School Board Meeting Highlights - April 27, 2021

School Spotlight – Pathways Elementary: Pathways Elementary in Ormond Beach was the School Spotlight for April. The students performed and read the book, “If You Plant a Seed,” to celebrate National Arbor Day.

(PICTURED ABOVE) School Spotlight – Pathways Elementary: Pathways Elementary in Ormond Beach was the School Spotlight for April. The students performed and read the book, “If You Plant a Seed,” to celebrate National Arbor Day.

DELAND – The Volusia County School Board on Tuesday recognized the district’s representatives to the Florida State Science and Engineering Fair, this year’s Sunshine State Scholars, and the Environthon Team selected for state competition.

This month’s School Spotlight was Pathways Elementary in Ormond Beach. Principal Holly Bailey, Music Teacher Jessica Palmer, and a group of students shared Pathways’ efforts to feed and grow minds and bodies through its gardening/STEM focus. Students performed the song, “Plant a Tree,” and read the book, “If You Plant a Seed,” and gave School Board members a plant tying into National Arbor Day this Friday.

The board also recognized May 3-7 as National Teacher Appreciation Week and National Substitute Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7 as Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, and May 6-12 as National School Nurse Week. Teachers devote themselves to every child, every day, and they are deeply appreciated. VCS also appreciates the nurses, school counselors, social workers, and other professional staff who work so hard to keep students healthy.

Science Fair 2021: Students selected to represent the Tomoka Regional Science and Engineering Fair at the Florida State Science and Engineering Fair were honored at the Volusia County School Board meeting. They are pictured here with their principals and district administrators for science.

Science Fair Winners

The board honored students who were selected to represent the Tomoka Regional Science and Engineering Fair at the Florida State Science and Engineering Fair, held virtually earlier this month. The students are Wyatt Wahl, Rani Gupta, and Salsabeel Eldeeb of David C. Hinson Middle School; Isabella Landford and Ethan Muller of Creekside Middle School; and Amy King of Burns Science and Technology Charter School. The board presentation was led by VCS K-12 Science Coordinator Jennifer Taylor and Grade 6-12 Science Specialist Jeremy Blinn.

At the state fair, in the middle school division, Gupta won third place in Earth & Environmental Sciences for her project, “Does Adding Natural Starch Prevent Soil Erosion?” and has been selected for the Broadcom MASTERS national science fair competition. She also received a $150 cash award and the Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc. Certificate.

Wahl won fourth place in Chemistry for his project, “How Does Water from Different Sources Cause Limestone to Erode Leading to Sinkholes?” Muller received recognition in Intelligent Machines, Robotics & Systems Software for his project, “Distance Learning Dilemma: How Do Various Wi-Fi Boosters Affect Internet Speed?” Lankford received a $25 cash award and the Pinellas Regional Science and Engineering Fair Award for her project, “When Searching for Exoplanets, Which Kepler Mission Data Set Is Easier to Access for Analysis?”

In the high school division, King was awarded an honorable mention in Earth & Environmental Sciences for her project, “Coagulation Flocculation Sedimentation Filtration of Microplastics” and has been selected for the International Science and Engineering Fair.

Ria Gupta of Seabreeze High, who was selected as one of this year's Sunshine State Scholars for Volusia.
Miriam Girgis of Spruce Creek High, who was selected as one of this year's Sunshine State Scholars for Volusia.
Wendy Zhang of DeLand High, who was selected as an alternate for this year's Sunshine State Scholars for Volusia.

Sunshine State Scholars

Also Tuesday, the board honored Ria Gupta of Seabreeze High and Miriam Girgis of Spruce Creek High for their selection as this year’s Sunshine State Scholars for Volusia, and Wendy Zhang of DeLand High for her selection as alternate. The Sunshine State Scholars Program is a state program recognizing exemplary mathematics and science (STEM) high school juniors in Florida, with the support from the Florida Department of Education. The recognitions were presented by Director of High School Curriculum Carolyn Carbonell and STEM Specialist Amy Monahan.

The district honorees, along with their parents and a teacher who has served as a significant influence for the scholars, will attend a two-day program in Orlando in June. The Sunshine State Scholars will be recognized for their academic achievements and will have the opportunity to connect with employers that specialize in STEM fields and to meet with representatives from schools in Florida’s College and State University System. One of the program’s goals is to increase the number of students with outstanding STEM credentials who choose to attend Florida colleges and universities.

The board also honored the Spruce Creek High Environthon team’s second-place win at state competition this past weekend.

Environthon Competition

The board also honored the Spruce Creek High Environthon team’s second-place win at state competition this past weekend. The Advancing Glaciers team, which placed first in regional competition, includes students Meryl Liu, Elizabeth Greenberg, Varun Hoskote, Jacob Friedman, and Eric Chen, with alternates Alexa Wolfson and Ahmed Eldeeb.

The team has been coached by SCHS teacher Joshua Platt for 18 years, and The Advancing Glaciers have advanced to state competition nine times. In 2019, the team placed 16th in the nation. Platt and VCS Environmental STEM Resource Teacher in Science Louise Chapman attended the recognition with the team.

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