, Jayden Lewis, Jaycee Kane, Tripp Koshiol and Rasheed White were honored.

Those taking first were Gilbert (2), Wilgers (2), Lewis (2), Kane (2), Wyatt Dunne (2), Chandler Shacklette (2) and MJ Smokes (2). Lifting enough weight to take second were Ayden Burns (2), Abdullah Knaio (2), Mark Higbee, Dante Mascio (2), Koshiol, White and Vincent Chen. Those gaining thirds were Johan Rodriguez (2) and Higbee.

DeLand High spring football will begin Monday, April 24. The annual Green and Gold Game will be Friday, May 12, and the Spring Game will be Friday, May 19.

The Lady Bulldog flag-football team downed Deltona for their first win of the season 18-0. Quarterback Amelie Kurlander threw for two TDs, while Maiya Shearer ran for 53 yards on six carries. Tatiana Gonzalez-Garcia scored six tackles and a sack, with Mia Rhodes grabbing an interception. In all, the team ran for 61 yards and gained 88 yards passing.

The Lady Bulldog softball team lost to Orlando Christian Prep, 13-3, with the winners scoring 11 runs in the fifth inning. Payton Mathis hit a home run.

The Lady Bulldogs then lost to Spruce Creek, 12-0, but bounced back with a 9-1 win over Father Lopez, with Teagan Squires going 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs, as Mathis also went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.

The Bulldog baseball team topped Lake Brantley, 2-1, with Anthony Ruocco hitting a double while going 2-for-4, while Luke Hoffmann doubled.

The DeLand High tennis teams faced Father Lopez, losing with similar scores. The girls lost, 7-0, while the boys lost, 6-1, with Tyson Sames scoring the only DeLand point.

The DeLand High beach-volleyball team outscored Lake Mary Prep, 4-1. They have gone undefeated since their opening loss of the season.

The DeLand High track teams went to Titusville to participate in the 17-team Astronaut Invitational, which found the boys placing fifth and the girls seventh.

The lone winner for DeLand was sophomore Emily Lamb, who won the high jump at 4 feet, 11.75 inches. She also took second in the discus throw with a 110-foot-10-inch effort, and a third in the javelin throw with a 120-feet-2-inch effort.

Anna Vandell took second in the high jump 2 inches behind Lamb. Getting third-place finishes were Owen York in the discus, James Gannon in the 800, Jamil Cunningham in the 100, and Sydney Neira in the 400 hurdles.

The upcoming sports calendar for the Bulldogs has the track team going to the Seminole Invite in Sanford at 3 p.m. Friday, April 7, with the baseball team hosting Spruce Creek on Conrad Field at 7 p.m.

On Monday, April 10, the baseball team plays at Merritt Island at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., and the softball team plays at Mainland at 4:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, April 12, the track team competes in the 5 Star Conference Championships at Flagler Palm Coast at 2 p.m., and the beach volleyball team is at Matanzas High at 4 p.m. That same day, the JV-A baseball team greets Flagler Palm Coast and the JV-B team greets University, both at 4 p.m.

DeLand Lightning Bolts Track Club

The DeLand Lightning Bolts Track Club competed in the 27th annual Gainesville Striders Team Championships on the University of Florida track. They scored points in seven of the 22 age-group categories offered. Those taking first for the Lightning Bolts were Delise Johnson, Kalyn Bland, Shamia Allen, Edward Bland, Cornelius Dunn Jr., Kadren Chisholm and Lane Roberts.

Stetson University

TOP PRIZE — Stetson University student Justice Miguel Yates of DeLand, a bass-baritone, recently competed in the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota statewide classical vocal competition for students between the ages of 17 and 22. Twenty-seven applicants from 13 schools participated, with students from Stetson University taking the top three prizes. Yates took first place with a prize of $2,000. Second place, with a prize of $1,500, was awarded to soprano Kaylan Hernandez from Miami, and soprano Grace Lauther of Naples took third place with a prize of $1,000.

Tera Alcala is the new associate vice president for budget and financial planning at Stetson University. She brings more than 25 years of progressive accounting and financial-management experience.

Alcala comes to Stetson from the University of Central Florida.

Stetson University Athletics

Stetson University senior Shae Henson and sophomore Karin Zolnercikova have been named the ASUN Beach Volleyball Pair of the Week. The team defeated Coastal Carolina, 4-1, and FGCU, 3-2.

The Stetson men’s basketball team was presented with an invitation to compete in the Discount Tire College Basketball Invitational. The Hats lost their opening game in the tournament, 87-83, in overtime to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Jalen Blackmon dropped 22 points, and Stephan Swenson added 20 points with eight rebounds. Mahamadou Diawara scored 18 points, while grabbing 20 rebounds, and Alex Oglesby scored 12 points.

The Hats finished their season with a 17-14 record, while averaging 76.7 points per game and giving up 73.3 points per game.

In the tournament, ASUN was also represented by North Alabama, who lost their opener to Southern Utah, 72-50, and by Eastern Kentucky, who lost to Charlotte, 71-68, in the championship.

Eastern Kentucky stopped Cleveland State, 91-75, in overtime, Indiana State, 89-88, in overtime, and Southern Utah, 108-106, in double overtime.

The Stetson baseball team topped Kennesaw State, 1-0, with David Bermudez homering, and then lost to Bethune-Cookman, 13-5, with Daniel Labrador hitting two out of the park. They then beat North Florida, 7-5, with Bermudez hitting one out.

The Lady Hatter lacrosse team topped Wagner, 14-11, with Camden Frissora scoring 3 points, while Samantha Paglino, Jessie Duggan and Katie Kornacki each scored 2.

The Stetson women’s tennis team defeated ranked FGCU, 5-2, while the men lost, 5-2.

The softball team played No. 8 University of Florida, with a 23-5 record. The Lady Hats came up short on the scoring side, 4-1; however, there was no score until the fourth inning. Evette Morgan homered.

On Saturday, April 8, the women’s tennis team meets Queens at 10 a.m., and the men’s team faces the same school at 2 p.m.

On Tuesday, April 11, the Hatter baseball players play host to UCF at 6:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, April 12, the softball team faces USF on campus at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

— Send school news to Tony Tussing via email: at


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