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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021 1 year ago

MOAS Guild presents museum with $35,000

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by: Jarleene Almenas Senior Editor

The Museum of Arts and Sciences Guild recently presented a $35,000 check to the museum, a result of over 4,000 hours of fundraising events, according to a press release.

"The Guild works tirelessly and takes great pride in its continual support of one of Volusia County’s premiere cultural destinations," Guild President Diane Rogers said.

Ocean Art Gallery owner Bibi Gromling, artist Cherree Mallette and MOAS Guild President Diane Rogers. Courtesy photo

The check was presented to MOAS Executive Director Andrew Sandall. In addition, the January meeting of the Guild featured local artist Cherree Mallette, whose work is on display at the Ocean Art Gallery in Ormond Beach, located at 197 E. Granada Blvd. Her presentation featured her background and her progression of art techniques. 

For more information about the Guild, or to attend an upcoming meeting, visit

Arbor Day planting

In honor of Florida's Arbor Day, members from the Capt. James Ormond Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution planted a native shrub at the Ormond Beach Environmental Discovery Center. 

Linda Vivian, Krista Cook, Nancy Roddy, Dee Clark, Regent Lee Thornton, Sharon Lehto, Sue Darden, and Diana Zimmerman. Courtesy phoo

The shrub is an American Elderberry shrub. It was donated by the chapter for the celebration, which is celebrated annually on the third Friday in January.

Happy Birthday

Ormond Beach resident Dorothy Engel celebrated her 100th birthday at the local Cracker Barrel on Jan. 9.

Mayor Bill Partington and Dorothy Engel. Courtesy photo

To highlight her centennial milestone, Mayor Bill Partington issued her a proclamation wishing her a happy birthday.

Halifax Humane Society COO to retire

Chief Operating Officer Michelle Pari will be saying goodbye to the Halifax Humane Society this week after 28 years with the animal shelter.

Pari began her journey with HHS in 1993 after reading an article in the Daytona Beach News-Journal that reported the animal shelter was in need of volunteers, according to a press release. She began lending a hand by donating food, but after witnessing the need in other areas, began making daily visits to HHS. Over the last 28 years, she has held numerous positions, including volunteer manager, community relations manager, interim executive director and her current COO position.

"It has been a great honor to work for HHS for over 28 years and, without a doubt, one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in my professional career," said Pari in the press release. "Clearly remembering the first-time stepping foot in HHS, how overwhelming the animal population issues were, my drive and strong desire to help took over. I can honestly say this has been more than a job to me, it is something I believe deep in my soul, and it has genuinely filled me with joy and a sense of pride."

All who would like to visit Pari and say goodbye are invited to do so between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 28-29. Contact Alana, special events manager, at 386-274-4703, ext. 328, to schedule a time. Scheduled visits are required due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

VCS selects Teacher of the Year 

Volusia County Schools has selected Citrus Grove Elementary School art teacher Frank Garaitonandia as its new Teacher of the Year.

Garaitonandia, a Cuban immigrant who believes "there is no greater creative act than sparking a child's mind," according to a press release, was chosen from a pool of 71 nominees from schools countywide. He was one of five finalists, and succeeds the 2021 Teacher of the Year, Holly Hill School fifth-grade teacher Josie Stumpf. 

Frank Garaitonandia is Volusia County Schools' 2022 Teacher of the Year. Courtesy photo

Garaitonandia is a graduate of the University of Florida and became a teacher 16 years ago. He started working at Citrus Grove Elementary in 2014. His family fled Cuba for political freedom when he was 8 years old, and they lived in Costa Rica for four years before immigrating to Florida. Teachers welcomed and nurtured him along the way as the only constant in a sea of change, he said.

“Giving children a voice is my life mission,” said Garaitonandia in the press release. “It is those students with a language barrier, academic difficulties, or a discipline problem who most need the arts. The act of self-expression and self-discovery materializes a path toward their futures. It is those students who inspire me to be there for them, the ones who cannot see their next steps.”

Also recognized during the Jan. 24 ceremony at the Ocean Center was Robyn Trosan, School Way Café manager at Tomoka Elementary, who won the 2020 Superintendent Outstanding Achievement Award.

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