Local dancer reaches goal, takes home win from Blackpool Dance Festival

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  • | 2:00 p.m. June 6, 2022
  • Ormond Beach Observer
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A student of Oceans Dance Studio in Daytona Beach recently took home the title of World Champion in the Pro/Amateur 65+ American Smooth Multi-Dance Championship in the Blackpool Dance Festival held in Blackpool, England. 

Christine Schneider Downs, of South Daytona, competed with her guest instructor Samuele Pugliese. Downs was also the runner up in the Pro/Amateur 65+ International Ballroom Multi-Dance Championship.

Christine Schneider Downs and Samuele Pugliese took home the title of World Champion in the Pro/Amateur 65+ American Smooth Multi-Dance Championship in the Blackpool Dance Festival. Courtesy photo
Christine Schneider Downs and Samuele Pugliese took home the title of World Champion in the Pro/Amateur 65+ American Smooth Multi-Dance Championship in the Blackpool Dance Festival. Courtesy photo

According to an email, Downs began taking dance lessons at Oceans Dance Studio, located at 134 S. Beach St., in 2013. She has trained there in all styles of ballroom and social dance, and has competed in both national and international events. She had set a goal of becoming a Blackpool champion, and met it during the 2022 Blackpool Dance Festival in the American Smooth style.

In addition, Downs and Pugliese achieved the title of champion teacher/student couple in the 65+ American Smooth multi-dance category, as well as vice-champions in the 65+ international ballroom category.

"They could not have reached this goal without an amazing team supporting them," said Amanda Ashcraft, Oceans Dance Studio social media manager, in an email. "This team includes many highly respected and recognized ballroom coaches from all over the world, most importantly their main coaches, Pino Magnelli and Francesca Pietramale from Italy. At the competition, Samuele also competed with his dance partner, Federica Stavale in International Ballroom placing in the top 25 couples."

County offers free meals for children

Volusia County's Community Assistance Division is sponsoring a Summer Food Service program that will provide free breakfast and lunch meals for children ages 18 and under at 55 sites in the county. The program began on June 6, and will run through Aug. 12.

The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and according to a county press release, provides nutritionally balanced meals during summer break when schools are closed, except for July 4 when sites will be closed in observance of Independence Day. Children must eat the meals on site. The following sites are located in Ormond Beach, and will serve meals on weekdays:

  • Camp Destiny, 1060 W. Granada Blvd. (June 13 through July 29) — breakfast: 8-8:30 a.m.; lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Nova Community Center, 440 N. Nova Road (June 20 through July 29) — breakfast: 9:15-9:45 a.m.; lunch: 12-1 p.m.
  • Ormond Beach Regional Library, 30 S. Beach St. (June 6 through Aug. 12) — breakfast: 9-10 a.m.; lunch: 12-1 p.m.
  • South Ormond Neighborhood Center, 176 Division Ave. (June 13 through Aug. 5) — breakfast: 9-10 a.m.; lunch: 12-1 p.m.
  • YMCA Ormond Beach, 500 Sterthaus Drive (June 6 through Aug. 12) — breakfast: 9-10 a.m.; lunch: 12-1 p.m.

To find a location in another city, dial 211, text "Food" to 303-304, or visit www.SummerBreakSpot.org.

FUTURES Foundation receives $30,000 grant

FUTURES Foundation for Volusia County Schools recently received a $30,000 grant from Duke Energy Foundation, which will help provide teacher classroom mini-grants and fund the district's Project Investigating Biomes in Science at Rose Bay in Port Orange.

According to a press release, FUTURES Foundation is one of 22 organizations in Florida to collectively receive $641,000 in grants from the Duke Energy Foundation. VCS teachers may apply for a mini-grant through Sept. 15 at FindItFundItFlorida.com/Volusia for energy-related and STEM mini-grants. Those selected will be funded in October for the 2022-2023 school year. 

Heather Bond Vargas, FUTURES Foundation board president; Michelle Lee, government and community relations liaison for Duke Energy Florida and FUTURES board member; and Cynthia Ramirez, FUTURES executive director. Courtesy photo
Heather Bond Vargas, FUTURES Foundation board president; Michelle Lee, government and community relations liaison for Duke Energy Florida and FUTURES board member; and Cynthia Ramirez, FUTURES executive director. Courtesy photo

The Duke Energy Foundation grant also supports Project IBIS, a program supporting conservation training and research around STEM and environmental initiatives, as well as workforce skills.

“By investing in our local education foundations and the programs that ensure all students have access to robust STEM education, we are helping to create a vibrant economy,” said Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president, in the press release. “Duke Energy is proud to support these programs and help even more students gain the hands-on, essential skills needed to pursue energy and engineering careers and become the next generation of leaders and problem solvers.”

 

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