Galaxy Middle School in Deltona has a Science Olympiad team that competes on the state level. On March 25, the team rose to high expectations, as they placed second in Florida and were invited to compete in the nationals at Wichita State University.

Twenty of the 45 students who competed on the Galaxy team, along with four coaches, hope to be making this trip in mid-May.

Science Olympiad coach and math teacher Brian Innes said, “This is such an exceptional opportunity for our middle-school kids! Through this program, kids learn in-depth scientific knowledge, as well as other skills like teamwork and reasoning, that will help prepare them for college. It also shows dedication, as this competition is like many of the sports that kids are involved in today, requiring preparation, commitment, coaching and practice throughout the year.”

Galaxy’s GMS STEM Rocket Booster Committee President Cristina Avalo is asking individuals and businesses to consider donating to allow participants to attend the competition.

Avalo said, “We have $25,000 to raise before mid-May to cover air and land transportation, room and board, and supplies for the 20 kids to attend the competition. This is an investment in our kids, but also in the future of our local community, as many of these kids will go on to college, so any donation is greatly appreciated!”

Check donations can be made to GMS STEM Rocket Boosters and mailed to 2400 Eustace Ave., Deltona, FL 32725, which is the location of the school. A board member from the Booster Committee can be emailed at

GMS STEM Rocket Boosters Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization, and donors will receive a receipt for their donations.

A Science Olympiad team competes in 23 events, including studies, builds and skills.

The study categories include anatomy and physiology, meteorology, astronomy, geology and forestry.

Students in the build categories may make elastic-powered planes that fly for multiple minutes, cars that travel a specific distance using braking systems, roller coasters with ramps and loops, 5-gram bridges that support 15,000 grams, homemade pianos, and trebuchets that throw tennis balls into a bucket 16 meters away.

Skill events include mapmaking and map reading, cracking ciphers, solving crime scenes, written communication and doing complete experiments in 45 minutes. Almost every kind of science is studied.

The Science Olympiad was founded in 1984 as an international nonprofit organization that provides standards-based challenges pertaining to earth science, biology, chemistry, physics and engineering, to 6,000 teams at 425 tournaments in all 50 states.

According to their website at, Science Olympiad Org. is dedicated to improving the quality of science education, increasing students’ interest in science, and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education by students and teachers.

Volusia County Schools will host a spring instructional job fair Wednesday, April 26. In-person and virtual interview opportunities are available. To be considered for an invitation to the job fair, complete the VCS online application and complete the Job Fair Survey.

Interested candidates must currently hold or be eligible for Florida Department of Education certification. All certifications are welcome to apply.

The VCS Recruitment and Retention Team can be reached at 386-734-7190, ext. 20115 or 20168, or by email to

Florida State Fair

Many West Volusia students competed at the recent Florida State Fair in Tampa, including the following:

Emily Smith of Deltona High School exhibited in the sheep show, and she received Reserve Champion Hampshire Ewe honors.

Emma Watson, Anthony Luise and Gabriel Campbell, all of Heritage Middle School in Deltona, participated in the FFA meat-judging competition.

Julie Portillo of Ivy Hawn Charter School of the Arts in Lake Helen exhibited in the beef show, and received the Junior Champion of Champions Award. In the sheep show, she received first place in junior showmanship and another Junior Champion of Champions Award.

Livia Carbino of Volusia Pines Elementary School in Lake Helen exhibited in the Boer goat show and received first place in junior showmanship and two Reserve Division Champion Awards.

Abbeigh Millard of Florida Virtual School displayed in the rabbit show, and won two Best of Breed Awards, a first place in rabbit judging, and a fourth in senior showmanship, as well as a second-place Champion of Champions Award. She also participated in the sheep show, where she gained another second-place Champion of Champions award. Haddiegh Millard also exhibited at the fair in the Boer goat and sheep shows.

Another Florida Virtual School exhibitor was Ashlyn Miller, who exhibited in the poultry and sheep shows. She received second place in senior showmanship, while earning Reserve Champion Wether Dam. She also earned the Charlie Moore Scholarship.

Blue LakeElementary School

Blue Lake Elementary School in DeLand received Childhood Hunger Initiative Power Packs through a donation by the Tau Chi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Sorority. These bags provide breakfast and lunch for the weekends.

DeLand High School

Many DeLand High School students competed at the Volusia County World Languages Festival. The following competitors are from the classes of teacher Deborah Clouser: Audrey Brown, Diani Carrero, Olivia Doan, Rebecca Gunsallus, Richard Harrison, Suri Hernandez, Mia Jackson, Riley Kellogg, Ainsley LaRue, Hamilton Lopides, Serena Miller, Lily Moore, Amy Nguyen, Eliam Oliveras, Caleese Parillo, Isabella Qu, Thomas Rogers and Lily Stephenson.

DeLand High School Athletics

The DeLand High Bulldog Football Golf Tournament will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, April 15, on the links at LPGA. Last-minute registration can be completed at

The DeLand High School Bulldog boys’ weightlifting team took runner-up spots in both the traditional lifts and Olympic lifts at the FHSAA District Championships. Those taking first place were Erick Gilbert, Jayden Lewis, Jaycee Kane (2) and MJ Smokes.

Those earning second place were Gilbert, Lewis, Jackson Oldham and Smokes, while thirds were gained by Abdullah Knaio, Dante Mascio, Oldham, Chandler Shacklette and Vincent Chen.

Reed Wilgers, Wyatt Dunne and Rasheed White placed fourth, and Johan Rodriguez, Ayden Burns, Knaio and Matthew Bradshaw took fifth place.

Three members of the Bulldog track team qualified for the Florida Relays in Gainesville on the University of Florida track: Kylie Neira placed fifth in the pole vault at 11 feet, 5.75 inches, which is the same place Emily Lamb claimed in the javelin at 119 feet, 6 inches. Shamia Allen long-jumped 16 feet, 4.25 inches to place 20th.

DeLand High’s baseball team topped Pine Ridge, 9-4, but was stopped by Windermere, 14-6. The Bulldogs jumped right back in the win column with a 18-1 victory over Atlantic.

The Lady Bulldog softball team was nipped by Taylor, 7-6, in extra innings. Sienna Peele tripled with three RBIs, while Payton Mathis doubled with two RBIs. The team then beat Atlantic, 9-0, with Alexandra Trenholm, Brianne Yocum and Luci Walters each tripling. The team was then again stopped by Taylor, 4-2.

The flag-football team halted University, 13-0, and Flagler Palm Coast, 24-18.

The beach-volleyball team lost to Spruce Creek, 3-2, but downed Atlantic, 5-0.

The DeLand High baseball team greets Seabreeze at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 13, and the DeLand High softball team greets New Smyrna Beach at 4:30 p.m. that same day.

Also on Thursday, April 13, the JV-B baseball team hosts Seabreeze at 4 p.m., and the JV-A baseball team faces Spruce Creek at 7 p.m.

The district tennis tournament takes place at 10 a.m. Thursday and Friday, April 13 and 14, at the Florida Tennis Club in Daytona Beach.

On Monday, April 17, the JV-B baseball team faces Atlantic at 4 p.m., and the softball team plays at home against Pine Ridge at 4:30 p.m.

The Five Star Conference Baseball Championships will be played Monday-Thursday, April 17-20.

Deltona High School

The School Advisory Council at Deltona High School will meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, in the Learning Commons.

The Deltona High Wolf track teams participated in the inaugural Earl Jackson Relays at Mainland High School. Carlos Cerrud claimed first place in the 1,600-meter race at 4:42.84, coming from 10 meters back for the win. The girls’ team tied for second, while the boys finished fourth.

DeLand Lightning Bolts Track Club

Some of the members of the DeLand Lightning Bolts Track Club traveled to Jacksonville to compete in the Speed Capital North Florida Invitational. Lane Roberts grabbed off three firsts in the 14- to 15-year-old division, winning the 100 hurdles at 17.82, the discus at 80 feet, 1/4 inch, and the shot put at 40 feet, 2 inches. Nalin Rogers placed second in the same shot put competition at 32 feet, 1/4 inch, while taking fifth in the long jump, and earning a place in the 100 and 400 meters.

Stetson University

Stetson University will be hosting genocide studies scholar and professor of political science Dr. A. Dirk Moses on Thursday, April 20. Moses will give the 2023 Holocaust Memorial Lecture 7-9 p.m. in the Stetson Room. The event is free and open to the public.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 22, Stetson will host a guitar workshop that will feature internationally famed Cuban guitarist Manuel Barrueco.

Stetson University Athletics

Stetson University tennis player Anais Gabriel has been named ASUN Player of the Week, and Stetson lacrosse player Samantha Paglino has been named the ASUN Lacrosse Player of the Week.

The Stetson Lady Hatter softball team recently played three games against North Florida, losing 5-1 and 5-2 in the first two, and winning 1-0 in the last of the games. The Lady Hatters lost to nationally ranked Florida, 8-0, and split with Lipscomb, winning 8-5 and losing 2-1.

The Hatter baseball team was stopped by North Florida, 16-6, with Yohann Dessureault and Daniel Labrador homering. In the next game with North Florida, the Hatters gave up three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to lose, 8-7, with David Bermudez and Labrador homering.

Against North Alabama, the Stetson squad won 5-2 and 12-7. In these games, Dessureault and Cameron Hill (2) hit the ball out of the park, while in the first game, Austin Amaral recorded 10 strikeouts while pitching.

The lacrosse team, while in New England, downed Hartford, 23-6, with Jessica Duggan and Aine Williams each scoring four goals. They then stopped Central Connecticut, 19-9, with Georgia Goering, Duggan and Jordyn Humphrey each scoring three goals.

The lacrosse team faces Queens at 3 p.m. Thursday, April 20, on Stetson’s campus field.

College honors

Steven Peterson of Deltona was recently initiated into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, the nation’s oldest and most selective all-discipline collegiate honor society. Peterson was initiated at Nova Southeastern University.

— Send school news to Tony Tussing via email: at


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