SCHOLARSHIP WINNER — Elizabeth “Betsy” Sereikas, center, takes a photo with her parents, George and Andrea, after graduating from high school. Betsy is the recipient of a $1,000 college scholarship from the Council of Catholic Women at her church, St. Ann’s Catholic Church in DeBary. The students have to meet stringent criteria to be selected. Betsy Sereikas was home-schooled and dually enrolled at Daytona State College, with a 4.8 GPA. She is a member of the academic Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, has been on the President’s List at Daytona State College for six consecutive semesters, is an SAT Bootcamp tutor, works as a gymnastics coach at RAD Gymnastics, and has been a youth Mass usher for years. Director of Faith Formation Nelson Thielen calls her a cornerstone. Daytona State College assistant professor Joshua Johnson says Betsy has been a model student, presenting herself in professional and modest dress and consistently displaying professional student behavior. She was accepted to four colleges, UCF, UF, FSU and USF, choosing UCF for her continuing education in biomedical sciences, creating prosthetic body parts. Way to go, Betsy!

Volusia County Schools is offering a jump-start biology program for students who are entering high-school biology in 2023-24. The program’s purpose is to help students have a successful outcome in biology during the 2023-24 school year, and to build the skills needed on the state biology end-of-course exam, which is a graduation requirement.

All students who will be entering the class in the fall of 2023 are invited to attend this free jump-start program at their high school.

The program on the west side of the county will take place 9 a.m.-noon June 19-28, with a field study trip 9 a.m.-2:35 p.m. June 26 to Rose Bay.

Highlights of the program include daily biology instruction to get a head start for the next school year, and daily hands-on labs and other activities.

Students will need to follow the normal school dress code, including closed-toe shoes. An emergency contact and parent permission form will need to be submitted.

If you are interested, consult your guidance director at your individual school.

The last day of school for students will be Friday, June 2. The last day for teachers will be Tuesday, June 6. Grades for elementary-school students will be on the Parent Portal June 13, while for middle- and high-school grades, a deadline has not yet been determined.

Many of the elementary schools in the area hold some type of last walk honors for those who are now graduating. Seniors in their cap and gown are invited on designated dates to come and walk through their former elementary school where they finished fifth grade. Seniors should check with their elementary school to find out if they hold such a day and at what time it takes place.

Last week, this column stated that Bridgette Gordon had her jersey number retired at DeLand Middle School and that this column would present the honors she had obtained. This week, the info is about her high-school career at DeLand High School.

During her career at DHS, she scored 2,140 points, averaging 31 points per game. In 1984-85, she was named to the Parade High School All-American team and the Street and Smith High School All-American team.

In 1984, she was named Miss Florida Basketball, while also being named the 4A FHSAA Girls Basketball State Champions MVP.

Blue Lake Elementary School

Jimena Alvarado Ochoa, who teaches at Blue Lake Elementary School in DeLand, has been selected by the school’s staff as its First-Year Teacher of the Year.

Blue Lake congratulates Zamarie Starke as the Student of the Month, who was honored by the DeLand City Commission.

Discovery Elementary School

Discovery Elementary School in Deltona has named coach Devin Rice as its First-Year Teacher of the Year.

Discovery also congratulates Theophile Viard as the Deltona City Commission’s Star Student of the Month.

McInnis Elementary School

The students and staff at McInnis Elementary School in DeLeon Springs have given a name to their bobcat mascot. He will now be known as Pounce DeLeon.

Manatee Cove Elementary School

Manatee Cove Elementary School in Orange City will have its annual Field Day on Friday, May 26. Volunteers are needed to assist with the day’s program. If you would like to volunteer, call the school at 386-968-0004, ext. 45425. Note that you must have an approved volunteer application on file with the Volusia County School District to volunteer. The deadline for letting them know is May 22.

Orange City Elementary School

Orange City Elementary School’s First-Year Teacher of the Year is Kelsey Younk.

Sunrise Elementary School

Sunrise Elementary School in Deltona has listed the times and dates of its End of the Year Awards presentations: 8:30-9:15 a.m. Tuesday, May 30, for second grade, along with the classes of Jennifer Denesha and Rachel Numerick; 9:30-10:15 a.m. Tuesday, May 30, for third grade, along with the class of Jessica Diaz; 8:15-10:15 a.m. Wednesday, May 31, for fifth-grade graduation and awards; 8:30-9:15 a.m. Thursday, June 1, for VPK classes; 9:30-10:15 a.m. Thursday, June 1, for kindergarten classes; 8:15-9:15 a.m. Friday, June 2, for fourth grade, along with the classes of Frenchie Rollins, Layla Hall and Kiersten Beckford; 9:30-10:15 a.m. Friday, June 2, for first grade.

Woodward Avenue Elementary School

Woodward Avenue Elementary School in DeLand celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week with the help of Beery Roofing & Redesign LLC, Positive Vibes, the Daytona Tortugas and J&H Mirror and Glass. The school offered extra thanks to the Woodward PTA, Carol Larson and Angel Gomez.

Deltona Middle School

Deltona Middle School congratulates Gladys Ramos for being named the school’s First-Year Teacher of the Year.

Heritage Middle School

Victoria Flinn is the First-Year Teacher of the Year at Heritage Middle School in Deltona, and has also been named the Volusia County Secondary First-Year Teacher of the Year.

River Springs Middle School

Loften Sims is the First-Year Teacher of the Year at River Springs Middle School in Orange City.

DeLand High School

Mackenzie Cunningham, a student at DeLand High School, is currently running for Area 3 state vice president for the National FFA Organization.

FHSAA regional track championships

A track athlete must be in five track meets during the regular season to qualify for the FHSAA district meet. At that meet, athletes must be in the top four to advance to the regional meet, where they must be in the top two to advance automatically to the FHSAA state track meet. Another eight at-large athletes are selected to also advance to the state meet, with the eight best times representing these at-large nominees. There are 16 districts per classification and four regionals.

The FHSAA state meets will be held at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville on May 17 for A1 teams, May 18 for A2 teams, May 19 for A3 teams, and May 20 for A4 teams. Action begins at 1 p.m. daily for field events, with the majority of the running starting at 5 p.m.

DeLand High School found sophomore Kylie Neira winning the 4A regional pole-vault event with a vault of 11 feet, 9.25 inches. Sophomore Emily Lamb placed third in the javelin, with a personal best of 127 feet, 11 inches, and should be one of those at-large selections. She also placed eighth in the discus at 105 feet, 11 inches.

Freshman Anna Vandell placed eighth out of 16 in the high jump at 4 feet, 11.75 inches. Junior MJ Smokes placed 12th in the shot put, with a personal best of 47 feet, 9.25 inches.

Orange City University High School had two athletes winning events at the 4A regional. Senior Andreas Schulz won ambulatory 100, the shot put, and the 400 and 200, while senior Angel Barnes won the 800 and took second in the 200, advancing in both to the state meet. Schulz won the 100 at 12.04; the shot put at 28 feet, 9.25 inches; the 400 at 57.99; and the 200 at 24.48. Barnes’ times were 2:52.99 in the 800, and 36.15 in the 200.

University did not have anyone else automatically qualify for the state meet, but numerous athletes placed in the regional meet, including Nyrania Barr-Miller, who placed sixth in the 200 at 25.03, ninth in the 400 at 58.83, and 14th in the 100 hurdles at 19.00, after falling in the race.

Hannah Judge finished seventh in the 1,600 at 5:22.50, Corey Johnson was ninth in the 1,600 at 4:35.81, Morgan Harvill was 10th in the 3,200 at 11:57.49, Morgan Northey in the discus at 97 feet, 5 inches, Darrian Morris in the discus at 137 feet, 7 inches, and the 4X800 relay for girls finished 14th at 10:40.58.

The DeLand High girls’ squad finished 16th with 18 points, while the University girls finished 27th with 5 points.

At the Region 2-3A meet at Davenport High School, the Deltona Pine Ridge High School boys scored 4 points, placing them in 23rd place, while the girls scored the same amount but were in 26th. The Deltona High team did not score any points.

The Pine Ridge boys found Elijah Thompson taking fifth in the 200 at 22.41, and 14th in the 100 at 11.25, while the school’s 4X100 boys’ relay team was 12th at 43.85. Chelsea Hunt placed fifth in the triple jump at 33 feet, 7.25 inches.

Deltona Trinity Christian Academy participated in the 1A Region 2 meet at Mount Dora Christian Academy. Raylin Adcock placed seventh in the long jump, with a 16-foot-2.5-inch jump; eighth in the triple jump with a 31-foot-11.5-inch effort; ninth in the 100 hurdles at 18.02; and 11th in the 400 hurdles at 1:14.67.

Malia Marrow was 12th in the triple jump with a 29-foot-5.25-inch effort, while Emma Stites threw the javelin 79 feet, 8 inches, for 14th place. The girls’ 4X400 relay was 15th at 5:06.57.

The boys’ 4X100 relay team was 11th at 46.16, while Jaden Rodriguez was 12th in the 110 high hurdles at 19.12, followed by Diego Alvarez in the same event at 13th at 20.06, while placing 12th in the 400 hurdles at 64.69.

Quincy Lee was 15th in the high jump at 4 feet, 9.75 inches, while the boys’ 4X400 relay ran the mile in 3:44.84 for 15th place.

DeLand High School Athletics

The DeLand High School Bulldog football team helped clean up the Spring Hill area. Coach Rick Darlington holds many high expectations of the Bulldog football players on and off the football field. He expects the players to sit in the front of the classroom, and he tracks attendance, grades, absences and tardies. This season, the team’s overall GPA was 3.25.

State weightlifting champion Mia Rhodes was recently recognized by the Volusia County School Board. She also has been named the 2023 Florida Dairy Farmers Miss Weightlifting.

The top 10 high-school girls’ bowling tournament scores from over the years were announced. DeLand’s Amy Seymour leads the way with a 2,776 total. She also holds the fourth spot with a 2,715 total. DeLand’s Jennifer Brown holds the fifth spot with a 2,683 total.

The DeLand baseball team closed out its season with a district loss to Spruce Creek, 10-0. They finished with a 14-12 mark.

Stetson University Athletics

The Stetson University Hatter men’s basketball program is hosting three summer camps. The dates are June 3-4, June 5-8 and July 10-13. For more information, email to

The Stetson baseball team lost to FGCU in seven innings, 11-1, but bounced back to win, 10-7, with Christian Pregent and Drew Wyers hitting pitches out of the park.

The Stetson softball team lost to North Alabama, 3-0 and 8-5, winning the third game, 3-2. Evette Morgan hit a grand slam in the second game.

The Lady Hatter beach volleyball team faced No. 2 TCU in the first round of the NCAA tournament. TCU defeated the No. 15 team, Stetson, 3-0.

College honors

Shianne Jackson, of DeBary, has earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Flagler College in St. Augustine.

Kenrick Basdeo, of DeBary, has earned an A.B. in Asian Languages and Literature from the University of Georgia.

Lila Dianne Villalobos, of DeLand, has earned a Master of Fine Arts in Art from the University of Georgia.

Isaac Denigan and Kristin Hunte, both of DeLand, have graduated from the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky.

— Send school news to Tony Tussing via email: at


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