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www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 3<br />


SAT AND<br />

ACT TEST<br />

PREP<br />

CENTER<br />





No maer whether your student is a high school sophomore or soon-to-be-senior, it's never too<br />

early—or late—to start preparing for the ACT or SAT. And, with our individualized, proven test prep<br />

programs, Hunngton is the best tutoring opon to ensure your student's best score.<br />


With our Premier Program, 32-Hour Program and 14-Hour Program, we help even the busiest of<br />

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The new SAT has undergone signicant changes. We can determine which test is right for you.<br />

A higher ACT or SAT score means beer college, scholarship, and career opportunies. To make<br />

sure your student earns the score he or she wants, call 1-800-CAN-LEARN today.<br />

HLC Brag Board<br />

• Ben increased his ACT score from a 21<br />

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but so did his self -confidence."<br />

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I was skepcal of Hunngton saying they<br />

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We teach skills that last a lifeme, preparing students to succeed on<br />

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Hunngton works around your life, with programs to t the busiest of<br />

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Our expert teachers are highly trained in subject areas and test-taking<br />

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1.800.CAN.LEARN<br />

©2015 Huntington Mark, LLC. Independently Owned and Operated, SAT and Advanced Placement (AP) are registered trademarks of the College Board. PSAT/NMSQT is a registered trademark of the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. ACT<br />

is a registered trademark of ACT, Inc. None of these entities endorses or was involved in the production of the program. *Offer valid for Academic Evaluation, new students only. Not valid with any other offer.

4 x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com<br />


FOODIE FOR THOUGHT......................................................................5<br />

Fantastic Flavors From Around the Globe<br />


Santa<br />

DECEMBER 17, 18, 22 & 23<br />

8 - 10AM<br />

Meet Mr.<br />

& Mrs. Claus plus<br />





FROM 9 – 10AM<br />






407.828.8739<br />

PROMOTIONAL FEATURE.....................................................................8<br />

The Woodhouse Day Spa / Relax & Rejuvenate in Luxury<br />

TOURISM UPDATE.............................................................................10<br />

Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association<br />

LAST-MINUTE HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE....................................................14<br />

BUSINESS PROFILE............................................................................18<br />

A Boutique-Style Medispa / Spa Blue<br />

REDISCOVER I-DRIVE .........................................................................19<br />

IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD ..............................................................22<br />

25TH ANNUAL STORIES OF THE SEASON..........................................25<br />

STATEPOINT YEAR IN REVIEW CROSSWORD PUZZLE ..........................42<br />

NEWS & BUSINESS BRIEFS................................................................44<br />

COMMUNITY BULLETIN BOARD ........................................................47<br />

SOUTHWEST SERVICE DIRECTORY ....................................................48<br />

Dec. 15, 2016<br />

Vol. XXXI, No. 4<br />

P.O. Box 851<br />

Windermere, FL 34786<br />

407-351-1573<br />

www.southwestorlandobulletin.com<br />

The Southwest Orlando Bulletin is published semimonthly by<br />

Kearney Publishing Corp. No material may be reproduced without written<br />

permission. Subscriptions are available in the U.S. and Puerto Rico for<br />

$25.56 per year and in Canada for $31.80 per year. For foreign surface<br />

mailing, add $20 per year.<br />

Neither the publishers nor the advertisers are responsible or liable for<br />

typographical errors, misinformation, misprints, etc., unintentionally<br />

contained herein. All letters received become the property of Kearney<br />

Publishing Corp. and may be reproduced and edited without consent.<br />



Clay Kearney<br />


Brenda Kearney<br />



Donna Wolk<br />


Lisa Sagers<br />



Lauren Salinero<br />


Robert Barlow<br />


Michelle Moniz<br />

SOCIAL<br />


Lauren Bocken<br />


Kirsten Harrington, Karen Nimetz,<br />

Blair Parke<br />


Diana Kastner<br />

(407) 376-6959<br />

diana@kearneypublishing.com<br />

Madeline DeVito<br />

(407) 351-1573, option 1<br />

mdevito@kearneypublishing.com<br />

Lindsay Richardson<br />

(407) 351-1573, option 2<br />


From lucky lentils to tempting tamales,<br />

people from around the world<br />

welcome the new year with a mixture<br />

of tradition and superstition. Danes<br />

ring in the special day with boiled<br />

cod and lemon caper sauce, and<br />

some Mexican families gather for<br />

traditional tamales. In Greece, the<br />

savory-sweet vasilopita takes center<br />

stage, and the person who finds<br />

the coin or trinket hidden in the cake<br />

receives good luck.<br />

Jennifer Dunagan of Gotha<br />

and her family celebrate by eating 12<br />

grapes at the stroke of midnight — a<br />

popular Latin tradition that symbolizes<br />

good luck for each month in the new<br />

year. In a nod to the Pennsylvania<br />

Dutch, Megan Gardner of Orlando<br />

feasts on pork and sauerkraut.<br />

“For Russians, the biggest holiday of<br />

the year starts around 9-10 p.m. and<br />

lasts well into the new year,” said local<br />

resident Evgenia Volkonitskaya,<br />

originally from Krasnoyarsk, Siberia.<br />

“People prepare for days and then<br />

eat all of the food for days,” she said.<br />

The evening starts off with canapes<br />

with red caviar, pickled vegetables,<br />

cold cuts and salads. Main dishes<br />

include roast pig or duck.<br />

“My parents also normally make<br />

a large savory pie, called a pirog,<br />

which looks like a slab pie filled with<br />

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 5<br />


Fantastic Flavors From Around the Globe<br />

Food Traditions that Ring in the New Year!<br />

by Kirsten Harrington<br />

Many<br />

Americans<br />

believe eating<br />

black-eyed<br />

peas on New<br />

Year’s Day<br />

brings good<br />

luck.<br />

something savory like fish and onions,”<br />

Evgenia said.<br />

Xuan Tian of Windermere recalls<br />

celebrating New Year’s Eve in<br />

her native China with firecrackers<br />

and a huge family dinner with meat,<br />

dumplings and vegetables.<br />

“Some families put a coin or peanut<br />

in the stuffing of the dumpling, and it is<br />

believed the people who get to eat that<br />

will be lucky in the new year.”<br />

Xuan continues the tradition now,<br />

gathering friends to make dumplings<br />

and watching the New Year’s Gala on<br />

Chinese television.<br />

Probably the best-known American<br />

tradition involves black-eyed peas.<br />

Some say they bring luck because<br />

they look like coins. Others believe the<br />

tradition dates back to the Civil War<br />

when all food crops were destroyed,<br />

except fields of black-eyed peas,<br />

which sustained the soldiers.<br />

Americans aren’t the only ones who<br />

embrace lucky legumes. In Brazil,<br />

lentils cooked with sausage are a<br />

popular New Year’s dish.<br />

“Every grain symbolizes how much<br />

money you will make next year,”<br />

explained Priscila Portugal of<br />

Brazil em Casa Emporio, a Brazilian<br />

grocery store and café in Ocoee.<br />


Best Of<br />

Southwest<br />

2016<br />

W I N N E R<br />


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6 x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com<br />



“The same goes for grapes,” she<br />

said. “And some people place grape<br />

seeds in their wallets to bring prosperity.<br />

Pork is popular, too, but don’t eat<br />

chicken or turkey, because they bring<br />

bad luck.”<br />

In Peru, it’s popular to ring in the<br />

new year with a pisco sour, according<br />

to Ivan Colombier, owner of<br />

the El Inka Grill Ceviche restaurants in<br />

Dr. Phillips and Hunter’s Creek.<br />

“It’s a traditional Peruvian brandy<br />

mixed with freshly squeezed lime juice<br />

and a touch of organic agave nectar,”<br />

he said. “It’s a very refreshing<br />

cocktail.”<br />

As far as food goes, comida criolla,<br />

or typical home cooking, reigns.<br />

“My mom would make a homey<br />

beef or chicken stew with rice and let<br />

it simmer for hours,” said Ivan, who<br />

was raised in New York by Peruvian<br />

parents who cherished the traditions<br />

of their home city of Lima, Peru.<br />

If you don’t have a tradition of your<br />

own, maybe your family can adopt a<br />

new one to celebrate this year.<br />

Black-Eyed Peas<br />

1 pound dried black-eyed peas<br />

2-3 ham hocks<br />

1 onion, diced<br />

1-2 teaspoons Morton’s<br />

seasoning salt<br />

1-2 teaspoons onion powder<br />

1 teaspoon garlic powder<br />

Salt and pepper to taste<br />

Instructions:<br />

Soak dried black-eyed peas in<br />

water for about one hour. Drain.<br />

Place peas, ham hocks and onion<br />

in slow cooker. Cover with water.<br />

Start cooker on high until beans are<br />

very hot and begin to boil. Add 1<br />

teaspoon each of Morton’s seasoning<br />

salt, onion powder and garlic<br />

powder.<br />

Turn heat down to medium or<br />

low and simmer beans for 6-8<br />

hours. Taste and adjust seasoning<br />

as desired by adding more<br />

onion powder, garlic powder,<br />

salt and pepper. Yields about five<br />

servings. ª

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 7<br />


Submit your purrr-fect pet photos for Southwest Orlando<br />

Bulletin’s 16th annual pet photo contest! Southwest<br />

Orlando’s picture-perfect pets will be featured in our<br />

Feb. 16 issue.<br />

All photos must be received by Jan. 25 and will be<br />

returned after the issue date. Mail photos to: Kearney<br />

Publishing Corp., P.O. Box 851, Windermere, FL 34786;<br />

email to Lauren@kearneypublishing.com; or upload online<br />

at www.southwestorlandobulletin.com.<br />

Please include name, pet’s name, address, neighborhood<br />

and phone number on entry. For more information, call<br />

407-351-1573, option 4.<br />

* Must be a Southwest resident to participate.<br />

Dogs • Cats • Birds • Reptiles<br />

Rabbits • Fish • Rodents • Horses • Etc.

8 x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com<br />


Relax & Rejuvenate in Luxury<br />

If you are searching for the perfect<br />

gift for that special someone this holiday<br />

season, look no further than The<br />

Woodhouse Day Spa. Tucked<br />

away in the Dellagio Town Center<br />

in Dr. Phillips, The Woodhouse<br />

Day Spa has provided locals with<br />

impeccable service since it opened<br />

in February 2009. With more than<br />

6,000 square feet of amazing ambiance<br />

and more than 70 relaxing<br />

and rejuvenating treatments, The<br />

Woodhouse Day Spa has something<br />

to satisfy any need.<br />

Upon arrival, guests are escorted<br />

to the ladies or gentlemen’s locker<br />

room. The locker rooms each feature<br />

a dry heat infrared sauna, rainfall<br />

showers and private changing<br />

rooms. The spa’s comfy robes and<br />

sandals allow guests to quickly acclimate<br />

to the relaxing environment.<br />

The spa provides guests with a complimentary<br />

glass of wine, champagne<br />

or mimosa, as well as an extensive<br />

selection of teas. Before<br />

and after their treatments,<br />

guests may take<br />

advantage of the spa’s<br />

two “quiet rooms.” One<br />

is a large, bright, sunfilled<br />

room. The other<br />

is a smaller, darker, cocooning<br />

room. Owner<br />

Allison Murphy encourages<br />

guests to<br />

“come as early as<br />

they like and stay as<br />

long as they need to<br />

decompress and unwind.<br />

It’s the quiet<br />

time before and after<br />

service that is a signature<br />

of what a great<br />

spa experience is.”<br />

Prior to treatment, guests fill out a<br />

short form detailing any concerns<br />

or goals they have. The therapist<br />

will then escort the guest to one of<br />

the many luxurious treatment rooms.<br />

After the service, guests are provided<br />

with a refreshing glass of water<br />

to rehydrate the body. They are then<br />

welcome to relax in either of the<br />

lounges, enjoy the sauna or rinse off<br />

in a rainfall shower.<br />

“We want them to relax and enjoy<br />

the amenities as much as they can<br />

to achieve the full spa experience,”<br />

Allison said.<br />

The Woodhouse Day Spa staff<br />

consists of incredibly talented<br />


multi-licensed therapists and an<br />

amazing hospitality crew, who deliver<br />

an exceptional experience.<br />

The spa carries top-notch product<br />

lines such as the award-winning<br />

SkinCeuticals and Voya.<br />

There are a variety<br />

of facial options,<br />

but the most<br />

popular by far is the<br />

Hydrafacial. Allison<br />

describes the treatment<br />

as “the new<br />

age of microdermabrasion.<br />

The Hydrafacial<br />

gives instant<br />

lifting, tightening and<br />

brightening. It is the<br />

most results-driven<br />

facial we offer.”<br />

Those looking for<br />

a more relaxing<br />

facial will surely<br />

love the signature<br />

Minkyti facial. This<br />

award-winning treatment consists of<br />

a seaweed mask on the face and<br />

décolleté.<br />

“We partner with Voya, an organic<br />

line by a family-run business in<br />

Ireland,” Allison said. “They harvest<br />

Photos by tonyrappa@capturevideo-photos.com<br />

seaweed from the beaches of the<br />

North Sea of Ireland. The seaweed<br />

comes in dehydrated packets that<br />

we rehydrate in the spa.”<br />

Another popular treatment is the<br />

Lazy Days Rest and Renewal Ritual,<br />

which guests have affectionately<br />

nicknamed “The Mermaid Bath.”<br />

This treatment starts with a body<br />

scrub followed by a 15-minute luxurious,<br />

detoxifying seaweed bath.<br />

Next, guests indulge in a relaxing<br />

full-body massage.<br />

Although a gift card for The<br />

Woodhouse Day Spa is always a<br />

well-received gift, Allison decided to<br />

add a more tangible option this holiday<br />

season with the creation of The<br />

Woodhouse Day Spa gift basket.<br />

The exquisitely unique baskets include<br />

spa products for at-home care<br />

that pair perfectly with a gift card<br />

for The Woodhouse Spa. To make<br />

gift-giving even easier, the spa also<br />

offers printable gift cards through its<br />

website.<br />

The Woodhouse Day Spa is located at<br />

8060 Via Dellagio Way, Suite 102, in the<br />

Dellagio Town Center. For more information<br />

about its services, call 407-965-3131 or visit<br />

Orlando.WoodhouseSpas.com on the web.

December 15th, 17th, 31st & January 7th.<br />

www.TheatreSouthPlayhouse.com<br />

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 9<br />


D.M.D.<br />

Most<br />

Insurances<br />

Accepted<br />

Rizzo Dental Group<br />


D.M.D.<br />

Cosmetic & Family<br />

Dentistry<br />

407.521.8765<br />


Request an appointment online at www.rizzodentalgroup.com<br />

6150 MetroWest Blvd., Suite 207, Orlando, FL 32835<br />

Michael J. Tortorella, MD<br />

Obstetrics & Gynecology<br />

Board Certified<br />

Pregnancy<br />

Family Planning<br />

Menstrual Disorders<br />

Menopause<br />

Second Opinion for Surgery<br />

In-Office Ultrasounds<br />

In-Office Surgery<br />

Minimally Invasive<br />

Surgery<br />

Sterilization<br />

(407) 363-1003 Michaeljtortorellamd.com<br />

7300 Sandlake Commons Blvd.<br />

Suite 320, Medplex A<br />

next to Dr. P. Phillips Hospital<br />

All Major Credit<br />

Cards Accepted<br />

-CareCredit®-<br />

Listed in Best Doctors<br />

in Orlando Magazine<br />

We Cook.<br />

You Bring Home the Best.<br />



Holiday Meals • Entrées • Appetizers • Sides

10 x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com<br />

On Dec. 10 at Loews Sapphire<br />

Falls Resort at Universal Studios<br />

Orlando, the Central Florida<br />

Hotel & Lodging Association<br />

hosted more than 1,100 members<br />

and community leaders at its annual<br />

CFHLA Hospitality Gala. The event<br />

is the hospitality industry’s largest<br />

annual holiday gathering. During the<br />

evening, CFHLA honored its lodging<br />

member of the year, allied member<br />


submitted by Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association<br />

of the year, and engineer of the year.<br />

Jim Burns, vice president/managing<br />

director of Grande Lakes Orlando,<br />

was presented the 2016 CFHLA Allied<br />

Member of the Year Award. Mac<br />

Cochran of ATMFLA Inc. was presented<br />

the 2016 CFHLA Member of<br />

the Year Award. Keith Luka of the<br />

Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites —<br />

Waterpark received the 2016 CFHLA<br />

Engineer of the Year Award. ª<br />

Keith Luka receives the 2016 Central Florida Hotel<br />

& Lodging Association Engineer of the Year Award.<br />

Jim Burns receives the 2016 Central Florida Hotel<br />

& Lodging Association Member of the Year Award.<br />

Mac Cochran receives the 2016 Central Florida<br />

Hotel & Lodging Association Allied Member of the<br />

Year Award.<br />

John C. Carrozzella, M.D., ABAARM, FAARFM<br />

More than 25 years of experience<br />


PASSION!<br />

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No Sex Drive?<br />

No Results in the Gym?<br />

Find out how bioidentical<br />

hormone therapy can change your<br />

life and renew your relationship.<br />

Call now for a complimentary<br />

medical consultation.<br />

407-505-6345<br />

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7575 Dr. Phillips Blvd. • Suite #370 • Orlando, FL 32819<br />

Start small, think BIG<br />

2342 Hempel Ave., Gotha, FL<br />

Schedule a tour!<br />

(407) 877-7412 • www.crenshawschool.com

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 11<br />

voted #1<br />

in america!!<br />

Messages will be published in the Feb. 2, 2017, issue.<br />

Deadline: Jan. 11, 2017 • Length: 20 words maximum<br />

now over<br />

150 vendors!<br />

plenty of<br />

parking<br />

New<br />

Parking Garage<br />

Next to<br />

Farmers Market<br />

Coupons may not be combined with any other<br />

offer. Not valid with insurance. Expires 12/31/16<br />

NO CASH REDEMPTION. Expires 12/31/16<br />

Coupons may not be combined with any other<br />

offer. Not valid with insurance. Expires 12/31/16<br />

Coupons may not be combined with any other<br />

offer. Not valid with insurance. Expires 12/31/16<br />

now the largest farmers<br />

market in Florida!<br />

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Winter Garden, Florida 34787<br />

every Saturday<br />

9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.<br />

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12 x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com

Central Florida’s Largest<br />

Selection of Office Furniture<br />

50,000-Sq.-Ft. Showroom<br />

440 West Kennedy Blvd.<br />

407-316-0101<br />

www.ofo-orlando.com<br />

• New • Used • Scratch ‘n Dent<br />

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 13<br />



Delivered<br />

to your<br />

doorstep<br />

or inbox.<br />

407-351-1573<br />

www.southwestorlandobulletin.com<br />

W&<br />

indows<br />

W alls<br />

“We Cover Windows with Style”<br />

Swags • Sheers • Valances<br />

Shades • Blinds • Verticals<br />

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Wallpaper • Bedding • Upholstery<br />

(407) 298-2626<br />

Village West Plaza • 6416 W. Colonial Dr., Orlando,<br />

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AA-B2B_2016-DYNASTY-9.5x7.44.indd 1<br />

11/17/16 2:35 PM

14 x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com<br />

Give the Gift of Jewelry<br />

Celebrate the Holidays<br />

with a New Job!<br />

Give the gift of world-class service<br />

to your special someone this year.<br />

A Gift for Your Taste Buds<br />

The Woodhouse Day Spa Gift Card Makes<br />

the Perfect Gift! We offer more than 70<br />

spa services on the menu to make<br />

everyone's holiday wish come true.<br />

The Woodhouse Day Spa<br />

Phone: 407-965-3131<br />

8060 Via Dellagio Way<br />

Orlando, FL 32819<br />

Website: Orlando.WoodhouseSpas.com<br />

Find the perfect gift this holiday season<br />

at Dynasty Gallery & Gifts! From Pandora<br />

Jewelry to Alex and Ani to Simply<br />

Southern, we have just the right gift for<br />

any budget!<br />

Dynasty Gallery & Gifts<br />

1067 S. Clarke Rd<br />

407-522-4400<br />

Give the gift of flavor with a gift card<br />

from Itta Bena. Located on the second<br />

level of Pointe Orlando lies Itta Bena,<br />

Orlando’s hidden gem, specializing in<br />

steaks and seafood.<br />

Itta Bena<br />

9101 International Drive<br />

Suite 2210<br />

Orlando, FL 32819<br />

407-757-2910<br />

www.Ittabenadining.com<br />

By giving the gift of The Job Search<br />

Navigator, you can help make<br />

that happen for anyone from recent<br />

college graduates to seasoned corporate<br />

executives! Copies of this in-depth<br />

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available at Barnes & Noble and all<br />

major book retailers or online at<br />

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©2016 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Aloft and its logos are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates. For<br />

full terms and conditions, visit aloftorlandodowntown.com.<br />

Prestigious Preschool through Fifth Grade<br />

• Preschool curriculum soars beyond ABCs and 123s into science,<br />

foreign language, music, art, character development and more<br />

• Advanced K-5 curriculum promotes active critical thinking and<br />

creative problem solving<br />

• Custom learning paths and low student/teacher ratios<br />

• State-of-the-art technology (touchboards, laptops and iPads)<br />

combined with hands-on exploration<br />

H O L I D A Y C A M P S<br />

A V A I L A B L E !<br />

Schedule Your Tour!<br />

(407) 294-6950<br />

www.CraniumAcademy.com<br />

A + P r e s c h o o l + E l e m e n t a r y + A f t e r S c h o o l + C a m p s + P a r t i e s<br />

4068 Winter Garden Vineland Road, Winter Garden, FL 34787<br />

Registered & Certified with the FL Dept of Education, Division of Private Schools. DCF License #C09OR0146.

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 15<br />

Give the Gift<br />

of Comedy & Mystery!<br />

Give the Gift of Better Grades<br />

This Holiday Season!<br />

Give the Gift That<br />

Keeps on Growing!<br />

Give the Gift of Beauty<br />

Save $20<br />

When you purchase<br />

A gift certificate for two!<br />

Price includes dinner & dessert,<br />

unlimited beer/wine &<br />

a hilarious mystery show!<br />

*print order form from website.<br />

Only available at: Sleuths<br />

Mystery Dinner Shows<br />

407-363-1985<br />

www.Sleuths.Com<br />

Purchase a $69 Academic Evaluation<br />

($199 value) from Huntington Learning<br />

Center and get your<br />

student started on the road to success!<br />

Huntington Learning Center<br />

5060 Dr. Phillips Blvd<br />

Orlando, FL 32819<br />

407-290-1111<br />

HuntingtonHelps.com<br />

Royal Landscape Nursery offers the best<br />

in landscaping and gardening needs with<br />

gift certificates that fit all amounts and<br />

any project size. Give them something<br />

they can enjoy over and over, whether<br />

they are project planning or just enjoy<br />

being with the flowers.<br />

Royal Landscape Nursery<br />

2204 Hempel Ave<br />

Gotha, FL 34734<br />

407-296-3042<br />

Royallandscapenursery.com<br />

Leave your loved one feeling pampered<br />

and refreshed this season. Stop by and<br />

pick up one of our fantastic<br />

gift cards to the Fresh Face Skin Spa<br />

today! While you're at it, take<br />

advantage of 1/2 OFF a facial service<br />

using SkinMedica products, for<br />

yourself! (with code <strong>SWB</strong>)<br />

Tara Magee- LE<br />

Fresh Face Skin Spa<br />

Chain of Lakes Cosmetic & Family Dentistry<br />

1805 Maguire Road, Suite 159<br />

Windermere, FL 34786<br />

407-876-6708<br />

DavidBoers.com<br />

Give Someone the<br />

Gift of Beautiful

16 x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com<br />

Give the Gift of Music!<br />

Give the Gift Card That Will<br />

Make Them Say "Ahhh."<br />

Give the Gift of the Arts.<br />

Give the Gift of Education<br />

This Year With a Gift Certificate<br />

From Edu World Tutors.<br />

OPMI music classes<br />

or private music lessons<br />

are the gifts that keep<br />

on giving!<br />

Enroll by January 1st<br />

and receive<br />

your first class/lesson FREE!<br />

Orlando Premier Music Instruction<br />

407-963-5529<br />

www.orlando-premier-music-instruction.com<br />

Orlando Premier Music Instruction<br />

From pampering massages, soothing<br />

facials and head-to-toe rejuvenating<br />

packages, The Spa at Rosen Centre has<br />

just the right treatment to soothe your<br />

loved one’s soul. To soothe your<br />

wallet, you’ll get $5 added to each $20<br />

gift card purchased now through<br />

Dec. 31, 2016.<br />

The Spa at Rosen Centre<br />

9840 International Drive<br />

Orlando, FL 32819<br />

407-996-1248<br />

SpaAtRosenCentre.com<br />

A gift certificate to Theatre South<br />

Playhouse can spark the creativity in<br />

any one of your friends and family.<br />

Good toward classes, private lessons,<br />

show fees, show tickets and more.<br />

Support local theater and inspire<br />

greatness at the same time. Gift<br />

Certificates are available in $50, $100,<br />

$150, $200 and $250.<br />

Theatre South Playhouse<br />

11184 S. Apopka Vineland Rd<br />

Orlando, FL 32819<br />

407-489-4458<br />

TheatreSouthPlayhouse.com<br />

Edu World Tutors is a convenient<br />

online, in-home or by phone tutoring<br />

service. Whether it is for your student or<br />

a busy family that would benefit from<br />

convenient tutoring, Edu World Tutors<br />

offers great hourly rates and gift<br />

certificates for tutoring services.<br />

Edu World Tutors<br />

407-413-3961<br />



Affordable Tutoring

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 17<br />

Quality Fitness Equipment<br />

Bike at Home<br />

for the Holidays!<br />

Keiser M3i Bike<br />

delivers a road-bike experience & a<br />

quiet, smooth ride with Keiser<br />

magnetic-resistance technology.<br />

Bluetooth enabled; download ride data<br />

to apps on your smartphone or tablet.<br />

Sale Price<br />

$1,895<br />

Exercise Systems, Inc.<br />

6881 Kingspointe Parkway<br />

Suite 10<br />

Orlando FL 32819<br />

407-996-8890<br />

www.exercisesystems.com<br />

Give the Gift of Wellness<br />

This Season!<br />

Spend $100 in gift cards and get a free<br />

promo card for $25, spend $150 and get<br />

a promo card for $50!<br />

Massage Envy Dr. Phillips<br />

407-354-3689<br />

8081 Turkey Lake Rd., Ste 100<br />

Orlando, FL 32819<br />

www.massageenvy.com<br />

Treadmills Ellipticals<br />

Upright, Recumbent & Spinning® Bikes<br />

Multi-Gyms Circuit Machines Accessories<br />

1450<br />

If you have limited floor space, the<br />

Vectra 1450 may be the home gym for<br />

you. Even a simple Olympic bar &<br />

bench require more room than this<br />

innovative machine. The 1450 takes up<br />

a miniscule 6’ x 6’ of floor space and<br />

can be placed anywhere; even against<br />

a wall or in a corner. And all of the<br />

exercises are performed WITHIN this<br />

footprint. Vertical dumbbell rack also<br />

available in matching finish<br />

Made in the USA<br />

Best<br />

Home Gym!<br />


BIG GYM<br />


4 standard frame finishes available to match your décor!<br />

Visit our beautiful showroom to see all the Vectra home gymsavoid<br />

the mall crowds! Weekend appointments available!<br />

Give the Gift of Holiday Fun!<br />

We have the<br />

M3i Indoor Cycling Bikes<br />

(used in YMCA & LA Fitness<br />

group cycling)<br />

FREE<br />

Delivery & Intstallation<br />

(Orlando Area)<br />

When you mention this ad<br />

Gift yourself some extra time while<br />

giving kids a fun place to play & learn<br />

with our Holiday Camp offered<br />

Dec. 19-23! Cost is $50/day for drop-off<br />

as early as 7 AM & pickup before 6 PM<br />

OR $200 for full day/full week. Half-day<br />

weekly options also available.<br />

Cranium Academy<br />

4068 Winter Garden Vineland Road<br />

Winter Garden, FL<br />

407-294-6950<br />

www.CraniumAcademy.com<br />

Give (and Receive)<br />

The Gift of Beautiful<br />

Get a $25 holiday bonus card for every<br />

$125 in gift cards purchased.<br />

Gift cards and bonus cards may be used<br />

to purchase any facial aesthetics, skin<br />

rejuvenation, body<br />

contouring, cosmetic laser or wellness<br />

treatment. Bonus cards are valid on<br />

services from 1/1/17 - 2/10/17.<br />

Gentle Touch MediSpa & Wellness<br />

2723 Maguire Road<br />

Ocoee, Florida 34761<br />

407-877-7003<br />

Design and print or email instantly at:<br />

www.gentletouchmedispa.com<br />

Hurry In- Quantities Limited!<br />

World’s #1 Rated Treadmill<br />

Lifetime Residential Warranty<br />

407.996.8890<br />

6881 Kingspointe Parkway<br />

Suite 10 Orlando 32819<br />

www.exercisesystems.com<br />

Showroom Hours M-F 8:30-5:30 Weekends by Appt.<br />

L-Series Treadmill<br />

Representing the very latest in<br />

treadmill innovation, the Landice<br />

L7 Treadmill is ideal for walkers,<br />

joggers, and serious runners<br />

alike. From the whisper-quiet 4<br />

HP continuous duty motor to its<br />

rust-free, aircraft-quality<br />

aluminum frame, Landice offers<br />

a product that will last a lifetime.<br />

Made in the USA

18 x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com<br />

Spa Blue, Orlando’s newest<br />

medispa, is located in the Conroy-<br />

Windermere area. Upon entering<br />

its blue-and-white-adorned facility<br />

complete with chandeliers, water fountains<br />

and friendly greetings from the<br />

lady behind the desk, guests feel more<br />

like they are participating in a private<br />

spa session at an elegant, boutiquestyle<br />

medispa. However, what they<br />

will leave with is a renewed sense<br />

of life and healing from several issues<br />

with their face, body and even<br />

sexual health through the latest in<br />

cutting-edge skin care and medispa<br />

procedures.<br />

Owner Janet Beres has 16 years<br />

of experience in dermatology and cosmetic<br />

surgery in the Central Florida<br />

area and is licensed through the Florida<br />

Board of Medicine. As a master-trained<br />

aesthetic injector, patients are rest<br />

assured they are in skilled hands when<br />

it comes to Botox and facial rejuvenation.<br />

She believes the services provided<br />

at Spa Blue are the way of the future<br />

for medical treatments.<br />

“I believe medicine is going to be<br />

changing in the future with all the<br />


medical advancements they are doing,<br />

like PRP [platelet-rich plasma] and<br />

stem cells,” Beres said. “We can help<br />

rejuvenate the whole body, for God<br />


A Boutique-Style Medispa<br />

Spa Blue Orlando Enhances Clients’ Bodies and Health<br />

(L. to r.)<br />

Johanna<br />

Gomez; Janet<br />

Beres, PA-C;<br />

and Adele<br />

Hernández of<br />

Spa Blue treat<br />

a wide variety<br />

of medical and<br />

cosmetic concerns.<br />

gave us powerful bodies, so we can<br />

heal ourselves.”<br />

Natural &<br />

Life-Changing<br />

Spa Blue clients are amazed at<br />

the plethora of services available to<br />

them, procedures that can take care<br />

of everything from acne to wrinkle<br />

care to urinary incontinence.<br />

Beres wanted to create a medispa<br />

that did not resemble a hospital atmosphere<br />

with locked doors and clients<br />

getting facials next to those needing<br />

skin cancer treatments.<br />

“We spend quality one-on-one time<br />

with our clients for skin assessments<br />

and consultations; [explaining] what<br />

we can do to improve their skin and<br />

look more youthful, with quality over<br />

quantity,” Beres said. “Our 15-minute<br />

consults usually turn into a treatment<br />

the very same day.”<br />

Laser rejuvenation for the skin<br />

and Juvéshape to melt away fat and<br />

tighten the skin are some choice treatments,<br />

as are the various dermal fillers<br />

Spa Blue offers. As a master injector,<br />

Beres is also known for her exceptional<br />

techniques in dissolving fillers that<br />

are lumpy, bumpy or uneven.<br />

Those suffering from acne can see<br />

miraculous, nonprescription results<br />

happen with Spa Blue’s customized<br />

treatments, where acne problems can<br />

be eradicated and even acne scars<br />

removed entirely. For teens, a special<br />

$49 facial program can help eliminate<br />

their pimples and keep their skin<br />

on a well-balanced track.<br />

One new medical procedure that<br />

Beres is excited to offer clients is the<br />

PRP, or platelet-rich plasma, that is<br />

used to rejuvenate the hair, skin and<br />

body with a person’s own plasma.<br />

Named the “Vampire facial,” Spa<br />

Blue utilizes the procedure with a microneedle<br />

to where there is no pain<br />

and only a pink glow on the skin<br />

with no downtime. What has also<br />

been amazing is how the PRP method<br />

has been used to restore sexual<br />

health and libido in women, which<br />

the medispa offers as the Cleopatra<br />

Procedure.<br />

“Every person has [had] great results<br />

and given great testimonies,”<br />

Beres said. “I had a 30-year-old<br />

woman and a 60-year-old woman<br />

both have the Cleopatra Procedure<br />

done. Both wrote their testimonies on<br />

the same day, and both wrote, ‘I am<br />

a new woman.’”<br />

In a 15-minute office procedure<br />

that is nonsurgical and painless, PRP<br />

is a new alternative treatment to and<br />

can be very effective in improving<br />

urinary incontinence. Many women<br />

experience reduction in urinary incontinence<br />

and improvement in strengthening<br />

the muscles of the pelvic floor,<br />

as well as reduction of pain during<br />

intercourse. Beres also mentioned<br />

that it has shown to be effective in the<br />

scalp when used for male and female<br />

patterned baldness and thinning.<br />

At Spa Blue, clients are more than<br />

just a number. It’s the perfect medispa<br />

for people who desire to look and feel<br />

more youthful. Beres has a passion<br />

for facial aesthetics and understands<br />

the delicate balance of restoring the<br />

face to its more youthful and rested<br />

appearance.<br />

“It’s a nice, elegant experience<br />

where you will leave feeling refreshed<br />

and looking youthful but still natural,”<br />

Beres said.<br />

Spa Blue is located in Suite 423 at 6735 Conroy-<br />

Windermere Road in Orlando. For more information<br />

or to make an appointment, call 407-772-2583. ª

14 x October 20 - November 2, 2016 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com<br />

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 19<br />

I-Drive<br />

Beckons<br />

Southwest<br />

Residents<br />

Rediscover<br />

Dear Central Florida Residents,<br />

The holidays are here, and there<br />

is no better place to celebrate<br />

than on International Drive. Come<br />

down and enjoy the spectacular<br />

holiday lights along the I-Drive<br />

corridor. Our beautiful hotels and<br />

resorts will amaze you!<br />

When looking for that special<br />

gift, stop in at one of our shops<br />

and outlet malls. Grabbing a bite<br />

or a romantic dinner? Join us at<br />

one of our amazing restaurants<br />

for delicious food and holiday<br />

cheer, and don’t forget our attractions.<br />

Enjoy a day filled with festive<br />

holiday lights and fun-filled<br />

holiday entertainment.<br />

When you want to celebrate<br />

the holidays, come down to the<br />

International Drive Resort Area<br />

and join in the fun, excitement<br />

and good cheer. Wishing all<br />

Southwest residents a very happy<br />


holiday and all the best in the<br />

coming year!<br />

Warm regards,<br />

Maria Triscari, president/CEO<br />

International Drive Resort Area<br />

Chamber of Commerce<br />

www.internationaldrivechamber.com<br />


Orlando's Live Upscale<br />

Escape Game<br />

Gift cards available<br />

A great stocking stuffer<br />

$5 OFF<br />


Not available on gift cards<br />







TH3 C0D3<br />


407 278 1515<br />



14 20 x x October December 20 15, - November 2016 - January 2, 20164, 2017 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com<br />


FREE $ 20<br />


with purchase of $ 20 game play *<br />

The most fun you’ll have on I-Drive!<br />

®<br />


Dave & Buster’s Orlando<br />

8986 International Dr • Orlando, FL 32819<br />

*Promotional. EXPIRES: 2/28/2017. Present this coupon at Front Desk to redeem. Limit one coupon per<br />

customer. Barcode valid for one use only. Not valid with any other offers. Not valid with Special Events<br />

Packages. Coupon must be surrendered at time of redemption. Non negotiable. Power Card® activation fee<br />

is $2. ($3 Times Square). NOT FOR RESALE. Valid at Orlando Location only.<br />




• Birthday Parties<br />

• Holiday Parties<br />

Private<br />

Parties<br />

• Rehearsal Dinners<br />

• Corporate Events<br />

Happy Hour<br />

daily<br />

from<br />

5-7 PM<br />


WWW.MANGOS.COM • (407) 673-4422<br />



End the year inspired and celebrate New Year’s Eve in the<br />

enchanting Castle Hotel. Escape the familiar lights and<br />

sounds of International Drive for a fantasy filled with luxury<br />

surroundings, tantalizing cuisine and cocktails with a twist<br />

of unusual. It’s a celebration for all your senses.<br />

Escape to CastleHotelOrlando.com, 407.345.1511,<br />

for a twist on your I-Drive story.<br />


www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 21<br />


11951 INTERNATIONAL DRIVE • ORLANDO, FL 32821 • 407 278 1515 • WWW.ESCAPOLOGY.COM<br />

INTERNATIONAL 7557 West Sand Lake Road, #162, DRIVE Orlando, RESORT FL 32819 • Phone: AREA 407-903-0084 CHAMBER • internationaldrivechamber.com<br />


22 x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com<br />

n Ocoee<br />

The Ocoee Fire Department is hosting<br />

its 16th annual Operation Santa<br />

event this month. For six days, Santa<br />

Claus and his helpers will visit Ocoee<br />

neighborhoods, tossing candy and<br />

spreading holiday cheer to hundreds<br />

of children and families. The jolly crew<br />

has already visited some communities<br />

aboard a special holiday float on four<br />

different days and is scheduled to visit<br />

more Dec. 15 and Dec. 20. New, unwrapped<br />

toys given to the Santa on<br />

the float are donated to Ocoee Police<br />

Department’s Holiday Toys for Kids in<br />

Need drive. For a complete list of subdivisions<br />

to be visited, visit www.ocoee.<br />

org on the web or call the Ocoee Fire<br />

Department at 407-905-3140.<br />

Ameena McKenzie of Ocoee<br />

has been busy with Brenau University,<br />

Gainesville Theatre Alliance and<br />

WonderQuest. She is majoring in musical<br />

theater at Brenau University and<br />

will graduate with the Class of 2018.<br />

Ameena worked as a carpenter on<br />

the productions of The Flick, Mermaid<br />

Song, and Beauty and the Beast. She<br />

also performed as Fannie in Flyin’<br />

West at the Ed Cabell Theatre at the<br />

University of North Georgia.<br />

n Windermere<br />


Rosie Moore of Windermere announced<br />

the nationwide release of<br />

her new children’s book, A Day in a<br />

Puppy’s Life. The story follows Tom, an<br />

adorable husky who always seems to<br />

get himself into trouble, and his exciting<br />

adventures when his owner is not<br />

at home. Published by Tate Publishing<br />

and Enterprises, the book is available<br />

through bookstores nationwide, as well<br />

as online. Rosie is a mother of three<br />

children — Christopher, Kayla and<br />

Kaleb. She also is the founder of The<br />

Gift of Live, a charitable organization<br />

that helps premature babies. Her<br />

compiled by Lauren Salinero<br />

hobbies include reading, writing, dancing<br />

and spending time with her family.<br />

In what attendees dubbed the “best<br />

Light Up Windermere ever,” 3,000<br />

people took part in the town’s fourth<br />

annual welcome to the holiday season.<br />

As promised, there was snow<br />

in Windermere, as First Baptist<br />

Church Windermere donated 10<br />

tons. It became a gathering place for<br />

people of all ages to make snowballs,<br />

slip and slide, or simply enjoy the white<br />

fluff. Leading up to the lighting, three<br />

different choirs from FBCW provided<br />

songs of the season. Hundreds of children<br />

joined Mayor Gary Bruhn as<br />

During Light Up Windermere, one of three choirs from First Baptist Church of<br />

Windermere serenades the crowd with songs of the season.

the entire town was lit by more than<br />

100,000 lights and more than onehalf<br />

a mile of wiring. The community<br />

extends its thanks to the church for<br />

its support, as well as Windermere’s<br />

Downtown Business Committee and the<br />

Windermere Wine and Dine, whose<br />

contributions paid entirely for this year’s<br />

lighting.<br />

Windermere resident Paul F.<br />

Shuler, M.D., announced the opening<br />

of his new Ocoee practice,<br />

Provident Orthopedic and Sports<br />

Medicine. Prior to pursuing medicine,<br />

Dr. Shuler graduated summa cum<br />

laude from Michigan Technological<br />

University with a degree in electrical<br />

engineering. He returned to Michigan<br />

State University College of Human<br />

Medicine to earn a medical degree.<br />

He is board-certified in orthopedic<br />

surgery and orthopedic sports medicine.<br />

When he is not with his family or<br />

enjoying his favorite activities of waterskiing,<br />

swimming, biking and camping,<br />

Dr. Shuler is often “tinkering.”<br />

n Winter Garden<br />

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 23<br />

William Derdock Jr. of Winter<br />

Garden was initiated into the Honor<br />

Society of Phi Kappa Phi at Eastern<br />

Kentucky University. The society is the<br />

nation’s oldest, most selective collegiate<br />

honor society for all academic disciplines.<br />

William is among approximately<br />

30,000 students, faculty members,<br />

professional staff and alumni to be initiated<br />

into Phi Kappa Phi each year.<br />

Membership is by invitation and requires<br />

nomination and approval by a chapter.<br />

n Et Al<br />

Southwest<br />

resident Etline<br />

St. Jean<br />

joins the team<br />

at Weichert,<br />

Realtors Hallmark<br />

Properties as a<br />

Realtor.<br />

Officials at Weichert, Realtors<br />

Hallmark Properties announced that<br />

Realtor Etline St. Jean of Southwest<br />

Orlando joined their Kissimmee office.<br />

Etline assists homebuyers and sellers in<br />

Kissimmee, Orlando and the surrounding<br />

areas with all of their real estate<br />

needs.<br />

Virginia Trudeau & Deedee Sherman<br />

Vladimir Bykov (back) of MetroWest and Camila<br />

Varley perform in Central Florida Ballet’s The Nutcracker.<br />

Central Florida Ballet representatives<br />

named this year’s lineup for the 16th<br />

anniversary of The Nutcracker production.<br />

Artistic Director Vladimir Bykov<br />

of MetroWest will play the title role<br />

of Drosselmeyer. Elizabeth Cotter<br />

of Windermere will play the lead<br />

roles of Jig, Chinese Lead and Spanish<br />

Demi-Solo. She will be joined by her<br />

mother as the Main<br />

Party Mom, her father<br />

as the Party Dad, and<br />

her brother as a Party<br />

Dad. Ellexis Hatch of<br />

Dr. Phillips will be featured<br />

as a soloist, performing<br />

as Shepherdess<br />

and Butterfly in Waltz<br />

of the Flowers. Gina<br />

Hatch of Dr. Phillips will<br />

be featured as the Maid<br />

and Mother Ginger.<br />

Sara Komatsu and<br />

Madison Spack of<br />

MetroWest will alternate<br />

in lead roles of Chinese<br />

Lead and Jig.<br />


ROYAL Landscape Nursery<br />

Our Quality Keeps Us GROWING!<br />

• Trees<br />

• Shrubs<br />

• Palms<br />

• Ground Covers<br />

• Sod<br />

• Rocks<br />

• Mulch<br />

Compare To Big Box Store : Better Pricing, Better Quality<br />

Join our<br />

email listing<br />

for specials<br />

Royal Brick Pavers<br />

Call for a free estimate:<br />

e<br />

Pavers Design & Installation • Driveways • Walkways<br />

Pool Decks • Patios • Retaining Walls • Fire Pits<br />

Get Your Tickets Today!<br />

Friday, February 17<br />

7 p.m.<br />

Saturday 8AM-3PM<br />

www.royallandscapenursery.com<br />


24 x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com<br />


Rotary Club of Dr. Phillips<br />

awarded three of its members Paul<br />

Harris Fellow awards. Paul Harris<br />

Fellowship contributions support<br />

Rotary International programs, providing<br />

educational opportunities,<br />

food, potable water, health care,<br />

immunizations and shelter for millions<br />

of people around the world.<br />

Rotarians Harry and Liz Mancia<br />

Rotary Club of Dr. Phillips Foundation Chairman<br />

Dave Lehman (left) presents a Paul Harris Fellow Award<br />

to Scott Wellington.<br />

and Scott Wellington received<br />

the awards because of their special<br />

donations toward Rotary Foundation<br />

and the ways in which their lives<br />

exemplify the humanitarian and<br />

educational objectives of the Rotary<br />

Foundation.<br />

Rotary Club<br />

of Dr. Phillips<br />

Foundation<br />

Chairman Dave<br />

Lehman (left)<br />

presents Paul<br />

Harris Fellow<br />

awards to secondtime<br />

recipient<br />

Harry Mancia<br />

(center) and<br />

Harry’s wife, firsttime<br />

recipient Liz<br />

Mancia.<br />

consults with small business owners<br />

and assesses their companies’ credit<br />

and cash management needs,<br />

allowing her to provide solutions<br />

tailored to their specific business.<br />

Shalonda has worked in the banking<br />

field for 13 years, serving as a<br />

banking center manager and business<br />

banking relationship manager.<br />

She holds a doctorate in business<br />

-<br />

(L. to r.) Don Snyder of MetroWest, Diana (Chastain) Kastner of Winderlakes,<br />

Terryl White of Lake Marsha, and Juliana Daurio of Providence attend Rotary Club of<br />

Dr. Phillips’ 10th annual A Taste of Dr. Phillips.<br />

Bank of America officials appointed<br />

Southwest resident Shalonda<br />

Warren small business banker for<br />

south Orange and Osceola counties.<br />

She provides personalized<br />

attention to small business owners<br />

by connecting with them, typically<br />

at their places of business, and<br />

by implementing solutions to help<br />

them operate successfully. She also<br />

administration with a specialization<br />

in marketing, as well as two master<br />

degrees, one in business and one in<br />

management.<br />

Although we try to ensure that all information presented<br />

above is the most current, correct and dependable<br />

available, we do rely on others for the source of our<br />

news. Therefore, the Southwest Orlando Bulletin and<br />

Kearney Publishing Corp. cannot be held responsible<br />

for the validity of the information presented here,<br />

nor does mentioning it constitute an endorsement.<br />

In Your Neighborhood news is welcome and may<br />

be mailed to P.O. Box 851, Windermere, FL 34786;<br />

or emailed to Lauren@kearneypublishing.com. ª

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 25<br />

The entries submitted for Southwest Orlando Bulletin’s 25th annual<br />

Stories of the Season contest told tales of special visits from Santa, mystical<br />

holiday creatures and the joy of spending time with family and friends.<br />

Whether they recreate holiday memories or take readers to imaginary<br />

places filled with elves, reindeer and their ilk, they are sure to add holiday<br />

spirit to all this year.<br />

Congratulations to first-place winner Victoria Hernandez of Sand<br />

Lake Hills, runner-up Tabitha Eastham of Ocoee, and child winner<br />

Porter MacCabe of Saddlebrooke, all of whom received cash<br />

prizes. Also included are submissions selected as honorable mentions.<br />

The staff of the Southwest Orlando Bulletin extends thank-yous to everyone<br />

who entered the contest and wishes a happy holiday season to all.<br />

Winner<br />

My Favorite Time of Year<br />

by Victoria Hernandez<br />

Sand Lake Hills<br />

Christmas has always been my favorite<br />

time of year. My reasons have changed,<br />

however.<br />

As a little girl, I loved it for the same<br />

reasons as any other kid: Santa Claus<br />

and presents. Staying up late with my little<br />

brother, hoping to see the jolly old man<br />

in the red suit, and tracking him down on<br />

websites were always exciting. Of course,<br />

we would end up falling asleep before he<br />

arrived, but in the morning, the best part of<br />

all came — opening the gifts he’d brought<br />

for us! I now look back and wish our childhood<br />

had never ended, for it now seems<br />

10 times more magical.<br />

I still love Christmas, but now I love the<br />

lights ... though it is a pain to set them up.<br />

I now love the weather ... when I’m not<br />

standing outside in the dark, frozen in<br />

place at a bus stop. I now love the decorations<br />

... even though every magazine in<br />

the store makes me jealous of the perfectly<br />

imperfect decorated homes. I now love the<br />

drinks, because it is the only time of the<br />

year my grandmother makes homemade<br />

hot punch. I now love the food, because it<br />

is the second time in the year that we eat<br />

like kings. And I now love the time spent<br />

with family and friends, because it is one of<br />

the few times everyone is together.<br />

Christmastime is always hectic, crazy<br />

and busy, but full of laughter, memories<br />

and nostalgia. Whenever my family comes<br />

together, it is loud but cozy. I treasure these<br />

moments very much.<br />

Toward the end of the past couple of<br />

years, I have found myself reflecting about<br />

life and the previous 12 months. This year,<br />

I’ll be able to think about 16 years worth<br />

of memories and the awesome 2016 I<br />

have had. As beautiful as Christmas is, it<br />

always comes with a bittersweet sense of<br />

closure. Perhaps that is why it is so beautiful.<br />

The feeling of closure makes me stop,<br />

think, remember and enjoy the present.<br />

That’s what Christmas is all about in the<br />

end. It is about remembrance and being<br />

thankful — thankful for small things like<br />

Santa Claus, presents, annoying lights,<br />

cold and sunny weather, perfectly imperfect<br />

decorations, grandma’s homemade<br />

punch, savory meals and loud-but-cozy<br />

family time.<br />

Runner-Up<br />

A Fresh Start<br />

by Tabitha Eastham<br />

Ocoee<br />

She stepped off the train — a little disheveled<br />

from the long ride. She never<br />

imagined that she would take so long to<br />

get from the big city to this sleepy little<br />

town. She had, however, shared great<br />

conversation with her seatmate — a sweet,<br />

good-looking, younger gentleman traveling<br />

home from a long business trip. Sadly,<br />

she would never see him again.<br />

As soon as her face touched the air, she<br />

noticed a swift change in the temperature.<br />

She was met with bitter coldness, the kind<br />

of cold that feels like tiny daggers pricking<br />

the flesh. It had been an especially bad<br />

year. With the death of her grandmother<br />

and then a broken wedding engagement, it<br />

was time for a fresh start. What better way<br />

to start anew than to move to a new place<br />

and start a new job, and that was exactly<br />

what she had chosen to do.<br />

She took a seat on the bench outside of<br />

the train station in an attempt to wait for<br />

the carriage that was to come fetch her.<br />

An older gentleman was already sitting on<br />

the bench reading the town gazette. The<br />

moment she took her seat, he looked up<br />

from his paper and flashed her a brief, yet<br />

quite congenial, smile. She reciprocated his<br />

politeness by smiling back.<br />

Hour after hour passed, but the carriage<br />

never came. She was beginning to worry<br />

that she would never make it to her destination,<br />

which was the town’s local hotel.<br />

In that time, the friendly elderly gentleman<br />

rode his carriage down to the feed<br />

store to purchase items and passed back<br />

by the train station.<br />

“You’ve been sittin’ there a long time,<br />

young lady,” he said. “Do you need a ride<br />

somewhere?”<br />

STLUKE ’ S<br />


“I was waiting on the local carriage company<br />

to come and get me, but it seems that<br />

the driver isn’t making a stop here today,”<br />

she said.<br />

“You missed the last ride. It was at one<br />

o’clock in the afternoon, and seeing that it<br />

is now 5 p.m., you are going to be stuck<br />

here tonight,” the man said matter-of-factly.<br />

“Oh, my!” she exclaimed.<br />

She had no clue what she was going to<br />

do, as the weather was starting to take a<br />

turn for the worse. The snow was beginning<br />


4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Road<br />

Orlando, Florida 32819<br />

407.876.4991<br />


26 x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com<br />


to pour from the sky, and she was freezing<br />

from the inside out.<br />

“Tell you what,” he said with a smile.<br />

“You can come stay at our house tonight.<br />

My wife, Ella, would love to have a visitor<br />

stay with us!”<br />

“I couldn’t impose upon you like that,”<br />

she said.<br />

“Nonsense!” he exclaimed, as he pried<br />

the bag from her little hand and placed it<br />

in the carriage.<br />

They drove for about 15 minutes, until<br />

they reached a quaint little cottage on<br />

the north side of town. Snow covered the<br />

gabled rooftop like melted marshmallows.<br />

When she walked in the front door, she<br />

saw a fabulous spruce tree decorated with<br />

popcorn, candy canes and pine cones.<br />

She was astounded by how breathtaking<br />

it was.<br />

That night, after an extraordinary meal<br />

and amazing conversation with these two<br />

kindhearted souls, she fell fast alseep in the<br />

cozy bed they had arranged for her.<br />

In the morning, she awoke to the smell of<br />

freshly brewed coffee. She got dressed and<br />

made her way down the tiny stairs. While<br />

descending the stairs, she heard familiar<br />

laughter. When she entered the kitchen,<br />

she was greeted by the elderly couple.<br />

“Good morning, Rosalyn,” they said.<br />

“We’d like you to meet our son.”<br />

The young man turned around. It was<br />

him, the kind stranger from the train ...<br />

Child Winner<br />

Scarecrow’s Christmas<br />

by Porter MacCabe<br />

Saddlebrooke<br />

Once upon a time there was a scarecrow.<br />

A farmer had put up the scarecrow<br />

for harvest, but he forgot about it. The<br />

scarecrow had a sack head, sweater and<br />

jacket. He also had a pair of jeans with<br />

patched knees. One night there was a<br />

strong windstorm. During the storm, the<br />

metal arrow from the farmer’s weather<br />

vane flew off the house and shot into the<br />

scarecrow’s neck. The next night, a bolt of<br />

lightning hit the metal rod and brought the<br />

scarecrow to life. Then, with a straw-stuffed<br />

body, the scarecrow set out to live in the<br />

wild.<br />

The scarecrow was bored in the wild. He<br />

was just sitting alone in a cave with only a<br />

rock to call his friend. After a few weeks, he<br />

heard a bang! He hurried outside where he<br />

found a turkey that was being shot at. He<br />

ran and grabbed the turkey, and then ran<br />

away. He soon had run at least a mile, so<br />

he put down the turkey and asked, “Why<br />

do they hunt you down like that?”<br />

“Because,” the turkey said, “it’s<br />

Thanksgiving, and they think eating turkey<br />

is better than beef jerky. You have shown<br />

me an act of great bravery and kindness.<br />

I thank you!”<br />

With that, the turkey ran back to the forest,<br />

and the scarecrow ran back to his cave.<br />

Almost one month later, the bored scarecrow<br />

heard a noise, so he went to check it<br />

out. He found a man who had just chopped<br />

down a tree. He was marching away with<br />

the tree, happily singing songs.<br />

The scarecrow saw this and said to himself,<br />

“This is outrageous! How dare he chop<br />

down a tree and sing so merrily! I shall follow<br />

him, or as scarecrows say, stalk him<br />

like we stalk crows, for I shall find the purpose<br />

for killing that tree.”<br />

A few minutes later, the scarecrow found<br />

the man inside a house. He looked through<br />

a window and saw the man and his family<br />

joyously decorating the tree. Then the<br />

youngest child put a star atop the tree and<br />

smiled.<br />

“What’s this?” the scarecrow asked.<br />

“They are hanging mistletoe, and putting<br />

strings of lights and a star on the tree. What<br />

is this?<br />

He turned to leave and hit a pole.<br />

“Ouch!” he exclaimed, while reading<br />

a banner on the pole. “Merry Christmas?<br />

Christmas? Then I shall celebrate it, too!”<br />

The next day, he gathered lights, mistletoe,<br />

an ax and a star. Then he chopped<br />

down a tree, and put the lights and star on<br />

it. He then put up more lights and plugged<br />

the lights into a solar panel to make the<br />

lights and star shine. Afterward, he put up<br />

the mistletoe and rested.<br />

He awoke Christmas morning. There<br />

were a box and card underneath the tree.<br />

The card read, Dear Scarecrow, Christmas<br />

is about joy and happiness with friends and<br />

family. Cherish it. From Santa Claus.<br />

He opened the box. Inside it was a book<br />

called Christmas Carols. He opened the<br />

book and sang a song.<br />

Hearing the song, the turkey, a bear,<br />

two squirrels, two hawks, a blue bird and<br />

a partridge in a pear tree soon came.<br />

“Come and sing with me, friends,”<br />

Scarecrow said.<br />

And so the animals sang and helped to<br />

make a feast. I should know, because I am

the scarecrow who celebrates Christmas. I<br />

live in a cave. Bigfoot is my friend and so<br />

are all the animals of the forest. Life has<br />

never been happier!<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

A Magical Combination<br />

by Savanna Schenk<br />

Keene’s Pointe<br />

Christmas isn’t just another day in<br />

December. Christmas is a season that is<br />

celebrated continuously throughout the<br />

entire month. To me, Christmas is one of<br />

the most important holidays. It brings together<br />

friends and family. The elements<br />

of Christmas cheer can be seen in stores,<br />

heard in songs and seen on the faces of<br />

happy children. The beautiful energy is felt<br />

in our hearts as we carry out family traditions,<br />

give gifts and celebrate the birth of<br />

Jesus Christ.<br />

Generally speaking, most families<br />

have traditions they uphold each year<br />

during the holidays. Families of different<br />

backgrounds enjoy foods that are unique<br />

to their culture. People enjoy decorating<br />

their homes and yards to express their<br />

Christmas spirit. Other traditions may<br />

include activities like caroling, making<br />

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 27<br />

Christmas cookies or building gingerbread<br />

houses. Still, others enjoy traveling<br />

to see friends and family in other parts of<br />

the country or world.<br />

Nobody denies that receiving a gift is a<br />

wonderful feeling. However, giving a gift<br />

can be even more rewarding. Taking time<br />

to think of others will definitely improve<br />

their day, as well as yours. Making or buying<br />

gifts for those we love makes them feel<br />

special. In addition to giving gifts to people<br />

we know, Christmas is also about sharing<br />

with those who are less fortunate. We<br />

should always remember how blessed we<br />

are and how important it is to share those<br />

blessings with others.<br />

Most importantly to me, Jesus is the reason<br />

for the season. The spirit of Christmas<br />

underlying all other traditions comes from<br />

the gift of Jesus’ love. His love allows me<br />

to generously spread cheer, hope, purpose<br />

and good will to all.<br />

Above all, Christmas is the magical<br />

combination of family traditions, delicious<br />

food, joyful music, gift-giving and charitable<br />

sharing, all wrapped up in the gift of<br />

Jesus’ love. Even though the world consists<br />

of many different people, we are connected<br />

spiritually. Christmas is so much more<br />

than Dec. 25. It is a time, season, holiday<br />

and spectacular series of events. It is the<br />

ultimate promise of hope, a reason for joy,<br />

and the love that unites us all.<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

The Carriage Ride<br />

by Emily McCarron<br />

Belmere<br />

It was a frigid day in winter. The<br />

streets of England were cold and windy.<br />

Cassandra Wentworth was grateful that<br />

she was in her warm, comfortable carriage<br />

instead of outside. She was riding<br />

home after having tea with her friend,<br />

Abigail Thompson.<br />

As the carriage was nearing<br />

Cassandra’s house, she saw a woman<br />

and children out on the street. They looked<br />

hungry and cold. Cassandra remembered<br />

something her mother had told her. When<br />

Cassandra was little she had asked why<br />

some people didn’t have homes and food.<br />

Her mother told her that some people<br />

were less fortunate than Cassandra, and<br />

everyone couldn’t always afford those<br />

things. Cassandra’s mother told her that<br />

she should always help the less fortunate.<br />

She told Cassandra that if she made a few<br />

people happier, she could make the world<br />

happier.<br />

Cassandra told the driver to stop.<br />

The driver stopped the carriage, and<br />

Cassandra stepped outside.<br />

Gathering up her courage, she walked<br />

over to the woman and said, “Hello, would<br />

you like to go on a carriage ride?”<br />

The woman was hesitant and confused<br />

at first, but when one of her children said,<br />

“Mama, can we go?” she agreed.<br />

Once comfortably seated in the carriage,<br />

Cassandra told the driver to take the<br />

carriage around the streets for a short time.<br />

During that time, Cassandra and the lady,<br />

whose name was Charlotte, made cheerful<br />

conversation.<br />

Charlotte repeatedly said how happy<br />

she was that Cassandra had offered to<br />

give her and her children — Thomas, Mary<br />

and Rose — a carriage ride. Charlotte said<br />

that it was enough kindness to last them a<br />

lifetime.<br />

Cassandra thought about what she<br />

had done and how happy she had made<br />

Charlotte and her family. Cassandra wanted<br />

to do more for them.<br />


28 x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com<br />


She turned to Charlotte and said,<br />

“Would you like to come stay in my house?<br />

We have plenty of room.”<br />

Charlotte and her children were overjoyed<br />

after hearing the offer, and after seeing<br />

the happiness in her children’s faces,<br />

Charlotte accepted. That day, Charlotte,<br />

Thomas, Mary and Rose went to live with<br />

Cassandra.<br />

A few weeks later, it was Christmas.<br />

The chefs were very busy preparing a<br />

large Christmas dinner for the many people<br />

living in Cassandra’s house. Inviting<br />

Charlotte and her children to live with<br />

her made Cassandra feel happy, so she<br />

continued searching for poor families in<br />

town, offering them rides in her carriage<br />

and a nice place to live at her house.<br />

By Christmas, the house was full of men,<br />

women and children who were grateful<br />

for Cassandra’s kindness. All of the people<br />

Cassandra had helped were in warm<br />

spirits.<br />

Adults were sitting by the fire, talking;<br />

children were merrily playing; and everyone<br />

was greatly anticipating the meal that<br />

was yet to come. The happiest person in<br />

the room was Cassandra. She was filled<br />

with joy at the sight of the people’s happy<br />

faces.<br />

Cassandra worked for the rest of her life<br />

to seek out people who needed help and<br />

give them places to stay and food to eat.<br />

Her home became known as The Carriage<br />

House, and people were always welcome<br />

to come in and stay for as long as they<br />

needed.<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

What Christmas Means to Me<br />

by Emily Meena<br />

Westover Club<br />

Ding! Oh, the delicious gingerbread<br />

cookies I’d been awaiting all season were<br />

ready to come out of the oven! I opened<br />

the oven and grinned as the mouthwatering<br />

scents of cinnamon and spices wafted<br />

into my nose. I pulled the long tray out of<br />

the oven and set it on the granite counter. I<br />

grazed my hands over the warm cookies,<br />

picked the perfect one, and popped the<br />

chewy goodness into my watering mouth.<br />

Christmas means many things to me. I love<br />

the holiday festivities and celebrations.<br />

Christmas means spending time with family,<br />

dong classic Christmas traditions — like<br />

decorating the tree, of course! — and<br />

giving to others.<br />

Spending time with family is a great<br />

way to create everlasting memories. I enjoy<br />

chattering about the true meaning of<br />

Christmas, a baby born to save the world,<br />

instead of worrying about if I’m going to<br />

receive the item I’ve been waiting for all<br />

year long.<br />

My family eats a feast Christmas night<br />

with refreshing sparkling cider, tender turkey,<br />

buttery rolls and freshly mashed potatoes.<br />

I like reading Christmas stories with<br />

them and excitedly waiting all season to<br />

have fun Christmas Day. We have a blast<br />

searching all over town to find the perfect<br />

tree, not too skinny or tall, with just the right<br />

number of branches to hang all our meaningful<br />

ornaments.<br />

Celebrating classic holiday traditions,<br />

like baking Christmas cookies and hanging<br />

sparkling lights outside to make our<br />

house glow, really help enhance the swollen<br />

excitement of the holiday season.<br />

Decorating our Christmas tree is one of<br />

my favorite things, carefully hanging delicate<br />

ornaments and stringing lights on<br />

the tall branches while listening to cheery<br />

Christmas music. It’s just a great way to<br />

bond with family. I love wrapping presents<br />

for others, using decorative wrapping<br />

paper, and placing the presents under<br />

the tree. Baking gingerbread and buttery<br />

shortbread cookies is definitely one of the<br />

best things to do during the busy holiday<br />

season. I like to decorate them with small,<br />

colorful sprinkles and use cookie cutters to<br />

mold them into festive shapes like angels,<br />

reindeer, bells, etc.<br />

After that, giving to others is a joyful<br />

thing. It produces a happy bond between<br />

you and the receiver. We give to<br />

celebrate how God sent His son so we<br />

could be saved and have eternal life with<br />

Him in heaven. I love seeing people open<br />

gifts I gave them and wearing a smile on<br />

their faces as they tear it open. When you<br />

give to others, it creates warm feelings all<br />

around. Plus, ripping open a delicately<br />

wrapped present and getting what you’ve<br />

always wanted is sure to bring a smile to<br />

your face.<br />

To sum it all up, Christmas has many<br />

heartfelt meanings. The music, exchanging<br />

of gifts, gobbling down a well-prepared<br />

feast — it’s all great, but it’s the holiday’s<br />

real meaning, Jesus, that is the joy of the<br />

Christmas season.<br />

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Honorable Mention<br />

Hanukkahistmas<br />

by Kadance Jablon<br />

Wintermere Harbor<br />

Meet Hunter. Hunter is an outgoing<br />

Christian boy. He loves to pray with his<br />

family and go to church. It was the week<br />

before Christmas, and Hunter was excited.<br />

He loved seeing relatives, opening presents<br />

and praising his Lord and savior.<br />

Hunter noticed there were no Christmas<br />

decorations in school. He asked Ms.<br />

Hansford, his teacher, “Where are all the<br />

Christmas decorations?”<br />

“Not everyone celebrates Christmas,<br />

Hunter,” a boy named Joseph interrupted.<br />

“So, what do you celebrate?” asked<br />

Hunter, suddenly feeling threatened.<br />

“Hanukkah,” Joseph replied.<br />

“Oh, that holiday they copied off of<br />

Christianity?” Hunter asked.<br />

“Actually, Judaism was first, so the<br />

Christians copied us,” Joseph said confidently,<br />

while giving Hunter a death glare.<br />

Joseph was the shy Jewish boy in Hunter’s<br />

class. He was just as excited for Hanukkah<br />

as Hunter was about Christmas, except<br />

Joseph always felt left out. He was the only<br />

kid in class who celebrated Hanukkah.<br />

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 29<br />

Ms. Hansford pulled the boys away from<br />

each other.<br />

“Boys! This won’t be tolerated at our<br />

school. Go to detention, and think about<br />

what you have done.”<br />

The boys sat in detention without saying<br />

a word. All of a sudden, a blast of wind<br />

brushed Joseph’s face, and a golden door<br />

appeared out of nowhere. A man came<br />

through the door. He was wearing an old<br />

cloak and had a brown goatee.<br />

The mysterious man said nothing, but<br />

guided his hand toward the door, wanting<br />

the boys to go through. Without thinking,<br />

they went.<br />

“Have fun in Israel,” the man said, closing<br />

the door behind the boys.<br />

Then the boys fell and landed in sand.<br />

“Hunter, do you know where we are?”<br />

Joseph questioned happily.<br />

Not waiting for Hunter to answer, Joseph<br />

pointed at a temple and told the story of<br />

how Hanukkah began.<br />

“There was a Jewish group called the<br />

Maccabees. They were on a journey to<br />

take back the temple from Antiochus IV<br />

Epiphanes, the Syrian Greek leader. Sadly,<br />

after they got to the temple, there was only<br />

enough oil to light the building for one day.<br />

Then there was a miracle. The oil lit the entire<br />

temple for eight days. The Maccabees<br />

gained confidence and defeated Antiochus<br />

IV Epiphanes.”<br />

“Wow, that is a miracle!” Hunter exclaimed<br />

in awe.<br />

Then, all of a sudden, the golden door<br />

popped up again, and the mysterious wind<br />

pushed them into the door, which led them<br />

to Bethlehem.<br />

In the city of Bethlehem, it was a warm<br />

and silent night. The boys saw a wooden<br />

stable, and Hunter knew exactly what it<br />

was.<br />

“This is where Jesus was born!” he exclaimed<br />

excitedly.<br />

“If this is where Jesus was born, then<br />

why is it so warm?” Joseph asked. “Isn’t<br />

Christmas in December?”<br />

“Jesus was born in June, but we celebrate<br />

in December,” Hunter said. “It’s<br />

like Christians are celebrating Jesus’ halfbirthday.<br />

December is six months after<br />

June.”<br />

“Wow, I never knew that,” Joseph said.<br />

The boys watched the Virgin Mary show<br />

baby Jesus to the town.<br />

The golden door appeared, and the<br />

man in the old cloak showed up.<br />

“Did you boys learn your lesson?” he<br />

asked.<br />

The boys explained to the man how it<br />

was not nice to judge someone based on<br />

his or her religion or background. They<br />

learned that other religions may not be that<br />

bad.<br />

“Boys, boys!” It was Ms. Hansford,<br />

trying to wake them up. “You better have<br />

learned your lesson. I heard you’ve been<br />

asleep most of the time.<br />

The boys became friends after their<br />

journey. They even shared winter break<br />

together. They also celebrated with<br />

their families. You may be wondering<br />

what holiday they decided to celebrate.<br />

Well, they celebrated their own holiday,<br />

Hanukkahistmas.<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

What Christmas Means to Me<br />

by Caden Collins<br />

Lake Butler Sound<br />

Yay! Christmas is here! On Christmas,<br />

my family opens their presents first thing<br />

in the morning while listening to Christmas<br />

music. We stay at home on Christmas.<br />


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Something I really like about Christmas<br />

is to see what I get for presents. Sometimes<br />

I shake the box and try to guess what’s<br />

inside. My sister and I take turns opening<br />

gifts. It is hard to wait for my sister. She<br />

takes a long time opening each one. I like<br />

to open the big presents first, because the<br />

better presents are usually in the bigger<br />

boxes! I like to see the look on my sister’s<br />

face when she opens the gift from me. I try<br />

to get her something that will make her really<br />

happy. She always gives me the biggest<br />

hug after opening my gift, and, of course,<br />

my parents take pictures.<br />

We have family and friends come over<br />

on Christmas. I like to play games with<br />

them when they arrive. We play board<br />

games, or baseball or football outside.<br />

After we come in, we play games on the<br />

PS4 while my family puts together the gifts<br />

that we opened. One of my favorite games<br />

to play is Call of Duty, which took my parents<br />

forever to finally get for me.<br />

I start to smell the food, and this makes<br />

me hungry. After playing on my game for<br />

a while, I go downstairs to eat with my family.<br />

Some of my favorite things to eat are<br />

my mom’s famous macaroni and cheese,<br />

mashed potatoes and stuffing.<br />

“This is so good!” everyone says. “I want<br />

more!”<br />

We go around the table and say what<br />

we are thankful for. I always say, “family.”<br />

My mom always cries, because she<br />

is so happy, and every year, I tell her not<br />

to. After we are done eating, we go into<br />

the pool and hot tub until it is time for dessert.<br />

My sister makes the best cookies and<br />

brownies.<br />

Those are the reasons I like Christmas —<br />

for family, friends, presents and food. The<br />

next time Christmas comes, it will be even<br />

better!<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

Unbeliever<br />

by Gabrielle Urton<br />

Winter Garden<br />

Snow fell as softly as a feather from the<br />

heavens above. The air was filled with the<br />

sweet smells of gingerbread and peppermint.<br />

The sleepy town was painted with colors<br />

of delight. But of this delight, Charlotte<br />

had none.<br />

No one blamed her for this. After all, her<br />

season was probably anything but pleasant.<br />

Four hours was all the sleep she got.<br />

Eleven hours for school, and then it was off<br />

to work for the remaining nine. An extra<br />

hour or two of sleep was a luxury for her as<br />

she spent her days working and studying.<br />

This left her no time for the holidays, not<br />

that it would matter. Charlotte hadn’t celebrated<br />

Christmas since she was 15. Not<br />

only did she not believe in Christmas, she<br />

didn’t believe in the spirit of Christmas or<br />

the magic it produced. She hated being<br />

with her family and friends. She thought it<br />

was a waste of valuable time. But, all that<br />

changed one Friday night.<br />

It was a busy day, and Charlotte got home<br />

later than usual. As soon as she walked into<br />

her apartment, she was shocked. It was<br />

decorated with candy canes, cotton snow,<br />

a beautiful garland swirling around the railing,<br />

a giant wool stocking was hung neatly<br />

above the hearth, and in the center of the<br />

room stood a 5-foot-tall pine tree. The tree<br />

was exquisitely covered with ribbons, popcorn<br />

strings and gorgeous ornaments bursting<br />

with color. Charlotte determined not to<br />

investigate the mysterious decorations. She<br />

had more homework than usual and would<br />

have to get up extra early.<br />

The next day, she awoke only to find<br />

that breakfast was already prepared, but<br />

not the way she did it. Her breakfast was<br />

usually a simple cup of coffee. Today,<br />

there were freshly cooked omelets filled<br />

with cheese, tomatoes and onions. There<br />

was hot bacon sizzling in the frying pan.<br />

There were pumpkin-flavored pancakes<br />

dipped in maple syrup. And to top it off,<br />

there was hot cocoa covered in whipped<br />

cream and sprinkled with peppermint<br />

candies.<br />

Things were getting out of hand.<br />

Neighbors came over with plates of cookies.<br />

As for school, her teacher called and<br />

said she had the day off. She decided to<br />

go shopping and found herself looking for<br />

Christmas presents for her family.<br />

I don’t have the money to buy presents,<br />

Charlotte thought quietly to herself. Just<br />

then her boss called and gave her a promotion.<br />

It included a raise and Christmas<br />

bonus. These miracles continued for the remainder<br />

of the day.<br />

She came home, still trying to figure out<br />

everything, and that’s when she saw an elegantly<br />

decorated Christmas card on the<br />

mantle. She opened it and read.<br />

Dearest Charlotte,<br />

I know you are confused right now.<br />

Anyone would be, but you are someone<br />

who needs this the most. You are caught up

in all this chaos, and you don’t even notice.<br />

So all day I’ve been trying to make your life<br />

easier. Just remember, sometimes it’s OK to<br />

spend time with your family and friends.<br />

Sincerely,<br />

St. Nicholas<br />

In shock, Charlotte started thinking<br />

about the past few months. She never<br />

called her family, tried to make friends,<br />

or talked to anybody other than her boss.<br />

Now she wanted to change that. Quickly<br />

she wrapped the presents she had bought.<br />

A few short hours later she was on her<br />

family’s doorstep, carrying the presents<br />

and a huge plate of Christmas goodies.<br />

She nervously rang the doorbell. Her family<br />

came to the door, and a huge smile<br />

spread across her face as she whispered,<br />

“Merry Christmas!” and it was.<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

A Grand Resolution<br />

by Adam Griffiths<br />

Westfield<br />

It’s Dec. 30. Most people are snuggling<br />

up by a warm fire. Not me. I live in Florida,<br />

and it’s always hot here. So instead, I’m<br />

getting a start on my spring cleaning. I<br />

see boxes covered with dirt. Half-opened,<br />

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 31<br />

untouched, they remind me of old times. I<br />

see old crates, old papers, pictures, shoes,<br />

jars — actually, I feel like I’ve seen this jar.<br />

Then it hits me like a truck. I remember that<br />

it’s filled with old New Year’s resolutions.<br />

“Too late for that,” I whisper to myself.<br />

Then my parents’ voices surge through<br />

my head.<br />

“When was the last time you went<br />

through with a plan?”<br />

I open the jar and take out a crumpled<br />

Post-it note.<br />

“2012. See Grand Canyon. Wow, was I<br />

optimistic that year.”<br />

I stand up, feeling OK with myself. Then<br />

I take a good look at my house. Unpainted<br />

walls, half-unpacked boxes, overgrown<br />

weeds. I inhale a pale, dusty breath of air<br />

and decide what I’m going to do. I’m going<br />

to see the Grand Canyon.<br />

I’ve always loved driving — big cities,<br />

large mountains, and, since I’m in Texas,<br />

long deserts.<br />

“Nothin’ for 150 miles,” I say to myself.<br />

Then I start speeding up, 50 mph, 70<br />

mph, 90, 75 ...<br />

“Huh?”<br />

50, 30, 20.<br />

“Oh, no.”<br />

My car comes to a complete stop, and I<br />

get a really bad feeling. I check my watch,<br />

and it reads 6:30. I turn to the road and put<br />

my thumb up.<br />

After some waiting, a car drives up. It’s<br />

a black street racer with gold rims and a<br />

bumper sticker that reads “Bad to the Bone.”<br />

It’s not ideal, but I don’t really have a choice.<br />

Then from the backseat of the car steps<br />

this guy. He has to be twice my size, tattooed<br />

from head to toe, and wearing the<br />

scariest leather jacket I’ve ever seen.<br />

“Hey,” he says. “I’m Jose. Where you<br />

headed?”<br />

“Grand Canyon,” I reply.<br />

“Niceee,” he says, making a hissing<br />

sound from his cracked, golden teeth.<br />

He stuffs me inside the small backseat,<br />

saying not to mind Pablo, another creepy<br />

guy sitting on the other side of me, and<br />

we’re off.<br />

After a very long time of uncomfortably<br />

driving, we arrive at a visitors center.<br />

“Money?” Jose asks.<br />

“What money?” I ask back.<br />

“We drove you here. You give us<br />

money,” Pablo explains.<br />

“Well, I don’t have any money on me<br />

so ...”<br />

I’m quickly thrown out of the car, and it<br />

hurts a lot.<br />

I brush myself off and check my watch. It<br />

reads 10:57, and I walk inside. I see people<br />

leaving, and a worker shouts, “Closing<br />

time 11 p.m.”<br />

I freak out and jump into a storage closet.<br />

I can hear security guards roaming the<br />

halls.<br />

After a while of waiting, I check my<br />

watch again. It reads 11:58 p.m. I’ve come<br />

all this way, so I sneak out. I go out into<br />

the hallway, trying to avoid the flashlights.<br />

I stand by one last corner, by a crackedopen<br />

door.<br />

Then I hear the guards counting down.<br />

This is my opportunity. They are looking at<br />

their watches, so I run through the hall to<br />

the door.<br />

I burst out the door, and half of my body<br />

flies off the railing. I’m thinking millions of<br />

things, but all I can hear is the guards yelling,<br />

“Happy New Year!” All I can see is a<br />

huge firework fly over the canyon and burst<br />

into a thousand tiny sparkles that float over<br />

a beautiful river, and I think to myself, It was<br />

all worth it.<br />



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Honorable Mention<br />

An Elf & Two Kids<br />

by Alex Wells<br />

Wesmere<br />

One day, the Smith family received a<br />

gift. The gift was The Elf on the Shelf, and<br />

his name was Charlie. Every night while<br />

the Smith family was asleep, Charlie traveled<br />

to the North Pole to tell Santa how the<br />

family’s children, Katy and John, were behaving.<br />

Katy and John Smith were siblings.<br />

Katy was John’s little sister. Katy was high<br />

on the Christmas spirit, but John thought<br />

Christmas was silly and Santa was a big<br />

phony. One early morning, as the sun’s<br />

rays were just starting to peek over the horizon,<br />

Charlie returned from the North Pole.<br />

Unknown to him, Katy was in the kitchen<br />

getting a cool glass of water.<br />

With a sudden shriek, Katy spotted<br />

Charlie.<br />

“Shh. Shh!” Charlie begged in a hushed<br />

tone. “Please, I’ll be caught!”<br />

“Who are you, and what are you doing<br />

in my house?” Katy asked alarmingly.<br />

“I’m Charlie, you’re elf.”<br />

“But why are you talking and moving<br />

around? Are you magical?” Katy whispered<br />

excitedly.<br />

“Yes, and I need you and your brother’s<br />

help,” Charlie said. “You see, every night<br />

I travel to the North Pole to report on how<br />

you and John are behaving. But this time<br />

when I arrived, I saw something horrible.<br />

The worker elves, who are responsible for<br />

making all the gifts, are refusing to work,<br />

because they claim that hardly any kids still<br />

believe like you do.”<br />

“So what do you need from me?” Katy<br />

asked.<br />

“I need you and your brother to come<br />

with me to the North Pole and convince the<br />

elves in the workshop to continue making<br />

gifts for all the children around the world,”<br />

Charlie said.<br />

“OK, but John doesn’t believe in<br />

Christmas,” Katy said in a depressed voice.<br />

“He thinks it’s stupid.”<br />

“Don’t worry about it,” Charlie said.<br />

“Once he sees me, he’ll know Christmas is<br />

real.”<br />

Katy and Charlie tiptoed to John’s room<br />

to wake him up.<br />

“John, John, wake up,” Katy whispered.<br />

“No, it’s too early,” John mumbled.<br />

“Come on, John,” Charlie said. “We<br />

need your help to save Christmas.”<br />

Suddenly, John shot straight up like a<br />

rocket.<br />

“Who are you!” he screamed.<br />

“Keep it down,” Charlie said. “You’ll<br />

wake your parents. I’m Charlie, your Elf on<br />

the Shelf. I need you to come with us to<br />

save Christmas.”<br />

“I must be hallucinating,” John said.<br />

“You’re not,” Katy said.<br />

Charlie explained the crisis they faced<br />

at the North Pole, and soon enough, John<br />

agreed to go.<br />

“Grab your coats, kids,” Charlie said.<br />

“It’s cold in the North Pole.”<br />

“How are we going to get to the North<br />

Pole anyway?” John asked.<br />

“Through magic,” Charlie said.<br />

“Awesome!” Katy said.<br />

“I don’t know about this,” John said.<br />

“Don’t worry,” Charlie said reassuredly.<br />

“Santa’s sled is safe.”<br />

And suddenly, using his magic, Charlie<br />

made Santa’s beautiful red sled appear.<br />

“Wow, that’s amazing,” Katy exclaimed,<br />

as she instantly started petting the reindeer.<br />

“Come on, kids,” Charlie said. “Get in.<br />

We don’t have much time.”<br />

Katy jumped right in while John, looking<br />

a bit sickly, got in slowly.<br />

“Here we go,” Charlie said, as they<br />

blasted off from the Smith’s front yard in the<br />

cool, early-morning air.<br />

A few hours later, they arrived at the<br />

North Pole.<br />

“Alright, we’re here,” Charlie said, as<br />

they landed in a snowy courtyard.<br />

“Now, remember what I told you. Once<br />

we get to the workshop, you two need to<br />

convince the elves to continue working.”<br />

The group met Santa in the workshop<br />

and gathered the elves. Katy and John<br />

gave an emotional and moving speech,<br />

and convinced the worker elves to continue<br />

making gifts for all the children who<br />

still believed in the magic of Christmas.<br />

Afterward, they returned home, and Katy<br />

and John had the best Christmas ever!<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

The Magic of Christmas<br />

by Katharine Nguyen<br />

Windsor Landing<br />

There was a girl named Emily who was<br />

very rich. She was spoiled, selfish and<br />

rude, and her mind was full of hatred. She<br />

never thought of other people.<br />

One day, her grandma demanded<br />

that Emily go outside. After five minutes,<br />

she found herself deep in the woods. She

wandered farther and heard something.<br />

It sounded like a drum. She followed the<br />

sound and saw a boy hitting a log. She<br />

thought the boy was poor and ugly-looking.<br />

She went up behind him and said, “Ugly<br />

face, get out of my forest!”<br />

She kicked the log away from him and<br />

stomped on it. The child cried and ran<br />

away. She seemed to enjoy that very much<br />

and laughed so hard her face turned red.<br />

Suddenly, a young boy about her age<br />

appeared and said, “Don’t treat people<br />

like that. They might help you someday.”<br />

Then he vanished. Emily was so upset<br />

that she ran and ran. She did not see a big<br />

hole and fell into it. She broke her leg and<br />

yelped in pain. It was starting to get dark,<br />

and she was scared.<br />

“Help! Help!” she screamed.<br />

Luckily, someone nearby heard her and<br />

rescued her. It turned out to be the little<br />

boy she had yelled at. He was surprisingly<br />

strong and carried her out of the forest.<br />

The young boy returned and said, “I<br />

bet you are glad that boy helped you. You<br />

should be nice to people.”<br />

She looked down and thought about<br />

what had happened. She wanted to apologize<br />

to both the child and the young boy,<br />

but they were nowhere to be found.<br />

When her family came back, they noticed<br />

that Emily’s behavior had changed.<br />

She was nicer to people. One Sunday, they<br />

convinced her to go to church. She didn’t<br />

know anyone and wandered around until<br />

she saw a girl about her own age. Emily<br />

was nervous, because she had never made<br />

a friend before.<br />

She approached the girl and said, “Hey,<br />

my name is Emily. What is your name?”<br />

“Are you talking to me?” the girl asked.<br />

“Yes,” Emily said.<br />

“Oh, my name is Avery,” the girl said.<br />

“That is a beautiful name,” Emily said.<br />

They played board games, tag and puzzles<br />

all afternoon. When the day was over,<br />

Emily had found a best friend!<br />

The next year, one week before<br />

Christmas, Avery’s mom grew very ill.<br />

Avery was crying, and she said that her<br />

mom might die. Her family was too poor to<br />

afford a doctor to cure her mom’s disease.<br />

Emily couldn’t forget what her friend had<br />

said. It bothered her so much that she decided<br />

to break her piggy bank and get the<br />

money to pay for a doctor to cure Avery’s<br />

mom. Luckily, the doctor was able to cure the<br />

fever. Avery was so happy. She gave Emily<br />

a beautiful guitar to return her kindness.<br />

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 33<br />

On Sunday, Emily went to church as usual.<br />

The priest told a legend of two brothers<br />

who often appear around Christmastime.<br />

They sounded exactly like the two boys<br />

Emily had met last year. When the story<br />

was over, Emily asked the priest if the boys<br />

in the story could be Christmas ghosts.<br />

“Yes, they could be,” the priest replied.<br />

“Why do you ask?”<br />

“I met two boys similar to the ones in<br />

your story,” Emily said.<br />

“Maybe they are,” the priest said.<br />

Emily wandered around the church.<br />

Something on a stained-glass window<br />

caught her attention. She saw the two boys<br />

that she had met in the forest last Christmas.<br />

They were smiling and waving at her. She<br />

blinked her eyes and looked closer. This<br />

time, she did not see them, only a picture of<br />

two young boys. But in her mind, she knew<br />

they were the spirit boys who had helped<br />

her to be a nicer, better person.<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

Santa’s Daughter<br />

Reaches a Milestone<br />

by Madeline Heald<br />

Windermere Chase<br />

Carol sighed as she hauled a bucket of<br />

blue paint to the elves’ workshop. It wasn’t<br />

easy being Santa the 31st’s daughter.<br />

(Yes, there is more than one Santa. If there<br />

was only one, he would be hundreds of<br />

years old.)<br />

Why couldn’t she have a better job? She<br />

was responsible, smart, quick-witted and<br />

caring. Couldn’t she manage something like<br />

taking the reindeer and sleigh out for a practice<br />

run? But, alas, here she was being the<br />

bossy elves’ paint-fetching servant. How fun.<br />

As soon as she arrived, the elves said as<br />

one, “Santa wants to see you. Set down the<br />

paint and go now.”<br />

Carol set the paint down and trudged<br />

through the snow in her black boots, her red<br />

dress dragging along. She squealed as she<br />

slipped on the snow and slid down a slope,<br />

her brown braids whipping behind her.<br />

“Well,” she said aloud. “That’s certainly<br />

a way to get down here quickly.”<br />

She dusted off her dress and stepped inside<br />

the house. Immediately, Evelyn Claus,<br />

her mother, rushed over and made sure she<br />

was OK. Then she started talking.<br />

“Yourfathersaysyou’rereadybutIdon’tt<br />

hinkso.You’reonly12yearsofagesoyoung<br />

and ...“<br />


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“Stop, Mother,” Carol said. “Talk slowly.<br />

What is it?”<br />

“Your father is going ... well, we want<br />

you to ...“<br />

Her mother stopped and burst into tears.<br />

Carol figured she would have to ask her<br />

father what was going on if she wanted to<br />

know. So, she slid from her mother’s grasp<br />

and went to find her father.<br />

“It’s Christmas Eve, C, the night of ...” her<br />

father started to say.<br />

Carol could tell her father was at a loss<br />

for words, so she quickly helped him.<br />

“Amazingness?” she asked.<br />

“Yes,” her father said, beaming at her.<br />

“Now remember, don’t skip any houses<br />

and have fun!”<br />

Carol’s mother hugged her tightly and<br />

then burst into a lecture about safety and<br />

rules.<br />

“It’s going to be all right, Mother,” Carol<br />

said. “I can take care of myself.”<br />

The big surprise was that Carol was going<br />

to get to drop off all of the presents this year.<br />

The reindeer landed the sleigh on a<br />

roof, and Carol hopped out, holding three<br />

presents. She walked over to the chimney,<br />

took a deep breath, and jumped in. She<br />

slid down a few inches and then stopped.<br />

Carol was stuck.<br />

How can my father do this? she wondered.<br />

I should have been practicing back<br />

at home.<br />

Carol wormed her way down the chimney<br />

and set the presents by the tree. Then<br />

she went out the door and whistled for the<br />

reindeer to come and get her. The rest of<br />

the night went flawlessly, and Carol worked<br />

until morning.<br />

When she got back home, her mother<br />

rushed over and hugged her while her father<br />

asked, “How did it go, C?”<br />

“Amazing,” Carol replied. “Can I do it<br />

again next year?”<br />

Her father looked at her mother, who<br />

said, “I don’t see why not.”<br />

“I can’t wait!” Carol exclaimed.<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

A Christmas Miracle<br />

by Gabriella Bull<br />

Carriage Point<br />

It was Christmas Eve night. No one was<br />

awake, except me, Gabby. I was going to<br />

the bathroom when I looked out the window.<br />

I saw a glistening light in the sky!<br />

Was it Santa and his reindeer? “Nah,”<br />

I whispered. I continued walking to the<br />

bathroom.<br />

When I came out, I heard a creeaakkk,<br />

and the front door opened. I quickly ran<br />

into a dark corner so no one could see me.<br />

Then, right before my eyes, I saw him<br />

— Santa gobbling up the milk and cookies<br />

I had left for him before I went to bed.<br />

He also put presents underneath the tree.<br />

Man, he’s fat, I thought. When he left about<br />

10 minutes later, I went back to my warm,<br />

cozy bed.<br />

In the morning, beautifully wrapped<br />

presents were under the tree, and my reindeer<br />

stocking was filled with candy canes.<br />

Then, my sister, Alex, and Mom came out<br />

of their bedrooms.<br />

“I saw Santa. I really did!” I said to my<br />

mom.<br />

“That’s a nice dream you had, sweetie,”<br />

Mom responded.<br />

“No. I really truly saw him. It wasn’t a<br />

dream,” I said.<br />

“Prove it,” Alex said.<br />

“I ... but, whatever,” I stammered. “Let’s<br />

just open presents.”<br />

I ended up getting a bunch of cool toys.<br />

But what I didn’t notice until we were done<br />

opening gifts, was our elf, Sparkie, holding<br />

a letter. It read: Dear Gabby, Even if your<br />

mom or sister Alex don’t believe you, I do. I<br />

saw you last night. Santa. P.S. Show this to<br />

your family to prove them wrong.<br />

So that’s what I did, and you should’ve<br />

seen Alex’s face. (Shh ... don’t tell her I said<br />

that.)<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

The Winter Holiday<br />

by Bryce Ownby<br />

Oaks of Windermere<br />

John hated winter. It was always cold,<br />

and he couldn’t play outside. His brothers,<br />

Tim and Jensen, loved playing outside and<br />

had snowball fights every day, but John<br />

hated it. On the first day of winter break,<br />

all John did was wake up, eat, watch ESPN<br />

SportsCenter, and sleep. He did the same<br />

thing the entire first week of winter break.<br />

He had grown tired of watching golf highlights<br />

from Dubai and soccer Plays of the<br />

Day from a tournament in Sao Paulo.<br />

Then, on the first day of the second week<br />

of winter break, John got sick of moping<br />

around. He looked out the window and<br />

saw, as usual, Tim and Jensen playing<br />

outside. But he also saw that there was a<br />


moving truck in front of the deserted house<br />

down the street. John decided to investigate,<br />

so he put on his pants, jacket and<br />

boots, and went outside. After dodging his<br />

brothers’ snow grenades, he made a beeline<br />

toward the moving truck. When he got<br />

there, he saw a boy, who seemed to be<br />

about his age, sitting on the snowy lawn of<br />

the formerly empty house.<br />

All of a sudden, the boy jumped up and<br />

said, “Hi!” So John said hi back and asked<br />

the boy if he liked spaghetti. The boy replied,<br />

“Of course,” and they continued their<br />

conversation. Before John knew it, the sun<br />

had gone down. So John said, “Goodbye,”<br />

and promised to come back the next day.<br />

The boy told John that he thought that was<br />

a great idea, and that when John had<br />

shown up earlier that day, he had been sitting<br />

on the front lawn, lonely, and missing<br />

his friends back in Cleveland.<br />

“Wow!” exclaimed John. “Are you<br />

friends with Lebron James or Kevin Love?”<br />

The boy, whose named turned out to<br />

be Phillip, quickly replied, “No, but my<br />

dad took me to a game at the Quicken<br />

Loans Arena to watch the Cavaliers play<br />

the 76ers just before we moved to our new<br />

house.”<br />

At that moment, John realized that winter<br />

wasn’t so bad if you enjoy it with friends.<br />

The next morning, John went back to<br />

Phillip’s house, where they played tag until<br />

lunchtime, at which point John asked if<br />

Phillip and his family wanted to come over<br />

for Christmas Eve dinner that night. Phillip’s<br />

parents said, “Yes,” and they all went to<br />

John’s at 6:30 p.m. They enjoyed dinner,<br />

and while the parents shared stories of<br />

their fondest childhood Christmas memories,<br />

Phillip and John played Monopoly<br />

with Tim and Jensen until 9:15 p.m. They<br />

only stopped because Phillip’s parents were<br />

tired from five days of moving and unpacking.<br />

The evening ended with agreements<br />

from the children to finish their Monopoly<br />

duel the morning after Christmas. Later that<br />

week, Phillip’s parents invited John and his<br />

family to their housewarming party, where<br />

they joined in the family’s celebration of<br />

Kwanza. John, as well as everyone else<br />

there that night, knew this was the beginning<br />

of a lifelong friendship.<br />

Even after winter break ended, John<br />

and Phillip continued to play after school<br />

every day. Gone were the days of soggy<br />

Cheerios mixed with boring golf highlights<br />

from places where it was still warm in the<br />

middle of winter. Winter soon passed into<br />

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 35<br />

spring, and the boys filled their days with<br />

basketball and puzzles. Even when the<br />

seasons circled back around, John never<br />

looked toward winter with the same dread<br />

as he had before.<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

Eid for Everyone<br />

by Mohammed Muzakkir<br />

Emerald Woods Forest<br />

Will Eid, a Muslim holiday, be a happy<br />

celebration for all or a despair for some?<br />

Stargaze and his family visited the<br />

mosque the night before Eid. This was a<br />

usual practice in their community. The<br />

whole community was in a festive mood in<br />

celebration of Eid. Stargaze and his friends<br />

were playing beside the mosque, and he<br />

heard a little boy talking to his mom.<br />

“Can we buy some new clothes for Eid?”<br />

the little boy asked.<br />

“We can’t, because we don’t have any<br />

money,” the little boy’s mom said.<br />

Stargaze really wanted to help them and<br />

had a fabulous idea — to collect money for<br />

the poor. He went inside the mosque and<br />

made an announcement.<br />

“Who wants to have shiny cars for Eid?”<br />

he asked. “We are offering an excellent<br />

deal. A $5 car wash right here and right<br />

now while you all relish your night before<br />

Eid. Please raise your hand if you agree to<br />

this plan.”<br />

Everyone in the mosque raised their<br />

hands for the car wash, and the little boy’s<br />

mom thought that it was a great idea to<br />

earn money.<br />

“OK, then, we will begin the car wash in<br />

15 minutes sharp,” Stargaze said.<br />

He raced to his friends to make all of the<br />

arrangements.<br />

“Friends, I need your help with washing<br />

all the cars in this parking lot, and we<br />

have to be ready in 15 minutes,” he said.<br />

“Starlight, can you go to the nearby store<br />

to get supplies?”<br />

“I’m going right now,” Starlight said.<br />

“Sunny, you are responsible for collecting<br />

money,” Stargaze said.<br />

“Got it,” Sunny affirmed.<br />

“Great, we’ve got towels, car-washing<br />

liquid, window-washing liquid, car polish,<br />

and special cloth for window and tire<br />

cleaning,” Super said.<br />

“Looks like we are ready, friends,”<br />

Telescope added.<br />

Stargaze and his friends started car<br />

washing as planned. They were halfway<br />

done with the cars until ...<br />

“Stargaze, Princess Pixel heard about<br />

our plan, and she is on her way to ruin it,”<br />

Night warned.<br />

“Oh, no!” Bright exclaimed.<br />

Stargaze thought of a brilliant plan very,<br />

very quickly.<br />

“I think this should be easy,” he said hesitantly.<br />

“We are seven, so let’s divide and<br />

rule. Sunny, you continue to collect money<br />

and make sure you keep it safe. The boys<br />

will continue to wash the cars, and the girls<br />

will get ready to fight Princess Pixel.”<br />

“I can fight and defeat her,” Night<br />

claimed.<br />

“So can I,” Starlight said.<br />

“And I’ll continue to wash cars,”<br />

Telescope said.<br />

“Let’s do this!” Bright exclaimed.<br />

“Now,” Super said.<br />

Princess Pixel came flying in with her<br />

Dirt-Ray. The girls were ready to secure the<br />

cars from the dirt with their rackets.<br />

Every time Princess Pixel tried to mess up<br />

the cars, the girls would defend with their<br />

rackets and push the dirt back at the princess.<br />

The princess challenged Stargaze to<br />

fight, and he agreed.<br />

While Pixel and Stargaze were fighting<br />

continuously, the cars were already<br />



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sparkling clean. Stargaze skillfully distracted<br />

the princess from messing up the cars<br />

and courageously won the battle.<br />

“I’m going to be back soon,” Pixel said.<br />

Princess Pixel felt embarrassed and left.<br />

“Now let us celebrate Eid,” Stargaze<br />

said.<br />

Everyone had fun and collected money<br />

for the indigent family. The little boy<br />

and his family got new clothes for Eid.<br />

Stargaze’s friends and family learned that<br />

you should always believe in the spirit of<br />

Eid.<br />

“Happy Eid, everyone!” they shouted in<br />

unison.<br />

Moral: Work together to make others<br />

happy and believe in the spirit of goodness.<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

Night of the Living Puppies<br />

by Eli Thoman<br />

Winter Garden<br />

“Oh, no. A robotic puppy! Fire your<br />

space lasers!” I yell to Bob.<br />

“Okie dokey, Timmy,” he responds. “I’ve<br />

got this!”<br />

“Fire in the hole,” Bob hollers.<br />


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Then Mom yells, “Get off your video<br />

games, you two. It’s Christmas Eve!”<br />

“It’s Christmas?” I ask, feeling dazed by<br />

the last hour spent staring at the screen.<br />

“No, it’s Christmas Eve,” Mom says.<br />

“Oh,” I reply.<br />

“Also, make your Christmas list,” Mom<br />

shouts from the bottom of the stairs.<br />

“After this level, please?” I plead, hoping<br />

to buy just a few more minutes of time.<br />

One level later:<br />

I get off the chair, get a piece of paper,<br />

and write my Christmas list. This is<br />

what I write from worst to best: iPad, Wii,<br />

Nintendo 3DS and Xbox.<br />

My mom reviews the list and replies,<br />

“You can’t have anything on this list! You<br />

don’t need any more technology in your<br />

life.”<br />

The next morning I wake up but don’t feel<br />

very excited, because I already know there<br />

won’t be any technology presents. Those<br />

are the only things that I could possibly<br />

want. Then I hear something. It’s a squeaking<br />

sound. It sounds just like the Night of<br />

the Living Puppies video game. What could<br />

be making that sound when we aren’t allowed<br />

on video games today?<br />

It’s my present! A real, live Bichon puppy!<br />

He runs up and licks my face. I laugh,<br />

pick him up and hug him.<br />

“I’ll name him Mogul,” I say.<br />

This is the best Christmas gift ever! I<br />

guess my mom knew what she was talking<br />

about when she said that there is more to<br />

life than technology.<br />

Bob, Mom and I rush outside to play in<br />

the soft, cold snow with Mogul. It is so much<br />

fun! We chuck huge snowballs at each other<br />

and laugh for an hour. We almost lose<br />

Mogul once since he’s the same color as<br />

the snow. After that, we go inside and eat<br />

mint chocolate-chip cookies. Mogul has a<br />

dog biscuit. I guess there is more to life than<br />

video games!<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

The Snowflake<br />

by Grant Williams<br />

Stoneybrook West<br />

Once there was a boy named Max, who<br />

loved snowflakes. He loved to make snowballs<br />

and have snowball fights. He loved<br />

the taste of snowflakes on his tongue. Max<br />

had an entire collection of snowflakes.<br />

When he was little, he dreamed of having<br />

a world of snowflakes.<br />

One night, he saw a giant snowflake in<br />

a field. Max had to add it to his collection!<br />

He began to chase the snowflake. He ran<br />

after it in a forest for five hours. Then Max<br />

was hit by a snowstorm!<br />

The storm was really bad, and he<br />

couldn’t escape. Max got lost. When the<br />

snowstorm finally stopped, Max saw a tree<br />

that had a smiley face carved into it. Next<br />

to the tree was a chest. Max grabbed the<br />

chest and took it home with him. When he<br />

got home, he opened it. Inside was a huge<br />

snowflake.<br />

Later that day, he went to search for<br />

snowflakes online. He found a legend<br />

about a snowflake king and queen, who<br />

lived in an ancient forest deep in the<br />

woods. To find the forest, you had to find<br />

a tree that had a smiley face carved into it.<br />

Max was shocked! Was that the same tree<br />

he’d seen? How did he get the chest?<br />

Every day, Max searched and searched<br />

for the smiley face tree, but he never saw<br />

it again.<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

My Favorite Parts of Christmas<br />

by Jack Slattery<br />

Lake Butler Sound<br />

The most wonderful time of the year is<br />

upon us! The Christmas season is the most<br />

holy and joyous time of year. Christians believe<br />

Dec. 25 is the day we celebrate the<br />

birth of our savior, Jesus Christ. Our families<br />

gather together to worship, eat and<br />

show how much we love and appreciate<br />

each other. Christmas carols, decorations<br />

and gifts make us feel happy and joyful.<br />

Christmas in our family is considered<br />

very special. My family travels to each<br />

other’s homes, but usually my family<br />

comes to my home in Windermere. My<br />

cousins from Seattle love to visit us in the<br />

warm weather to celebrate Christmas.<br />

This time of year is one of the only times<br />

we get to see each other, so Christmas<br />

has an important and special place in my<br />

heart for my two little cousins, Alison and<br />

Olivia. We love to play outside, bake<br />

cookies, go to special holiday events,<br />

and eat delicious food. My Uncle Paul<br />

loves the hot tub.<br />

Christmas is special because we have<br />

time off from school to spend special time<br />

with family and friends. It’s fun when we<br />

don’t have to worry about schoolwork or<br />

baseball, and we can really sit down and<br />

talk with each other. We like to play board<br />

and card games, especially Old Maid

and Scrabble. My family loves to go to<br />

Disney during the break to see the beautiful<br />

Christmas lights and decorations. When<br />

my grandma and grandpa come from<br />

New York, we sing Christmas carols and<br />

watch holiday movies. Our favorite movie<br />

is Elf. We also love to give each other gifts.<br />

I love to shop for my siblings and look for a<br />

gift they will really like.<br />

Christmas is also special, because we<br />

attend Christmas Eve Mass as a family.<br />

I play travel baseball along with my two<br />

brothers, so sometimes it’s hard to get to<br />

Mass. Christmas is a time where we all go<br />

and worship. We get dressed up and wear<br />

our Sunday best. I like this Mass, because<br />

we sing Christmas carols, and the church<br />

has pretty decorations. I also enjoy the live<br />

Nativity play the children of the church act<br />

in. I love to sit with my siblings and listen to<br />

the music.<br />

Christmas is truly my favorite season,<br />

and I look forward to the holiday every<br />

year!<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

A Magical Christmas<br />

by Maiya Davis<br />

Ocoee<br />

Christmas Eve was beautiful. There were<br />

bright lights and snow falling everywhere.<br />

Everyone was happy. In one of the peaceful<br />

houses was a girl named Rebecca. She<br />

was very excited for Christmas. Rebecca<br />

wanted to stay up all night, but her mom<br />

told her to get some sleep. She went upstairs<br />

happy, because she knew tomorrow<br />

would be magical.<br />

Rebecca was about to go to bed when<br />

she saw a glowing light.<br />

“I wonder if it’s a crystal,” she said.<br />

She was so curious about it that she went<br />

outside. Then she noticed that the light got<br />

bigger and bigger. Soon, the magical light<br />

swept her away. She saw that it was a portal<br />

taking her away.<br />

When the glowing ride stopped, she saw<br />

the most beautiful lights and colors! It was<br />

a small village. She saw nice people. She<br />

walked around, enjoying the people smiling<br />

and saying hi to her. She was sure everyone<br />

would get presents. While she was walking,<br />

she accidentally bumped into someone.<br />

“Sorry,” Rebecca said.<br />

That’s when one villager pulled her arm<br />

and said, “Don’t talk to her. She’s very rude.”<br />

Rebecca said, “OK,” but she wanted to<br />

help the woman. She started talking to her<br />

about being nice. She wanted to help her<br />

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 37<br />

make friends. Soon, villagers started talking<br />

to the woman. Everyone was happy<br />

that Rebecca had come.<br />

That’s when Rebecca saw the shining<br />

light that was her house. She knew that it<br />

was the magic portal! She said goodbye<br />

to the villagers, went to the portal, and<br />

was soon back home. She knew without a<br />

doubt that everyone was happy now.<br />

This shows that everyone should be nice.<br />

It’s always important to help others.<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

Santa’s Claws<br />

by Story Korkis<br />

Wesmere<br />

You would think on Christmas break<br />

Hamm and Jamm, the mean twin teenagers<br />

— aka Double Trouble — would let up<br />

on classmate Sam. But, no. They buried<br />

Sam upside down in the snow and made<br />

fun of him.<br />

“Frosty, please don’t melt,” they shouted<br />

while laughing.<br />

Other kids had to laugh or get picked on<br />

themselves.<br />

This kind of activity had been going on<br />

for the past three years. Hamm and Jamm’s<br />

parents seemed to be gone a lot, and they<br />

lived in a small cabin not more than 50<br />

yards from Sam’s house. Luckily for everyone<br />

else, Hamm and Jamm had to stay inside<br />

lately because of the bitter cold.<br />

Hamm and Jamm were freezing when<br />

a knock came at their door. Again and<br />

again, there was another knock. A snarling<br />

wolf was trying to get in! They closed the<br />

door quickly, but the next thing they knew,<br />

the wolf got in through the back window<br />

and was staring them down with bloodthirsty<br />

eyes.<br />

They grabbed a broom and blanket, and<br />

threw the blanket on the canine while they<br />

pushed the wolf, who was trying to hold<br />

firm with razorlike claws, into the den and<br />

closed the door.<br />

After the panic stopped, they thought of<br />

a cruel idea, and they went to get Sam.<br />

“Sam! Sam! Santa came early, come<br />

see!” they said.<br />

Sam forgot his coat, he was so excited,<br />

and ran to their cabin.<br />

“Where?” Sam asked.<br />

“In that room,” the twins said, pointing<br />

toward a door. “He has a present for you.<br />

Go on in.”<br />

Loud growling could be heard from behind<br />

the door. The twins pushed Sam in<br />

and pulled the door closed.<br />

No sound. Still no sound. Had they killed<br />

Sam?<br />

In another few moments, Sam came out<br />

holding a tiny puppy in his arms. He had<br />

put the huge blanket around it.<br />

“Hi, little guy,” Sam said. “Santa left me<br />

this puppy. Thank you. I thought you both<br />

hated me.”<br />

Then he left with a smile and the<br />

dog.<br />

Where was the wolf? Gone.<br />

When Sam got home and fed the dog,<br />

a miracle happened. The dog barked three<br />

times and turned into an angel.<br />

“Sam, you are so kind and accepting of<br />

everyone. As a reward, I will give you any<br />

wish you want.”<br />

The angel also told him what had happened.<br />

Sam thought about Jamm and<br />

Hamm, and considered putting them in excruciating<br />

pain forever.<br />

However, he thought some more and<br />

said, “Jamm and Hamm don’t have a<br />

family to show them love. Please open<br />

their hearts and help them find kindness,<br />

too.”<br />

The sun came out that day, but no one<br />

cared about missing snow during the holidays,<br />

because it was warm.<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

Ho! Ho! Ho!<br />

by Hutton Milchin<br />

Windermere<br />

Christmas is an important holiday to my<br />

family. For us, the holiday season starts the<br />

day after Thanksgiving and goes until New<br />

Year’s Day. Christmas in our family centers<br />

around family, friends and religion.<br />

My favorite part of Christmas is spending<br />

time with family. During the Christmas<br />

break, we spend time doing fun family<br />

activities. My brother comes home from<br />

college, and we train for sports together.<br />

He takes me out to eat at our favorite restaurant.<br />

My grandmothers also come to<br />

visit. One comes from Vero Beach, and the<br />

other one comes from Richmond, Virginia.<br />

Sometimes my uncle comes, too, and he<br />

plays video games with me. Sometimes<br />

we take family trips at Christmastime. One<br />

year we went skiing in Colorado. Last year,<br />

we went to the Bahamas. Making memories<br />

with my family is my favorite part of<br />

Christmas.<br />

The second reason Christmas is important<br />

to me is because we get to spend time<br />


38 x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com<br />


with friends. Sometimes I can play with my<br />

friends all day, because there is no school,<br />

and our parents let us have sleepovers. We<br />

also have a tradition of making gingerbread<br />

houses with our family’s best friends.<br />

We end the holiday season with a big<br />

New Year’s Eve party with all our friends.<br />

The third and most important reason that<br />

Christmas is important to my family is religion.<br />

Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus.<br />

Jesus is the Son of God and my savior. On<br />

Christmas Eve, my family goes to church to<br />

celebrate his birth. We light candles, sing<br />

Christmas songs, take Holy Communion and<br />

worship with other families. After all, Jesus is<br />

the reason for the season!<br />

Christmas is my favorite time of year. And<br />

while I love to get presents for Christmas, it<br />

means much more than that. I look forward<br />

to Christmas all year long.<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

A Home for Frosty<br />

by Brandon Salcedo<br />

Windsor Landing<br />

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named Ginger. One day she went outside<br />

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in the snow, made a snowman and called<br />

it Frosty. A few days later, a magician<br />

walked past her house and left his hat on<br />

the snowman.<br />

The next day, Ginger went outside to see<br />

Frosty, but he was not there. She searched<br />

everywhere, but she could not find him. A<br />

few hours later, she went to look for Frosty<br />

again. She raced to her backyard and saw<br />

footprints leading to the shed. She slowly<br />

opened the old, creaky shed door and saw<br />

Frosty looking for a way out. The snowman<br />

turned around, jumped and ran into the<br />

house and upstairs to her room.<br />

He was running all around and started<br />

to melt. Ginger had to think fast so she<br />

brought supplies to keep her room very<br />

cold. She gathered snow from her backyard<br />

and found two old air conditioners in<br />

the garage. She also wanted to hide Frosty<br />

from her mom, because she knew her mom<br />

would get scared. It was hard hiding Frosty,<br />

because he always ran around the house!<br />

However, Mom did not notice him. She<br />

was too busy on Facebook, Snapchat and<br />

email.<br />

It was a few days before Christmas, and<br />

Ginger was excited. However, she was also<br />

nervous that her mother would discover her<br />

1805 Maguire Road, Suite 159, Windermere, FL 34786<br />

secret guest. She decided to move him to<br />

the attic, where he would be less obvious.<br />

Ginger began moving the air conditioners<br />

and snow up there.<br />

The next day, when she checked on<br />

Frosty, he was not there. She looked outside,<br />

in her room and underneath her bed.<br />

She looked everywhere! Then she heard a<br />

frightening scream and went downstairs.<br />

She saw Frosty in the pantry with her<br />

mom.<br />

“What is that thing?” her mom asked.<br />

“I can explain,” replied Ginger.<br />

She explained how she built Frosty, and<br />

he then came to life and ran into the house.<br />

“Why didn’t you tell me?” asked her<br />

mother.<br />

“Because I knew you would get scared,”<br />

Ginger said.<br />

“You know we cannot keep him forever,”<br />

her mother said.<br />

“I know,” Ginger said sadly.<br />

“Get some sleep,” her mom said. “We’ll<br />

think of a solution in the morning.”<br />

It was Christmas Eve, and everyone was<br />

sleeping except for Ginger and Frosty.<br />

“I can’t keep you forever, Frosty,” Ginger<br />

said.<br />

“I know,” Frosty said.<br />

“You can talk!” exclaimed Ginger.<br />

“Yes, yes I can,” Frosty said.<br />

“But why didn’t you tell me,” Ginger<br />

asked.<br />

“Because I knew you’d get scared,”<br />

Frosty said.<br />

Suddenly, they heard a deep voice bellow,<br />

“Ho! Ho! Ho!”<br />

“It is Santa Claus!” they screamed<br />

excitedly.<br />

They both raced down the stairs, flung<br />

open the front door, and saw Santa Claus<br />

on the rooftop.<br />

“What are you two doing up?” Santa<br />

asked.<br />

“We’re sorry, Santa,” Ginger said timidly.<br />

“But we have a problem, and we’re<br />

trying to think of a solution.<br />

“What is the matter?” Santa asked.<br />

“Since spring is coming in a few months,<br />

I will not be able to stay here,” Frosty said<br />

sadly. “I have to find a way to a cold place<br />

before I melt.”<br />

“Well,” Santa said, “I happen to live in<br />

a very cold place, and I can take you with<br />

me tonight!”<br />

“That is wonderful news!” Frosty said<br />

joyfully.<br />

Ginger looked very sad, but she was<br />

also happy for Frosty.<br />

Off Frosty went to find new adventures<br />

and places to explore, and what better<br />

place to live than the North Pole?<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

Christmas Joy<br />

by Madison Salgado<br />

Windermere Trails<br />

All the joys of the season.<br />

The sense of Christmas around the world.<br />

Happiness in all.<br />

Excitement for the holidays.<br />

The smell of pine needles.<br />

A star on top.<br />

Presents underneath.<br />

Hot cocoa burning my tongue.<br />

Marshmallows floating on top.<br />

Now calls my name.<br />

Rolling, building, sledding, tasting.<br />

The big guy who comes and wishes all<br />

good night.<br />

Out he goes.<br />

Lands with a thump.<br />

The joy of Christmas is around tonight.<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

Christmas Forgotten<br />

by Aliza Britton<br />

Windsor Landing<br />

It was a sad and gloomy time in New<br />

York City. There were no lights or decorations.<br />

The tree in Rockefeller Center<br />

was missing, and the stores were vacant.<br />

The ice skating rink was closed.<br />

And the people in the city were home,<br />

working. Even Santa’s elves could not fix<br />

the problem in the city. So, it was up to<br />

Santa to find four responsible helpers to<br />

get New York City looking and feeling<br />

like Christmas.<br />

A week later, in the North Pole, Santa<br />

had found four furry helpers. They were<br />

pups named Snowflake, Icicle, Ginger and<br />

Jingle. They loved Christmas. Snowflake<br />

had the idea of going to New York City<br />

and bringing a lot of presents to everyone.<br />

Jingle wanted to find and light the<br />

Christmas tree again. Ginger suggested reopening<br />

the ice skating rink. Icicle agreed<br />

to do all of those things. The pups wanted<br />

everyone to be happy, but they didn’t know<br />

how they would get there.<br />

“The sleigh!” Jingle said.<br />

They asked Mrs. Claus to give them a<br />

ride in the sleigh.<br />

“Yes, of course, since this is a very important<br />

trip,” she said.<br />

In the morning, Mrs. Claus started packing<br />

the bags and preparing the sleigh.

“I will get ready as fast as I can,” she<br />

said.<br />

The pups told her they would be waiting.<br />

They were wondering if they could really<br />

bring back Christmas to New York City.<br />

When they got to NYC, it looked like any<br />

ordinary city on any day. The pups looked<br />

at each other and knew it was going to<br />

be a big challenge to bring Christmas to<br />

the city.<br />

“OK, guys, let’s get started,” Icicle said.<br />

Snowflake had wrapped presents and<br />

was ready to start sneaking into houses to<br />

deliver them. Ginger went to the ice skating<br />

rink to find the Zamboni. She cleaned the<br />

ice. The ice was finally shiny, smooth and<br />

white. It was ready for skating.<br />

Jingle put up the colorful ornaments,<br />

beautiful stars, angels and lights on the<br />

tree. Jingle got scared because someone<br />

was watching her. Luckily, it was just Mrs.<br />

Claus. Icicle snuck into Carlos’ Bakery and<br />

baked delicious Christmas cookies for the<br />

whole city. After all of their work was done,<br />

New York City looked phenomenal.<br />

After a good night’s sleep, it was finally<br />

morning. The smell of freshly baked cookies<br />

was in the air. The pups could see<br />

through windows that kids and families<br />

were opening presents. Ice skaters were<br />

circling around the rink. The large tree at<br />

Rockefeller Center was shining brightly for<br />

all to see. The pups could hear laughing<br />

and cheering all over the city.<br />

“It sounds so nice,” Ginger said.<br />

“High-four!” Jingle said. “We did our<br />

job. We accomplished our Christmas mission<br />

in the city.”<br />

New York City celebrated Christmas,<br />

and there was a happily ever after.<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

A Christmas Surprise<br />

by Jessica Bravo<br />

Gotha<br />

Christmas day is probably my favorite<br />

time of year. I get to see my family members<br />

and loved ones. Unfortunately, this won’t<br />

be one those years for me. My husband<br />

of six years was deployed to Afghanistan<br />

eight months ago, and this year, I was told<br />

that he won’t be back until Jan. 18, 2017,<br />

meaning he will miss Christmas and New<br />

Year’s. Sure, this is very depressing for me<br />

and his family, too, but as long as he is<br />

looked at as a hero in our kids’ eyes, I will<br />

pull through.<br />

We have twins who are already 6 years<br />

old, and they look up to their father, saying<br />

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 39<br />

how much of a hero he is to them and how<br />

much they miss him. What breaks my heart<br />

is that they always ask me if he is making<br />

the country proud, and I always respond<br />

with, “Of course!”<br />

Today was Christmas Eve, and I went<br />

out with my kids, shopping for last-minute<br />

gifts for the family when they come over<br />

tomorrow for our annual Christmas party.<br />

I was looking through the aisles when my<br />

little girl, Emily, pulled my hand to get my<br />

attention.<br />

“What is it, Emily?” I asked.<br />

She responded by pointing one of her little<br />

fingers at a sign that said: Santa Claus.<br />

“Do you want to go and see Santa?” I<br />

asked her.<br />

She nodded her head while jumping up<br />

and down in excitement.<br />

“Do you wan to go, too, Katherine?” I<br />

asked her twin sister.<br />

She replied in the same manner as her<br />

sister.<br />

“OK then, let’s go!” I said as we walked<br />

over to where Santa was and stood in line.<br />

The line was short, and the kids got more<br />

excited as we inched closer.<br />

“Now, what do you little girls want for<br />

Christmas?” Santa asked them as soon as<br />

they sat on his lap.<br />

“Daddy!” they said at the same time.<br />

Hearing that broke my heart, and it<br />

seemed to do the same to the people<br />

around us.<br />

“I want Daddy to come home from war,”<br />

Emily said.<br />

“He has been gone for so long, and I<br />

want him to come back home. Can you<br />

make that happen?” Katherine asked with<br />

her hands neatly placed on her lap.<br />

“Oh, well, I will try my best, OK?” Santa<br />

said flustered.<br />

I looked around and saw everyone with<br />

a sad face plastered on and pitying the<br />

girls. Every time I hear them ask when their<br />

father is coming home or whenever I hear<br />

them say they want their father to come<br />

back, I just want to break down and cry,<br />

but I know I have to be strong for them.<br />

“OK, girls, help mommy with the gifts,”<br />

I told them.<br />

As soon as I walked into the house from<br />

shopping, something felt very off. Our alarm<br />

system didn’t go off, and I remembered that<br />

I had put it on before we left the house. I<br />

put down the gifts and told the girls to go<br />

to their room. I grabbed the closest thing to<br />


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40 x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com<br />


me, which happened to be a vase. I slowly<br />

walked to my living room to see if there was<br />

someone in the house, and there was!<br />

I dropped the vase in my surprise and<br />

let it shatter to millions of pieces on the<br />

floor. What had made me stop dead in my<br />

tracks was the love of my life standing in<br />

front of me. This is now becoming the best<br />

Christmas of my life!<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

Christmastime From<br />

a Dog’s Point of View<br />

by Parker Andreson<br />

Windermere<br />

Do you enjoy Christmas? I do, but no<br />

one thinks about how a dog feels on<br />

Christmas.<br />

I’m William, a golden retriever. My<br />

owners, Joseph and Susan, have two kids<br />

— Maria, who’s 7, and Isaiah, who’s 11<br />

months old. It’s Christmas Eve, and everyone<br />

is getting ready. Maria is in her room,<br />

and Susan is playing with Isaiah. Joseph<br />

is out shopping, so I’m laying down on my<br />

bed in the hallway. No one can wait for<br />

tomorrow.<br />

We can<br />

SPOT and treat ...<br />

They are now eating dinner, so I decide<br />

to eat my meal. It’s the usual, dog food<br />

with water in a separate bowl. Maria,<br />

Joseph and Susan are having mac and<br />

cheese with peppers on the side. Susan<br />

is feeding Isaiah his baby food, so I finish<br />

my meal and walk under his chair to wait<br />

for some food to drop. I get some, but only<br />

a little.<br />

It’s now 7:35 p.m., and we are watching<br />

TV. How the Grinch Stole Christmas is<br />

on. When I hit my paw against the door<br />

to go out, Susan gets up and opens the<br />

door. I bolt into the yard and start sniffing.<br />

Suddenly, I smell a squirrel. There it<br />

is, down the slight incline. I run after it,<br />

and it takes off for a tree. The squirrel<br />

just makes it up the tree before I grab for<br />

it. Darn! I’ll get it next time. You just wait<br />

squirrel.<br />

“Woof,” I bark.<br />

“Will! Will!” Susan called.<br />

I trot up to the house and go inside.<br />

Everyone has gone to bed. It’s 12:06<br />

a.m. I hear a thud, then a creak in the<br />

floorboards. I decide to investigate. There<br />

stands the man himself, Santa.<br />

“Hello there, Will,” he says. “I have<br />

some treats for you.”<br />

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Mmm hmm, I sure could use something<br />

to eat right now. Santa gives me three<br />

treats and pets me. I lay down. He takes<br />

out many gifts and puts them underneath<br />

the tree. I go back to my bed and fall<br />

asleep.<br />

I wake up and hear Isaiah crying.<br />

Suddenly, Maria comes running down<br />

the hall and into Joseph and Susan’s<br />

room.<br />

“Mommy, Daddy, wake up!” she says.<br />

Isaiah continues to cry.<br />

“Merry Christmas,” Joseph says.<br />

Susan picks up Isaiah and takes him<br />

into the family room. Maria, Joseph and<br />

I follow.<br />

Joseph pets me and says, “Merry<br />

Christmas, Will.”<br />

“Look at all these presents!” Maria said<br />

excitedly. “Can we open them? Please,<br />

please, please, please?”<br />

“Yes,” Susan says.<br />

Isaiah makes a weird noise, and Susan<br />

pats his back. I lay there while Maria tears<br />

into the first present. It’s what she wanted,<br />

a makeup kit.<br />

“Yes!” Maria shouts.<br />

Next, everyone starts opening presents<br />

until they are gone. While I lay there, I<br />

think about how I saw him, Santa Claus,<br />

and no one knows. It’s a weird feeling.<br />

Now you know how a dog feels on<br />

Christmas. If you have a pet, you should<br />

think about how it feels during the<br />

holidays.<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

The Christmas Disaster<br />

by Derin Rohleder<br />

Windsor Landing<br />

It was two weeks before Christmas, and<br />

my family was decorating our Christmas<br />

trees. We had both a big and a small tree.<br />

My brother and I always decorated the<br />

smaller one. We were all happy, and we<br />

watched a Christmas movie almost every<br />

night. On Dec. 24, my mom and I baked<br />

cookies for Santa.<br />

When I got to bed, I was so excited I<br />

couldn’t sleep. When I woke up, I rushed<br />

to the tree, and, oh no, there were no presents<br />

under it. We were devastated!<br />

The following day at school I was talking<br />

to my friend, Sean, and he told me<br />

that he didn’t get any presents either. No<br />

one did. It was a Christmas disaster.<br />

The next day, Sean and I walked<br />

around at recess, asking everyone if they<br />

got presents or not.<br />

“Sean, what do you think happened,”<br />

I asked.<br />

He told me that he thought Santa had<br />

turned evil.<br />

“We have to find a way to get to the<br />

North Pole,” he said.<br />

“My dad is going there on a business<br />

trip tomorrow,” I said.<br />

“Really?” Sean asked.<br />

The next day was Saturday. I called<br />

Sean on my phone and asked him where<br />

we should meet. He said in his backyard,<br />

so when it was 8 a.m., we could sneak into<br />

the car to get on the plane. When we arrived,<br />

we went to every single house, asking<br />

where we could find Santa. Everyone<br />

thought that we were crazy until we saw<br />

an old-looking house that Sean was too<br />

scared to go into, so I went in.<br />

The old man in the house told me that<br />

deep in the snowy mountains there was a<br />

cave, and in that cave was a scroll protected<br />

by a dragon. On that scroll was a<br />

map of how to get to Santa. So we traveled<br />

into the mountains until we saw the<br />

cave and went in.<br />

We were scared by the huge dragon<br />

guarding the scroll, and we thought we<br />

had no chance of getting past the dragon<br />

until we saw two swords on the wall. We<br />

fought the dragon. It was a hard battle,<br />

but we won! We looked at the scroll, and<br />

it said that Santa worked undercover at<br />

the same place my dad was having his<br />

meeting.<br />

It was risky, but we had to do it. When<br />

we got there, we immediately started looking<br />

for Santa. After what felt like years of<br />

searching, I saw a familiar man with a big<br />

white beard. It was Santa. We walked<br />

over to him and demanded an answer for<br />

why he didn’t deliver presents this year.<br />

He said that he was too lazy and that<br />

after delivering presents since the beginning<br />

of time, he needed a break. After a<br />

long talk, he finally agreed to deliver presents<br />

every year from then on.<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

The Strong<br />

Squad Saves Christmas<br />

by Michael Wong<br />

Stoneybrook West<br />

Once upon a time, there was a group<br />

of teenagers called The Strong Squad<br />

who saved the North Pole from super villains.<br />

The members of The Strong Squad<br />

were Spencer, Layla and Devin. These<br />

teenagers each had special gifts given

to them by Jesus, because they were<br />

chosen to protect and preserve the holiday<br />

of Christmas. Spencer had superintelligence,<br />

Layla had super-strength,<br />

and Devin had super-speed. The super<br />

villains were Evil Santa and Evil Elf. Evil<br />

Santa kidnapped the real Santa every<br />

year to steal his powers, and Evil Elf hypnotized<br />

elves to control them.<br />

“Yay, it’s Dec. 23,” Devin said. “Only<br />

two more days until Christmas.”<br />

“Mom, Dad, where are our presents? I<br />

think I know who did this. I have to call<br />

Spencer and Layla.”<br />

“Spencer, Layla, Evil Santa and Evil Elf<br />

are striking again,” Devin said. “Time to<br />

squad up.”<br />

Everyone in the village was in chaos,<br />

because Christmas was ruined, but<br />

The Strong Squad would save the day.<br />

The teens met up at their headquarters<br />

so they could find Evil Santa and Evil<br />

Elf’s coordinates. To do this, they used<br />

Spencer’s high-tech computer. As soon as<br />

they found the coordinates, Devin supersped<br />

to their location to observe what<br />

they were doing.<br />

“Guys, they’re destroying all of the kids’<br />

presents,” Devin said. “We have to attack<br />

now.”<br />

“We have to attack when they least expect<br />

it,” Layla said.<br />

“Guys, it’s Christmas Eve, and the kids<br />

are counting on us,” Spencer said.<br />

“Alright, let’s attack now!” Devin and<br />

Layla said together.<br />

Devin super-sped Spencer and Layla to<br />

the evil lair.<br />

“Well, well, well. What do we have<br />

here?” Evil Santa asked.<br />

“We came here to stop you,” Devin<br />

said. “Children are very upset with both<br />

of you.”<br />

“Then let’s settle this with a fight, and if<br />

we win, you let us destroy Christmas every<br />

year,” Evil Elf said. “If we lose, we’ll buy<br />

back all the Christmas gifts and be good<br />

citizens.”<br />

Evil Santa and Evil Elf started attacking<br />

with the increasing power of Evil Santa.<br />

He was stronger than ever. Before they<br />

could reach The Strong Squad, Devin<br />

ran around them, creating a tornado and<br />

which made them dizzy. When both of<br />

them fell down, Layla punched the ground,<br />

causing it to shake. Eventually, Evil Santa<br />

and Evil Elf were knocked out.<br />

Spencer used his power to steal handcuffs<br />

to turn them in to the police. In order<br />

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 41<br />

for them not to use their powers, their cells<br />

had to be underground, covered in pure<br />

steel.<br />

Christmas was saved once and for all, but<br />

the only thing left was the presents. Devin<br />

took all of the presents from the lair and<br />

super-sped them back to all the families.<br />

“Hooray! Hooray! Christmas is saved!”<br />

the children chanted.<br />

Eventually, when Jesus found out about<br />

the Strong Squad’s good deeds, he<br />

thanked them. He also enhanced their<br />

powers. Devin had invisibility and superspeed,<br />

Layla had teleportation and superstrength,<br />

and Spencer could fly and had<br />

super-intelligence.<br />

The Strong Squad was known as the heroes<br />

of the North Pole, and they formed an<br />

alliance with Santa. Although Christmas<br />

was saved, there is a new, powerful threat<br />

coming. This means The Strong Squad will<br />

have to train even harder. Stay tuned for<br />

the sequel, coming next December.<br />

Honorable Mention<br />

Christmas Magic<br />

by Emma Pohlhammer<br />

Roberts Landing<br />

“Kimi, come here quickly!” Mom said.<br />

“Yes, Mom, what is it?” I asked.<br />

“Look, the hail is damaging the town<br />

Christmas tree! I am so glad you came<br />

home early, because if you had stayed<br />

out any longer, you could have been ...<br />

gone,” Mom said.<br />

The next morning.<br />

“Look at what the storm did to the tree,”<br />

Mom said.<br />

"But Mom, look at the townspeople, I<br />

said. "Look at what they are doing."<br />

"Hmmm, all I can see is that all of<br />

the townspeople are still celebrating<br />

Christmas, even after the storm nearly destroyed<br />

the tree.” Mom said.<br />

OK. So now I will tell you how it all<br />

started.<br />

It started when we had a major hurricane,<br />

tornado, blizzard and earthquake<br />

all at once. When we thought it was over,<br />

we all came out of our houses. That was<br />

a mistake! We had a major aftershock<br />

as you can see. I am going to describe it<br />

whether you like it or not.<br />

The wind said, “Whoosh,” as it zipped<br />

across the sky. Hail the size of bowling<br />

balls with equally as strong force had taken<br />

on our strongest Christmas tree, the one<br />

in the town square. Sleet ruined the strong,<br />

healthy grass, and the blizzard covered<br />

the houses of the town of Berry. Worst of<br />

all, the berries had been destroyed, as if<br />

they were the main target. It was a total<br />

nightmare. Nobody in the town of Berry<br />

could get to sleep, but one person did.<br />

Her name was Kimi.<br />

That’s me! I got to sleep, because I have<br />

a mysterious mystical power. It lets me<br />

save the world, according to an old town<br />

legend. It says the person with the power<br />

will save us all and our most prized holiday,<br />

Christmas. I have that power, but all<br />

I’ve been doing with it is saving myself. But<br />

one afternoon during the storm, something<br />

happened. I had the courage to step outside<br />

and face the storm.<br />

“Ouch!” I said. “Aww man, battling<br />

hurts! I think I broke my arm! And I am at<br />

the end of the battle I have been fighting<br />

against the storm. I can’t give up now!”<br />

“Ha, ha!” the storm mocked me.<br />

“Hey, can you talk?” I asked. “Oh, I am<br />

so going to get you! You are so dead! All<br />

energy blast!”<br />

“Ahhhhh,” the storm said.<br />

Yeah, it really hurts, but I single-handedly<br />

saved Christmas.<br />

“Hey, look!” the people in town shouted.<br />

“That little girl saved us all. She’s a hero!”<br />

“Mom! Where are you, Mom?” I<br />

shouted.<br />

“I’m right here, honey,” she answered.<br />

“Oh, look at you. You’re all grown up.”<br />

“But, Mom. You should be sad. The<br />

Christmas tree is ruined.”<br />

“Honey, Christmas is not about the tree.<br />

It’s about people coming together and enjoying<br />

time with each other. It’s also about<br />

celebrating peace, joy and happiness.<br />

Now, let’s celebrate!”<br />

I am truly sorry for telling this story so<br />

short, but hey, let’s celebrate! I deserve it,<br />

I think.<br />

“Mom, I have a present for you,” I said.<br />

I hope you have an adventurous<br />

Christmas, and remember this: Have a<br />

merry Christmas. Your Christmas can be<br />

magical, too, if only you believe. And remember<br />

to keep the heart of Christmas in<br />

your heart.<br />

The staff of the Southwest Orlando Bulletin extends special<br />

thanks to everyone who participated in the 25th annual<br />

holiday short-story contest.<br />

Editor’s note: Entries may have been edited for grammar,<br />

punctuation, length and content. To honor as many holiday<br />

short stories as possible, School News does not appear<br />

in this issue. ª

42 x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com<br />

ACROSS<br />

1. Minimal in magnitude<br />

6. Club alternative<br />

9. Angelina to Maddox<br />

13. Cattiness<br />

14. "___ the land of the<br />

free ..."<br />

15. Permissible<br />

16. 1/100 of a rial<br />

17. Oahu greeting gift<br />

18. Foolish<br />

19. *"Harry Potter and the<br />

____ Child"<br />

21. *UK's 2016 withdrawal<br />

vote<br />

23. Christian minister, abbr.<br />

24. Long, long time<br />

25. Scottish cap<br />

28. Sushi selection<br />

30. African tree<br />

35. Faubourg Saint-HonorÉ<br />

and Rivoli, e.g.<br />

37. Brown seaweed<br />

39. Latin American plain<br />

40. Sky bear<br />

41. Don't go out for dinner<br />

43. *This Barrymore got<br />

divorced in 2016<br />

44. New Zealander<br />

46. Ring-around-the-rosy<br />

flower<br />

47. Prima donna's numbers<br />

48. George Town state,<br />

Malaysia<br />

50. Mary's follower<br />

52. Born, in society pages<br />

53. Fix a horse<br />

55. *Ezekiel Elliott became<br />

one in 2016<br />

57. Popular flowering shrub<br />

60. *Cubs, e.g.<br />

63. *Ciara, on her special<br />

day<br />

64. Wade opponent<br />

66. Eagerness, pl.<br />

68. Comic book expression<br />



(Answer Key on Page 44)<br />

for fear<br />

69. Soccer mom's ride<br />

70. Icy hut<br />

71. Enthusiasm<br />

72. Product of creativity<br />

73. Cut one's leg off, e.g.<br />

DOWN<br />

1. Aldous Huxley's drug of<br />

choice<br />

2. "The Iliad," e.g.<br />

3. Hokkaido language<br />

4. One Beatle<br />

5. Less verbose<br />

6. "The ____ and the Beautiful"<br />

7. *Harper ____, 1926-2016<br />

8. *A ____ Called Quest<br />

issued comeback album<br />

9. Seductive one<br />

10. Berry high in antioxidants<br />

11. Créme de menthe<br />

flavor<br />

12. Absorbed, as a loss<br />

15. Relating to spleen<br />

20. What some smells do<br />

to memories<br />

22. *Kardashian brother<br />

who became a dad<br />

24. In total<br />

25. *Election winner<br />

26. Sign of a saint, pl.<br />

27. Subatomic particle<br />

29. *Like 2016<br />

31. One of auto pioneers<br />

32. Sacha Cohen's middle<br />

name<br />

33. Anoint<br />

34. *"Major Tom" singer,<br />

1947-2016<br />

36. Mystery writer, ____<br />

Paretsky<br />

38. Site of Leaning Tower<br />

42. Naiad or maenad<br />

45. English in Spain<br />

49. "Fancy that!"<br />

51. *Olympic host<br />

54. Caterpillar precursor<br />

56. Opposite end of alpha<br />

57. Seed coat<br />

58. *Mosquito-borne threat<br />

59. Yemeni port<br />

60. Rapper and actor, 50<br />

____<br />

61. Rodeo Drive tree<br />

62. ____ gin<br />

63. Ciao in the U.S.<br />

65. Argo propeller<br />

67. Rolled grass

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n Wet ‘n Wild’s final days<br />

After providing a splashing good<br />

time to countless families for 39<br />

years, Wet ‘n Wild, located at<br />

6200 International Drive in Orlando,<br />

will permanently close Dec. 31.<br />

In a message to visitors, representatives<br />

of the amusement park said,<br />

“We are extremely appreciative to<br />

those that have contributed to our<br />

success over the past 39 years. It is<br />

fans like you that have made us so<br />

successful and a place that families<br />

will remember for years to come.”<br />

For more information, visit www.<br />

wetnwildorlando.com on the web.<br />

n OCSA supports holiday<br />

party for children with<br />

special needs<br />

Members of the Orange County<br />

Sportsmen’s Association’s board of<br />

directors presented a $2,500 check<br />

to Autistic/Handicapped Children<br />

of Central Florida Inc. to support its<br />

43rd annual Holiday Season Party<br />

for children with special needs. The<br />

two groups have partnered since the<br />

event’s inception and have brought<br />

thousands of smiles to special needs<br />

kids in Central Florida.<br />



(Crossword on Page 42)<br />


compiled by Lauren Salinero<br />

Representatives from the Orange County Sportsmen’s Association’s board of directors and<br />

Autistic/Handicapped Children of Central Florida, (front, l. to r.) Jennifer Martin, Mitzi<br />

Stevens, Deborah Garson, Brian Gibson, Debra Kral, Wendy Everett, Andrew<br />

Kral, Albert Gallof and Daniel Everett (back), gather for OCSA’s donation to the 43rd<br />

annual Holiday Season Party for children with special needs.<br />

The party began in the backyard<br />

of a former OCSA president, became<br />

a three-day event at OCSA,<br />

and now has moved to The Pines<br />

at Windermere to accommodate<br />

nearly 1,500 children each<br />

year from local schools and the surrounding<br />

areas. The long-standing<br />

tradition is one that the teachers<br />

and families of these special children<br />

look forward to each year.<br />

It is also an opportunity for volunteers<br />

to get engaged with the<br />

community.<br />

For more information, call 407-<br />

876-2010.<br />

n Ocoee lights its holiday tree<br />

The city of Ocoee held its fourth annual<br />

Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration<br />

at the city’s historic Withers-Maguire<br />

House and the Ocoee Lakeshore<br />

Center. Attendees enjoyed games;<br />

face painting; a fire pit with s’mores;<br />

train, pony and carriage rides; a silent<br />

wreath auction; live music, and more.<br />

Santa and Mrs. Claus also visited the<br />

Withers-Maguire House during the<br />

evening, and The Friends of Ocoee<br />

History Preservation gave tours of the<br />

historic house, regaling audiences with<br />

how holidays were celebrated during<br />

the turn of the century. All of the excitement<br />

centered around the lighting of a<br />

20-foot tall tree.<br />

For more information, visit www.<br />

ocoee.org on the web.<br />

n Annual Tales and Tails Gala<br />

is a success<br />

Earlier this fall, Canine Companions<br />

for Independence held its 20th charity<br />

gala, the Tales and Tails Gala,<br />

at Rosen Shingle Creek to raise<br />

money to help place assistance dogs,<br />

free of charge, for people with disabilities.<br />

The 2015 event raised more than<br />

$385,000. This year, with the theme<br />

of “A Star-Spangled Celebration —<br />

Every Day Is Independence Day,” the<br />

event drew a record-setting 735 attendees<br />

and surpassed its fundraising<br />

goal by 18 percent, with a total of<br />

$465,000.<br />

For more information, call 407-<br />

522-3300 or visit cci.org on the web.<br />

A record 735 guests attend Canine Companions for Independence’s Tales and Tails Gala.


West Orange Chamber of<br />

Commerce held a ribbon-cutting<br />

ceremony for Sage Dental. WOCC<br />

builds partnerships, strong businesses<br />

and commitment to the community<br />

by serving as the leading business<br />

advocate in Central Florida, facilitating<br />

opportunity to nearly 1,000<br />

member businesses. For more<br />

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 45<br />

learn how to code, blog and maintain<br />

their own customized landing<br />

page as part of a new platform,<br />

vrtalentbook.com. The new website is<br />

scheduled to go live by the beginning<br />

of 2017 and will include the ability<br />

for talent agents to meet and book<br />

new talent through the site. For more<br />

information, call 407-420-7231 or<br />

visit www.accentsmodelandtalent.com<br />

on the web.<br />

produce to communities in need —<br />

was awarded a grant that will help<br />

its current goal of supporting additional<br />

neighborhoods in Central<br />

Florida. For more information, call<br />

407-355-7100 or visit Whole<br />

Foods Market Orlando at<br />

8003 Turkey Lake Road.<br />

The Tourist Development<br />

Committee unanimously approved<br />

$45 million from the Tourist<br />

Development Tax to be put toward<br />

the construction of Phase 2<br />

of the Dr. Phillips Center for<br />

the Performing Arts. The funds<br />

support Steinmetz Hall, a 1,700-<br />

seat acoustical theater, home to<br />

local resident companies Orlando<br />

Philharmonic Orchestra and the<br />

Orlando Ballet. The theater also<br />

hosts performances of other local<br />

arts groups and exceptional talent<br />

from around the world. For more information,<br />

visit drphillipscenter.org<br />

on the web.<br />

information, call 407-656-1304 or<br />

visit wochamber.com on the web.<br />

Accents Model and Talent<br />

Center, located at 2411 W. Sand<br />

Lake Road in Orlando, is partnering<br />

with Bee2Bee Network Inc. in<br />

an effort to introduce young talent<br />

entering the entertainment industry<br />

to complementary technologies<br />

that will give them a competitive<br />

advantage. The Beauty & Brains<br />

Campaign allows coed students to<br />

Whole Cities Foundation, a<br />

nonprofit foundation of Whole<br />

Foods Market, is partnering with<br />

more than 30 community-based organizations<br />

that are increasing access<br />

to fresh, healthy food in their<br />

neighborhoods through the new<br />

Community First Grant Program.<br />

Each organization will be awarded<br />

$5,000 to support existing<br />

projects that improve community<br />

health through broadening access<br />

to fresh food. This year, Orlando’s<br />

The Fresh Stop Bus — a re-purposed<br />

Lynx bus that delivers fresh<br />

Photo courtesy of WOCC<br />

West<br />

Orange<br />

Chamber of<br />

Commerce<br />

members<br />

celebrate the<br />

opening of Sage<br />

Dental.<br />

The First Academy will hold<br />

open houses Jan. 8 and Feb. 12 from<br />

2-4 p.m. The Christ-centered school<br />

accommodates students from birth<br />

through 12th grade. Its lower and<br />

middle schools have earned blue<br />

ribbon status, and it boasts a 100<br />

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n Charities/Fundraisers<br />

Through Dec. 31 — Pet Rescue Project<br />

Reed Nissan sponsors the third annual<br />

Reed Nissan Pet Rescue Project 90-Day<br />

Adopt-a-Thon through Dec. 31, with a<br />

special adoption program Dec. 13 at<br />

Reed Nissan Clermont, 16005 State<br />

Road 50, Clermont. During the event<br />

on Dec. 13, fees will be waived for animals<br />

adopted at the dealership or both<br />

Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando shelter<br />

locations. Last year’s project resulted in<br />

the adoption of more than 2,100 pets.<br />

Time: 3 p.m.-6 p.m. For more information,<br />

visit www.friendinreed.com on the<br />

web.<br />

Through Dec. 31 — Doggie<br />

Donation Drive<br />

Orlando Canine Country Club, 5027<br />

Patch Road, Orlando, hosts Canine<br />

Christ-Mutts Angels, a monthlong fundraiser<br />

for A Cause 4 Paws Rescue<br />

Inc. and A New Beginning Rescue Inc.<br />

Donations go toward providing adoptions,<br />

veterinary benefits, leashes, collars,<br />

beds, food, treats, blankets and towels.<br />

For more information, call 407-601-7971<br />

or email michaelocccc@gmail.com.<br />

Through Jan. 16 — Infant<br />

Prematurity Campaign<br />

Southwest Orlando resident and midwife<br />

Jennie Joseph, executive director<br />

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 47<br />


of Commonsense Childbirth Inc., urges<br />

people to support the annual Heads Up<br />

on Infant Prematurity campaign by knitting<br />

or crocheting hats for newborns<br />

or premature infants. The hats will be<br />

delivered to local neonatal intensive<br />

care units or hospital nurseries Jan.<br />

16, 2017. For more information, email<br />

perinataltaskforce@gmail.com or visit<br />

www.perinataltaskforce.com on the<br />

web.<br />

Jan. 22 — Brighton Beach Memoirs<br />

Play Reading<br />

Theatre South Playhouse presents<br />

an intimate stage reading of the hit<br />

Broadway play Brighton Beach Memoirs<br />

at the Rosen Event Theater, 11184 S.<br />

Apopka-Vineland Road, Orlando. Time:<br />

2-4 p.m. Cost: $10, with proceeds benefiting<br />

the research of Lou Gehrig’s disease,<br />

also called amyotrophic lateral<br />

sclerosis. ALS attacks motor neurons,<br />

cells that control the muscles. For more<br />

information, call 407-489-4458, email<br />

theatresouthorlando@gmail.com or visit<br />

brightonbeachfor-als.whindo.com on<br />

the web.<br />

compiled by Lisa Sagers<br />

n Children’s/Teen<br />

Programs<br />

Dec. 15, 17, 31 & Jan. 7 — Youth<br />

Auditions<br />

Theatre South Playhouse’s winter/spring<br />

season youth auditions take place Dec.<br />

15, Dec. 17, Dec. 31 and Jan. 7. Youth<br />

shows include Xanadu Jr.; I Wanna Star<br />

in Annie, Matilda and Newsies; The Lion<br />

King Jr.; and 13, the Musical. Shows<br />

rehearse Saturdays with some catch-up<br />

rehearsals Wednesdays and Thursdays.<br />

K through second-graders are encouraged<br />

to audition, but it is not mandatory.<br />

There are different shows for K through<br />

12th-graders. To reserve an audition<br />

spot, email theatresouthorlando@gmail.<br />

com. For more information, visit www.<br />

theatresouthorlando.com on the web.<br />

Dec. 19 — Cookie Decorating<br />

The Southwest Library at Dr. Phillips,<br />

7255 Della Drive, Orlando, hosts<br />

Cookie Decorating for ages 6-18. Time:<br />

10:30 a.m. For more information, call<br />

407-835-7323.<br />

Dec. 19, 22 & 29 — Coding With<br />

Ozobots<br />

The Southwest Library at Dr. Phillips,<br />

7255 Della Drive, Orlando, hosts<br />

Coding with Ozobots for ages 6-12,<br />

which teaches the basics of coding<br />

and computer programming using a<br />

miniature Ozobot. No prior coding<br />

knowledge needed, and registration is<br />

required. Time: 4 p.m. For more information,<br />

call 407-835-7323.<br />

Dec. 21 — Winter Welcome Party<br />

The Southwest Library at Dr. Phillips,<br />

7255 Della Drive, Orlando, hosts the<br />

free Winter Welcome Party, including<br />

stories, activities and crafts, for ages<br />

6-12. Time: 3 p.m. For more information,<br />

call 407-835-7323.<br />

Dec. 22 — Holiday DIY Crafts<br />

The Winter Garden Library, 805 E. Plant<br />

St., Winter Garden, hosts Holiday DIY<br />

Crafts for ages 6-18. Attendees create<br />

handmade decorations, ornaments or<br />

simple gifts. Time: 4:30 p.m. For more<br />

information, call 407-835-7323.<br />

Dec. 27 & 30 — Noon Year’s<br />

Celebrations<br />

The Winter Garden Library, 805 E. Plant<br />

St., Winter Garden, and Southwest Library<br />

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host free Noon Year’s Celebrations for ages 3-12. Activities<br />

include making crafts, noise makers, yummy treats, New<br />

Year’s resolutions and a balloon drop finale. The Winter<br />

Garden Library event is Dec. 27 at 11 a.m., and the<br />

Southwest Library at Dr. Phillips event is Dec. 30 at 11:15<br />

a.m. For more information, call 407-835-7323.<br />

Jan. 21 — Youth Fitness Competition<br />

Winter Garden Athletic Club, 350 E. Crown Point<br />

Road, Suite 1070, Winter Garden, hosts Youth Fitness<br />

Warriors, a free, fun fitness competition and coed<br />

event. Physicals are not required, and free physicals<br />

are offered for preregistered youth participants. Time: 9<br />

a.m.-1 p.m. for elementary students, 1-2 p.m. for middle<br />

and high school students, and 2-3 p.m. for parents/<br />

adults. For more information about free physicals, call<br />

Toni Muzzonigro, D.O., at 407-367-5676. For more<br />

information and to preregister for the event, visit www.<br />

youthfitnesswarriors.com on the web.<br />

n Holiday Happenings<br />

Through Dec. 18 — The Happy Elf Performances<br />

Orlando Repertory Theatre in Partnership with UCF,<br />

1001 E. Princeton St., Orlando, presents performances<br />

of Harry Connick Jr.’s The Happy Elf. Showtimes vary,<br />

and ticket prices start at $14. For more information,<br />

call 407-896-7365 or visit orlandorep.com on the web.<br />

Through Dec. 24 — Holiday Festivities<br />

Winter Garden offers a variety of holiday festivities, including<br />

the Merry Winter Garden Light Show on Dec. 16,<br />

Dec. 17 and Dec. 23 from 6-9 p.m.; Holiday Music by<br />

the Dickens Classic Carolers at the Plaza on Dec. 16 from<br />

7-9 p.m.; horse-drawn carriage rides through historic downtown,<br />

a Winter Garden Christmas Concert & Singalong<br />

at First Baptist Church from 4-5:30 p.m., a holiday golf<br />

cart parade at 6 p.m., and a holiday movie and golf cart<br />

drive-in at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 17; and holiday music by<br />

Paint It Black Quartet on Dec. 23 from 7-9 p.m. For more<br />

information, visit www.wintergarden-fl.com on the web.<br />

Through Dec. 30 — Every Christmas Story Ever<br />

Told (And Then Some!) Performances<br />

Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF<br />

presents performances of Every Christmas Story Ever<br />

Told (And Then Some!) at the John and Rita Lowndes<br />

Shakespeare Center, 812 E. Rollins St., Orlando. Time:<br />

Wednesday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and<br />

Sunday at 2 p.m. Cost: $25-$50. For more information,<br />

call 407-447-1700, ext. 1; or visit orlandoshakes.org<br />

on the web.<br />

Through Jan. 2 — Christmas At The Leu House<br />

Harry P. Leu Gardens, 1920 N. Forest Ave., Orlando, hosts<br />

Christmas at the Leu House, during which the 11-room<br />

estate is decorated with holiday trimmings, Christmas<br />

trees and decorations. Time: 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Cost:<br />

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$10, adult; $3, children K-12; and free<br />

for children 4-younger and Leu members.<br />

(The Leu House is included with regular<br />

admission to the gardens.) For more<br />

information, call 407-246-2620 or visit<br />

www.leugardens.org on the web.<br />

Through Jan. 7 — Light Up UCF<br />

CFE Arena hosts Light Up UCF, including<br />

ice skating, rides, a film festival, holiday<br />

market and an all-new light show. Time:<br />

Monday-Thursday from 5-10 p.m., Friday<br />

from 5 p.m.-midnight, Saturday from<br />

noon-midnight, and Sunday from noon-<br />

10 p.m. Hours may vary on holidays.<br />

Tickets for various activities are available<br />

at the CFE Arena box office and<br />

online. To become a vendor, visit www.<br />

ucfholidaymarket.com on the web. For<br />

more information, call 800-745-3000<br />

or visit www.lightupucf.com on the web.<br />

Dec. 17 — Holidaze Concert<br />

Orlando Repertory Theatre, 1001 E.<br />

Princeton St., Orlando, hosts Holidaze,<br />

a performance by the Central Florida<br />

Sounds of Freedom Band and Color<br />

Guard. The show features holiday music<br />

from Halloween to New Year’s Eve and a<br />

silent auction. Time: 7 p.m. Cost: $10; free<br />

for children 12-younger. For more information<br />

or to purchase tickets in advance, visit<br />

www.cfsof.com on the web.<br />

Dec. 17 — Habitat For The<br />

Holidays<br />

Oakland Nature Preserve, 747 Machete<br />

Trail, Oakland, hosts Habitat for the<br />

Holidays with Alissa Himelfarb, education<br />

coordinator. Participants craft edible ornaments,<br />

garland and pinecone feeders for<br />

the preserve’s wildlife. Afterward, attendees<br />

take a hike to place their edible gifts<br />

on the trails. Preregistration is required.<br />

Time: 10 a.m. Cost: $5 for nonmembers,<br />

free for members. For more information,<br />

call 407-905-0054, email information@<br />

oaklandnaturepreserve.org or visit<br />

oaklandnaturepreserve.org on the web.<br />

Dec. 17, 18, 22 & 23 —<br />

Breakfasts with Santa & Mrs. Claus<br />

T-Rex Cafe at Disney Springs, 1676 E.<br />

Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, hosts<br />

breakfasts with Santa and Mrs. Claus,<br />

including a buffet, photo opportunities<br />

and one-hour or early-bird shopping with<br />

a $10 retail discount on a $50 purchase.<br />

Reservations are required. Time: 8-10 a.m.<br />

For more information, call Brandi, 407-828-<br />

6375; email bwaterson@idry.com; or visit<br />

trexcafe.com on the web.<br />

Dec. 21 & 28 — Holiday Dances<br />

For Seniors<br />

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 49<br />

The Belles and Beaus Dance Club sponsors<br />

a holiday dances for seniors at<br />

the Marks Street Recreation Complex,<br />

99 E. Marks St., Orlando. A holiday<br />

dance takes place Dec. 21, and a New<br />

Year’s dance is Dec. 28. Music is provided<br />

by Soft Touch, and singles and<br />

couples are welcome. Refreshments are<br />

available. Time: 7-9:30 p.m. Cost: $5<br />

per person. Men attending the dances<br />

for the first time are free. For more<br />

information, call 407-644-4200 or visit<br />

bellesandbeausdance.com on the web.<br />

Dec. 24 — Candlelight Christmas<br />

Eve Church Services<br />

The Sanctuary at St. Luke’s United<br />

Methodist Church, 4851 S. Apopka-<br />

Vineland Road, Orlando, holds candlelight<br />

Christmas Eve church services at the<br />

following times: Contemporary candlelight<br />

services at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.,<br />

candlelight services with the sanctuary<br />

choir at 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., and a<br />

candlelight communion with the mixed<br />

ensemble at 11:15 p.m. Child care is<br />

available for the 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m<br />

services. At 4 p.m., all children and<br />

families are invited to participate in the<br />

special telling of the Christmas story at<br />

the annual Children’s Nativity Pageant.<br />

Children are asked to come dressed in<br />

costumes as shepherds, angels, Mary,<br />

Joseph, Wisemen or farm animals. For<br />

more information, call 407-876-4991<br />

or visit www.st.lukes.org/schedule on<br />

the web.<br />

Dec. 29 — Holiday Movie In The<br />

Park<br />

The Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake<br />

Eola Park in Orlando hosts Holiday<br />

Movie in the Park, featuring A Christmas<br />

Story. Time: 7 p.m. Admission is free.<br />

n Miscellaneous<br />

Through Jan. 24 — Art Submission<br />

Deadline<br />

Women in the Arts Inc. and the Orange<br />

County Library System invite professional<br />

female artists to submit their<br />

work to be exhibited during Women’s<br />

History Month at the library. Finalists<br />

are chosen from submitted entries, and<br />

selected art is featured in the upcoming<br />

annual Celebrating the Genius of<br />

Women exhibition in March and April.<br />

Finalists are eligible for $1,500 in<br />

cash prizes and gallery representation<br />

at Baterbys Art Gallery for the top<br />

three winners. For more information,<br />

call 407-835-7481. Apply online at<br />

www.womeninthearts.org/art-competition.<br />

Dec. 17, 24 & 31 — Farmers<br />

Markets<br />

Winter Garden Farmers Market, voted<br />

No. 1 in America, takes place at 104<br />

S. Lakeview Ave., Winter Garden. The<br />

market is adding 50 new vendors,<br />

and there is a new parking garage<br />

next to the event. Time: Saturdays from<br />

9 a.m.-2 p.m.<br />

n Networking/Clubs<br />

Ongoing — Running Club for Women<br />

Moms Run This Town, a women’s running<br />

club with more than 10,000 members<br />

nationwide, invites local women to get<br />

together to run/walk/jog and socialize.<br />

All skill levels (from beginning walkers to<br />

experienced marathoners) are welcome,<br />

and an encouraging and informative<br />

online support community is provided.<br />

To join the Orlando chapter, visit www.<br />

facebook.com/groups/centralflorida.mrtt<br />

on the web. For more information,<br />

email mrttcentralfl@gmail.com or visit<br />

www.momsrunthistown.com/centralfl<br />

on the web.<br />

Ongoing — Members Needed<br />

The West Orange Women seeks women of<br />

all ages to join its social group where they<br />

“build friendships while helping others.”<br />

The 200-plus members enjoy more than<br />

25 fun activities. For more information, visit<br />

www.westorangewomen.com on the web.<br />

Jan. 5 — Retired Educators<br />

Meeting<br />

The Orange County Retired Educators<br />

Association meets at College Park United<br />

Methodist Church, 644 W. Princeton St.,<br />

Orlando, for a program called Home &<br />

Personal Safety and Elder Law. Anyone<br />

who has worked in education is invited.<br />

Time: 10 a.m. For more information, call<br />

407-677-0446.<br />

Jan. 24 — Book Club Meeting<br />

The Southwest Library at Dr. Phillips,<br />

7255 Della Drive, Orlando, hosts a<br />

free meeting of the Southwest Book<br />

Club. January’s reading selection is<br />

Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon.<br />

Time: 7 p.m. For more information,<br />

call 407-835-7323.<br />

n Support Groups<br />

Jan. 10 — Support Group Meeting<br />

For Caregivers<br />

The Alzheimer’s & Dementia Resource<br />

Center sponsors a free support group<br />

meeting for caregivers in the Suite 281<br />

Conference Room (next to the south<br />

elevators on the second floor) at Health<br />

Central Hospital, 10000 W. Colonial<br />

Drive, Ocoee. Time: second Tuesday of<br />

each month at 6 p.m. For more information,<br />

call 407-843-1910 or visit<br />

www.adrccares.org on the web.<br />

Jan. 16 — Stroke Support Group<br />

Meeting<br />

The Winter Park Civic Center, 1050<br />

W. Morse Blvd., Winter Park, hosts a<br />

free meeting of the BCenter’s Stroke<br />

Support & Social Group. A deli-style<br />

lunch is provided. Reservations via email<br />

are requested to valerie@bcenter.com.<br />

Time: third Monday of each month from<br />

12:30-2:30 p.m. For more information,<br />

call 888-942-9355.<br />

n Volunteer<br />

Opportunities<br />

Ongoing — Volunteers Needed<br />

The Mustard Seed of Central Florida,<br />

12 Mustard Seed Lane, Orlando, seeks<br />

volunteers who can help with donation<br />

sorting, mattress recycling, warehouse<br />

maintenance, administrative work, special<br />

events or general maintenance. For more<br />

information, call 407-875-2040, ext. 110;<br />

or email jessi@mustardseedfla.org.<br />

Ongoing — Volunteers Needed<br />

The Florida Long-Term Care Ombudsman<br />

Program, which advocates for quality<br />

long-term care, seeks volunteers.<br />

Training is provided. For more information,<br />

call 888-831-0404 or visit<br />

ombudsman.myflorida.com on the web.<br />

Contributions to Community Bulletin Board are<br />

welcome. Please send information six weeks<br />

before the event to P.O. Box 851, Windermere, FL<br />

34786; or email Lisa@kearneypublishing.com. ª<br />


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