Tony Tussing
Tony Tussing

It has been reported that Stetson University, through making a commitment to providing a high-quality undergraduate education that focuses on hands-on learning, strong student-teacher relationships, a vibrant campus life and successful outcomes, has been named a College of Distinction for the 2023-24 academic year. To be named a College of Distinction, Stetson demonstrated excellence in undergraduate education in such factors as student engagement, teaching excellence, outcomes-based learning and community involvement.

In addition to this recognition, Stetson has consistently been named a top university in other rankings and lists. Stetson was selected as one of the best undergraduate institutions in the nation for 2023 by The Princeton Review and one of the top universities in the South, according to U.S. News & World Report. Unlike some college guides, Colleges of Distinction does not rank schools based on factors like faculty salaries, endowment size and peer opinion.

Volusia County Schools is offering a Summer Home Run Reading Challenge that started June 1 and continues through July 31. Students who read for 40 days this summer will earn prizes, including a game ticket to a Daytona Tortugas game Sunday, Aug. 20. The Daytona Tortugas are a co-sponsor of the program, along with FUTURES Foundation, Marco’s Pizza, Zaxby’s, Jeremiah’s and Volusia County Public Libraries.

Students need to log into Beanstack on Vportal to track their days at

Those rounding the bases win prizes. First base is 10 days of reading, second base is 20 days, third base is 30 days, and home plate is 40 days. Mad Science Edutainment will be offered for those who have reached second base July 10-12 and 14-15 at different public libraries in Volusia County.

Volusia County Schools, wishing everyone to be on time for the 2023-24 school year, has announced two important dates: Tuesday, Aug. 8, is when teachers return for preplanning, and Monday, Aug. 14, is the first day of school for students for the 2023-24 school year.

As mentioned in this column, DeLand Middle School recently retired Bridgette Gordon’s jersey. It has now been reported that she is on the move, and will serve as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the New Mexico State University women’s basketball team. She will be working once again with head coach Jody Adams, who was the head coach at Wichita State when Gordon worked there, as well as being a University of Tennessee former basketball player.

DeLand High School

DeLand High School has a new business partner, creating a relationship with Perry’s Ocean Edge Resort in Daytona Beach.

Earlier this month, 597 members of the DeLand High Class of 2023 graduated. Fifty-one members received scholar designations, and 205 earned merit designations. Seven members gained the Silver Florida Seal of Biliteracy, with another 26 earning the Gold Seal. Forty-three classmates have earned an A.A. or A.S. degree through the Dual Enrollment Program. The class performed 221,726.85 hours of community service.

Seventeen members are entering military service: Four enlisted in the U.S. Navy, five in the U.S. Army, two in the U.S. Air Force, and six in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Stetson University Athletics

The ASUN Conference has announced that Stetson University volleyball player Elena Djokovic is a recipient of the ASUN Postgraduate Scholarship. Djokovic graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA, with a major in finance and a minor in marketing. She was a four-time ASUN honor roll recipient, and a two-time ASUN All-Academic Team member.

Djokovic also was on the dean’s list every semester at Stetson, as well as a Student Athlete Advisory Committee member and a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society. She plans to attend Florida Southern College to pursue an MBA with data-analytic concentration.

The ASUN announced its annual All-Conference baseball teams. Stetson junior Austin Amaral was named All-Sun Second Team as a starting pitcher, while freshman Lorenzo Meola earned All-Sun Third Team at shortstop. Meola, along with Landon Moran and Jayden Hylton, was named to the ASUN All-Freshman Team.

As a reminder, football season is just around the corner. Stetson will open the 2023 season with a home game against St. Thomas University (Florida) at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2, in Spec Martin Memorial Stadium. The Hats play the following week, at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, also in Spec Martin Memorial Stadium, against Webber International University. Other home games include noon Saturday, Sept. 23, against Butler University; 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, against the University of St. Thomas; at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, against Davidson College; and at 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, against the University of San Diego.

College honors

India Sapp, of DeLand, has been named to the President’s List at the College of Health Professions at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.

Ethan Werblo, of Orange City, has been named to the dean’s list in the School of Business at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.

Anastasia Goelzer, of Deltona, has been named to the dean’s list for the spring 2023 semester at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee.

Michelle Sarkodee, of Deltona, has been named to the dean’s list for the spring 2023 semester at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. Her major is psychology.

Lauren Jacobs, of DeLand, has been named to the spring 2023 dean’s list at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia.

— Send school news to Tony Tussing via email: at


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