Volusia Take Stock In Children Scholars Honored

2024 Graduates from l to r, back row, Mopelola Tofade, Catherine Steinruck, Deven Perfors, Brianna Miller, Makayla Jones, Nicholas Deluca, Zoe Leonard, Akeara Clyde, Shimene Shepard, FUTURES Executive Director, Jaclyn Blue, David Cherry, front row, Jammi Zelaya, Marie Pratt, Justice Van Meter, Brendan Markham, Own Arnold, and Jaylyn Blue
Catherine Steinruck, senior, and winner of the Clayton award, and the Take Stock Outstanding Senior award, and Liz Falero the Take Stock in Children Student Services & Mentor Coordinator.
Sandi Debminsky, Take Stock in Children Volusia’s Mentor of the Year, and her husband, Stephan Dembinsky.
FUTURES Board President Cory Domayer addressing the crowd.

DAYTONA BEACH – Take Stock in Children (TSIC), a statewide scholarship and mentoring program facilitated locally through FUTURES Foundation for Volusia County Schools, hosted its annual New Student Induction and Senior Recognition Ceremony on May 6th at The Brannon Center in New Smyrna Beach. The event recognized newly selected participants as well as graduating high school seniors and was sponsored by Duke Energy.

As proud parents, mentors and sponsors watched, 28 new students were welcomed into the program during a ceremony conducted by FUTURES Board President Cory Domayer, CFO of Advent Health, and TSIC Student Services & Mentor Coordinator Liz Falero.  Volusia County School Board Chair Jamie Haynes and Superintendent Dr. Carmen Balgobin provided their congratulations and best wishes to each of the incoming freshmen and graduating seniors. Seventh Judicial Circuit County Judge and TSIC Mentor Bryan Feigenbaum performed the new student induction oath as students and parents attested to their commitment to abide by the program’s requirements.  Students will have the benefit of a volunteer mentor meeting with them throughout their high school years, as well as the support of Ms. Falero and College Success Coaches Wendy Feigenbaum and Jim Neill, to ensure they successfully graduate from high school and are prepared for college.

The following students will be joining the Volusia TSIC program in the 2024-2025 school year:  Laura Aguilera Espinosa, Taliyah Booker Powers, Landyn Godwin, and Zy’corriah Lewis at DeLand High;  Sanai Estelhomme, Jomar Mujica Guerrero, Omar Mujica Guerrero, and Gabryella Rivera at Deltona High; Latoya Lawson, Brendan Sheffield, and David Torres at Mainland High; Hayden Grindle, Kevin Summers, and Quantaysha Blount at New Smyrna Beach High; Tarahji Gibson, and Destiny Jones at Pine Ridge High; Fabian Guadarrama and Giselle Jones at Seabreeze High School; Kiara Arrington, Joshua Bellantoni, Trinity Frames, Mareli Galarza, Laila Harris, Riley Parker, Austin Rowell, and Alonso Torres at T. DeWitt Taylor Middle-High; Nehemiah Allen and Ryan Shaw at University High.

The members of the Volusia TSIC Class of 2024 who graduate from Volusia County high schools this year also were recognized.  The following 21 students will receive a Florida Prepaid four-year college tuition scholarship: Makayla Jones and Justice Van Meter at Atlantic High; Zoe Leonard at Deland High; Liana Rodriguez and Catherine Steinruck at Deltona High; David Cherry, Akeara Clyde, Serenna Glaude, and Amariona Parker at Mainland High; Nicholas Deluca, and Mopelola Tofade at New Smyrna Beach High; Owen Arnold at Pine Ridge High; Jaclyn Blue and Jaylyn Blue at Seabreeze High; Brianna Miller, Deven Perfors, and Marie Pratt at Spruce Creek High; Timothy Marchione, Brendan Markham, and Jayro Torres at T. DeWitt Taylor Middle-High; Jammi Zelaya at University High.  The following student, who graduated in December 2023, will receive a Florida Prepaid two-year college tuition scholarship: Rodney Hill Jr. from Mainland High.

The ceremony also included a special recognition of TSIC’s mentor of the year Mrs. Sandi Dembinsky, volunteer extraordinaire at Spruce Creek High.  Mrs. Dembinsky has been a TSIC mentor for 7 years.   She consistently goes above and beyond for her students and more than doubles the amount of mentor sessions required each year.  One senior was recognized for two special achievements.  Catherine Steinruck, Deltona High, was recognized as TSIC’s Outstanding Senior and she received the Clayton Scholarship of $1000.

TSIC scholars are selected in eighth grade based upon financial need, academic achievement, good character and community involvement. Scholarships are funded through community and individual donations as well as proceeds from fundraisers presented by FUTURES, such as the Caribbean Party.  FUTURES Foundation works directly with the Stanley Tate Project STARS (Scholarship Tuition For At-Risk Students) Scholarship Program, part of the Florida Prepaid College Foundation, which provides dollar-for-dollar matching funds for the purchase of these scholarships.  Since the Stanley Tate Project STARS Scholarship Program began, more than 15,000 scholarships have been awarded statewide to low-income students at risk of dropping out of school, and who otherwise might not have had the opportunity to attend college.

Donations to purchase local TSIC scholarships are accepted throughout the year and mentors are being recruited for these new students. Anyone interested in donating towards TSIC scholarships or volunteering as a mentor may contact TSIC Student Services and Mentor Coordinator Liz Falero at [email protected] or 386-255-6475, ext. 50724 for additional information.