Volusia County Selects Outstanding School Volunteers

DeLand - The 2019-20 Outstanding School Volunteer Award winners have been selected and were honored during a School Board recognition event on January 27.

Briahna Martin, who is a junior at University High and has made herself an invaluable asset to Forest Lake Elementary, won the Outstanding School Volunteer Award in the youth category. She regularly contributes to classroom activities, community and school-based events, and summer work. Not only does Briahna volunteer regularly, she is a charismatic leader who is well respected by her peers and is able to encourage volunteerism among her classmates. Throughout the year, you will repeatedly see Briahna at events for students before, during and after school, and on weekends. She is pleasant, remarkably helpful, organized and respectful. The remarkable significance of Briahna's efforts is that she able to maintain this level of commitment while also carrying a full course load of AP and honors classes, participating in varsity sports, working a part-time job, and completing college level classes at Daytona State.

James Benefield won the Outstanding School Volunteer Award in the adult category. He meets individually with New Smyrna Beach High School students and parents to assist with providing information and answering questions regarding the FAFSA and financial aid application process, as well as helping to research scholarship opportunities. He was recently called upon to do the financial aid presentation at the districtwide Volusia County College Expo, which serves students and parents in the entire district. Mr. Benefield's knowledge base and expertise in college financial aid/scholarships/funding resources is extensive. He is thorough and simplifies what can be a very confusing and stressful process for both students and parents. Mr. Benefield's generosity and level of commitment to students as well as the entire community is commendable. He gives selflessly of his time and energy so that students and their families have the support they need as they navigate the post-secondary world.

Allen Harralson won the Outstanding School Volunteer Award in the senior category. "Mr. Allen," as he is called by students and staff alike, is an institution at Forest Lake Elementary. He has volunteered regularly since the school opened in 1997. Mr. Allen manages the school store, assists with special events such as field days and year-end celebrations, and gives of his time and equipment to assist with grounds maintenance and beautification projects around campus. Mr. Allen is most well-known for his work in the school store. He arrives on campus before the bell several days a week throughout the school year and greets students with a smile. Mr. Allen is also the Forest Lake Elementary resident grill master, towing over his large barrel grill to serve up hot dogs to third graders at their year-end celebration over the last two decades. A jack of all trades, Mr. Allen is also known to bring over his tractor and clear out dead trees and overgrown foliage as well as prepare the grounds for beatification projects that take place during the annual Earth Day cleanup. Mr. Allen has spent countless hours helping the students and staff at Forest Lake Elementary and his efforts have clearly made the school a brighter and more enjoyable place to learn for generations of Deltona children.