News Releases

Sunrise Academy graduated students in Preschool, Kindergarten, Fifth Grade, Eighth Grade, and Twelfth Grade in two ceremonies held in the Center at Deltona.

Sunrise Academy held its 6th Graduation Ceremony on May 28th, 2021. The school held two graduation ceremonies in the Center at Deltona for students in VPK, Kindergarten, 5th Grade, 8th Grade, and 12th Grade.

Sunrise Academy was pleased to return to a celebrating full ceremony for all of our graduates in 2021 after holding a limited ceremony in 2020 due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The Lower & Upper School ceremony was opened by Ms. Shellnisha Franklin, Lower School Principal. Following the opening speech, fifth grade student, Dallas Robertson, led everyone in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mr. Levi Connolly, Upper School Principal announced that Ms. Stephanie Conway, Dean of Upper School, was voted as Sunrise Academy's K-12 Teacher of the Year 2020-2021. Ms. Stephanie Conway succeeds Mrs. Halley Whitten-Connolly, Dean of Lower School, (2019-2020) as Teacher of the Year.

Following the Teacher of the Year announcement was a wonderful performance by our Kindergarten class, led by Mrs. Barbara Santos. Ms. Shellnisha Franklin then awarded diplomas to students in Kindergarten.

Mr. Levi Connolly, Upper School Principal awarded diplomas to graduating students in Sixth Grade. The Senior Commencement Address was delivered by Ms. Stephanie Conway, Dean of Upper School. Mr. Connolly then awarded High School Diplomas to all senior graduating students in Twelfth Grade, and presided over the symbolic changing of the tassels.

Closing remarks were delivered by the school's founder and president, Mrs. Yahayra Marte.

The preschool ceremony followed the K-12 ceremony, and the audience enjoyed several performances by students in VPK. Ms. Yanisha Castillo, Director of Preschool Operations, led the ceremony, while diplomas and award medals were presented by Mrs. Arlene Rivera, Preschool Director.

Sunrise Academy is proud of all of our graduating students who have worked exceptionally hard in what has been a difficult year for everyone. Sunrise Academy was pleased to be able to honor the achievements of our students in these ceremonies and we look forward to a strong academic year beginning in August 2021.


Sunrise Academy was recognized by the Lord Mayor of the City and Council of Swansea for its work with the Peace Mala project.

Sunrise Academy was pleased to receive a Civic Letter of Congratulations and a Civic Plate from the Mayor and people of the City and Council of Swansea in Wales, United Kingdom for its work with the Swansea based Peace Mala project.

Peace Mala is multi award winning educational project founded by Pam Evans MBE that promotes peace, compassion, and citizenship. Peace Mala is endorsed by many community leaders, including Pope Francis, and the Dalai Lama. In 2020, Sunrise Academy became the first school in the United States to receive Peace Mala Accreditation.

Both principals of Sunrise Academy Upper School and Lower School are fully committed to the message and goals of Peace Mala. Upper School Principal Levi Connolly remarked that "Peace Mala provides schools with a foundation to instill values of compassion" while Lower School Principal Shellnisha Franklin said that Peace Mala "is greatly needed in our world right now."

Further Reading:

Peace Mala:

Pam Evans MBE:

Endorsements: Accreditation:


Levi Connolly, Principal:

Pam Evans MBE:

Peter Black CBE:


Updated: Jan 7

Sunrise Academy was recognized by the Orlando Sentinel for its commitment to inclusivity.

Sunrise Academy was honored to be recognized by the Orlando Sentinel in a piece that highlighted the many schools that discriminate against LGBTQ+ students in Florida. Sunrise Academy is committed to equal opportunity for all.

While schools cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color or national origin, there is no law that prevents discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

"Employees at Sunrise Academy in Orange City received the training about three weeks ago, Upper School Principal Levi Connolly said."

"The secular academy serves several LGBTQ students, and Connolly said he wanted his staff to have a better understanding of the challenges they might face because school is often the first place gay and transgender children come out."

“All students' lives are equally valuable, and we want our students to have an equal start,” he said.

You can read the Orlando Sentinel article in full here.