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WINNING TEAM — The West Volusia Beacon brought six journalism awards home from the Florida Media Conference in St. Petersburg July 10-12.

The West Volusia Beacon brought six journalism awards home from the Florida Media Conference in St. Petersburg July 10-12.

From left are staff members Al Everson, Anthony DeFeo, Eli Witek and Barb Shepherd. Witek was the big winner, capturing five of the Florida Press Association Weekly Newspaper Contest awards for stories she wrote during the fourth quarter of 2018, having started work at The Beacon in September with no journalism experience.

Her top winner was a story about Suber Memorial Gardens, an African American cemetery in Lake Helen. The story won a first-place award in the Community History category. Her other winners were stories about sex education in Volusia County Schools, the counting of write-in ballots, the DeBary 15-year-old who is charged with killing his mother, and sinkholes. Those stories won second-place awards.

Beacon Business Editor Joe Crews and Editor DeFeo shared a second-place award for a story about the economic impact of the DeLand Regional tournament, a part of the 2018 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship that was hosted by Stetson University.

“The awards are to The Beacon, obviously; they are possible only because of the family there,” Witek said.