BATON-TWIRLING MEDALISTS — Maia and Zoey Natal, of DeLand, recently competed in the Southeast Regional Championship baton-twirling competition in Winter Haven. There were 150 athletes competing in many levels of twirling. Maia and Zoey entered the Novice Duet event for ages 10-13. They performed a dropless routine and were awarded third-place medals, as well as an award for no drops. Maia and Zoey attend DeLand Middle School, and are the daughters of Andres and Lizy Natal. PHOTO COURTESY LINDA BATES

Volusia County middle-school cross-country competition is back underway. The first competitive run for the 2023 season was Sept. 9 at Ivy Hawn Charter School in Lake Helen. The program has five different dates leading to the Volusia County Schools championship on Saturday, Oct. 21, at DeLand Middle School.

The next event will be Saturday, Sept. 23, at Creekside Middle School in Port Orange. Other events leading to the championship include a Saturday, Sept. 30, race at DeLand Middle; a Saturday, Oct. 7, race at Ormond Beach Middle School; and a Saturday, Oct. 14, race at Galaxy Middle School in Deltona.

The last three events listed above will begin at 8 a.m. The other dates do not have a starting time listed; therefore check with the host schools prior to race day.

There are three optional races for these middle-school cross-country runners. The first two took place prior to this writing, with the final optional event being FLRUNNERS in Lakeland on Friday, Oct. 6. Athletes need to enter these on their own, not through their school.

There is one other race that is available, but athletes must meet a qualifying standard to participate. This is the FLYRA State Meet in Lakeland on Saturday, Oct. 28.

To compete in the local series, runners need to go through their coach at their school, and must have all necessary paperwork turned in prior to participating. This includes a physical and several forms filled out and signed by parents or guardians.

On the local level, athletes must participate in 50 percent of the local races to have their times/points counted in the Middle-School Championship race.

The Volusia Sheriff’s Office has rolled out its newest safety campaign, “See Something, Say Something.” This program encourages individuals to report suspicious activities or behaviors to authorities. This vital tool helps prevent potential threats and fosters a sense of collective responsibility.

Seniors in the Class of 2024 have the opportunity to apply for Florida Bright Future Scholarships. More information and an application for Florida Financial Aid is available beginning Sunday, Oct. 1.

Information on scholarships and grant programs can be found at

Deltona Middle School

Deltona Middle School will have Picture Day on Friday, Oct. 13.

Heritage Middle School

Dr. Allison Sheridan, a teacher at Heritage Middle School in Deltona, has been selected as the Volusia County Schools Influencer of the Month. Dr. Sheridan has recently been honored as one of only three American Civic Education Award recipients.

Southwestern Middle School

Southwestern Middle School in DeLand has named Heidi Campbell as its nominee for Volusia County Teacher of the Year.

DeLand High School

DeLand High School has named its finalists for Teacher of the Year: Amy Dempsey, Jackie Johnson, Monica Leimer, Melissa Lundell, Cindy Rosso and Kristen Proctor.

Deltona High School

Deltona High School has selected Kelley Daly as its nominee for Volusia County Teacher of the Year.

The Wolf cross-country team placed seventh at the Coach Joe McKinney Classic, with Carlos Cerrud placing eighth at 16:47.8.

Pine Ridge High School

Pine Ridge High School in Deltona has 12 finalists for Teacher of the Year: Dan Arnold, Lynn Boyles, Theresa Brazee, Katie Buday, Carey Davis, Tina Hackey, Surbhi Jinandra, Jennifer Lupica, Christian Marrero, Rose Mayr, Marlo Spallone and Javier Vega.

Pine Ridge has also announced that after-school tutoring is available. This takes place in the media center 3:40-4:40 p.m. Mondays, and 2:40-3:40 p.m. Wednesdays. Subjects available include English, math, social studies, science, Spanish, computer science/coding and test prep. All students are welcome. Questions can be asked of Kathryn Buday in Room 6-212.

University High School

University High School in Orange City has named Tyler Cannon, Dawn Drysdale, Tricia Fulsang, Maureen Mack and Leanna Parrish as finalists for the school’s Teacher of the Year.

University High also has tutoring opportunities for students. After-school tutoring is 3:45-4:45 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in the media center, with all grade levels welcome.

The school also has Credit Retrieval Saturdays 9 a.m.-2 p.m. in the media center.

ACT-NCR Bootcamp takes place 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays in the media center and is open to select 11th- and 12th-graders. Bootcamp is only available on Sept. 30, Oct. 7 and Oct. 14.

The cross-country teams recently traveled to New Smyrna Beach to compete in the Coach Joe McKinney Classic, with the girls finishing 10th and the boys ninth. The top runners were Morgan Harvill in fifth at 19:56.6 and Mason Brown in 20th at 17:35.4.

West Volusia high-school football

Varsity football games played Sept. 8 had DeLand topping Lake City Columbia, 35-21; Pine Ridge of Deltona stopping Space Coast, 35-0; and Orange City University defeating Seabreeze, 64-36. Pierson Taylor was stopped by Cocoa Beach, 36-6, as was Deltona Trinity Christian by Aucilla Christian, 48-0. The Deltona game with Matanzas was postponed to Monday, Oct. 2.

The games for Friday, Sept. 22, have DeLand hosting Seabreeze, Pine Ridge going to Lake Howell, and Deltona Trinity Christian greeting Keswick Christian. All games listed are at 7 p.m.

DeLand High School Athletics

The DeLand High School Bulldog boys’ swim team stopped Spruce Creek, 127-43, while the Lady Bulldogs lost 100-70.

The Bullpup junior-varsity football team was victorious over Pine Ridge, 44-0.

The Bulldog bowlers found the boys defeating Matanzas, 4-3, and Palatka, 5-2, and the girls losing 6-1 and 7-0, respectively.

The Lady Bulldog golfers stopped Spruce Creek, 157-191, with McKenzie Coody scoring 38, followed by Sydney Fosnow at 39. They also placed second out of six teams in the 9-Hole Challenge played in Daytona Beach. This was won by The Master’s Academy. Coody was the DeLand low medalist with a 38.

The Bulldog golfers opened with a win over Lake Howell, 149-165.

The Lady Bulldog varsity volleyball team competed in the Nike Championship in Tampa. They lost to Gulliver Prep, 2-1, to Merritt Island, 2-0, and to Santa Fe, 2-1, while stopping Richmond Hill of Georgia, 2-0, Canterbury, 2-0, and St. Agnes of Minnesota, 2-1. They also topped Hagerty, 3-2.

The DHS cross-country teams traveled to Titusville to compete in the Astronaut Invitational. The boys placed 14th, and the girls were 21st. Sydney Bordeaux led the way for the DHS girls with a time of 22:54.3, while Connor York led the way for the boys with a 17:31.1 time.

The Bulldog sports calendar has the cross-country team going to Hagerty at 7:15 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 23. The volleyball team competes in the 5 Star Tournament at New Smyrna Beach, with the championship being played Tuesday, Sept. 26, at the same location.

On Monday, Sept. 25, the Bulldog golfers go to the Greater Halifax Invitational on the Riviera Golf Course at 9:30 a.m.,and the Lady Bulldog golfers go to Volusia 18 at 9 a.m.

The bowlers play host to Pine Ridge.

On Wednesday, Sept. 27, the swim teams greet New Smyrna Beach at 4 p.m.; the volleyball teams greet Spruce Creek at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and the junior-varsity football team hosts Atlantic at 6 p.m. The bowlers welcome Pedro Menendez, and the boys’ golf team competes at Flagler Palm Coast at 3:30 p.m.

Stetson University

The Stetson University School of Music and Opera Orlando have announced a partnership to launch an Apprenticeship Pilot Program beginning Saturday, Sept. 30. Students Isabel “Izzy” Barbato and Nidia Guevara-Nolasco were chosen to be the first apprentices by the artistic and general directors of Opera Orlando.

Stetson University Athletics

The Stetson University football team moved to 2-0 in the second week of competition, with the Hatters stopping Webber International University, 38-28. They play host to Butler at noon Saturday, Sept. 23.

Men’s soccer split recently, with a 2-0 win over North Carolina State and a loss at Grand Canyon University, 3-0. In the win, Charles Ahl and Andres Mata kicked the goals.

The men’s golf team opened its 2023-24 season at the Golfweek Collegiate Kickoff in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, with a third-place finish in a field of 12 teams. They trailed Louisiana State University and Mississippi. The winners played the tourney with a total of 844, while the Hats carded a 859. Hatter John Houchin finished ninth out of 72 golfers, with 72-67-75 rounds to finish 2 under par.

The volleyball team competed in the Florida A&M Invitational and finished with a 1-2 mark. They defeated FAMU, 3-0, but lost to South Alabama, 3-0, and Georgia Tech, 3-0.

The Stetson athletic calendar has the volleyball team hosting North Florida at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, while on Saturday, Sept. 23, they greet Jacksonville at 6 p.m. The men’s soccer team plays at Florida Gulf Coast at 7 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 24, sends the women’s soccer team to Central Arkansas at noon, while on Monday, Sept. 25, the men greet the University of South Florida at 7 p.m.

On Thursday, Sept. 28, the women’s soccer team returns home to face Queens at 7 p.m.

College honors

Southern New Hampshire University congratulates the following students on being named to the summer 2023 dean’s list: Zachary McVey and Rose Harrison, both of Deltona; Bruna Oliveira and Savannah Weinrich, both of DeLand; and Luis Moretta, of Orange City.

Southern New Hampshire University also congratulates the following students on being named to the summer 2023 President’s List: Josh Schweickert, of DeBary; Courtney Kehrley, Jody Bass, Ashley Bradley and Haley Chester, all of DeLand; and Zach Smith, Joseph Swanson and Bethany Green, all of Deltona.

Kat Blazetic, of DeLand, was inducted into the Baldwin Wallace University honors program during the spring 2023 semester. Blazetic, a graduate of DeLand High School, is majoring in business administration.

In August, Amanda Vossoughi, of Deltona, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in health sciences from Northern Illinois University.

— Send school news to Tony Tussing via email: at


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