Art and Karen Brown Travel to New Zealand and more news …

compiled by Lauren Salinero


MetroWest resident and Orlando native Anastasia Remoundos, a musical theater student at Ithaca College, was inducted into the Oracle Honor Society. Founded in 1928, OHS is a historic Ithaca College honor society that recognizes academic excellence. New students who achieve a GPA within the top 10 percent of students in their academic school after completing two full semesters at the college are invited to accept membership into the society.


Turnburry residents Art (far right) and Karen Brown (far left) visit Karen’s lifelong pen pal, Robyn Chrystal (second from left), and Robyn’s husband, Laurie, in New Zealand.

Art and Karen Brown of Turnburry traveled to New Zealand to meet Karen’s lifelong pen pal, Robyn Chrystal. The women have been writing to each other since 1948, when Karen was in first grade. Their communication survived all of the Browns’ moves throughout the years — 23 moves in 24 years, serving in the U.S. Army. The Browns enjoyed meeting the Chrystals and their family, seeing the sheep and other animals on their property, and walking with them through the beautiful countryside. Karen and Robyn each have four children, and they were married just one month apart in 1962. Art and Karen also were joined by their children and grandchildren in Queenstown, New Zealand, to attend the wedding ceremony of their youngest daughter, Dr. Phillips High School graduate Carrie Brown, to Adam Fox. The family concluded its trip in Sydney, where they watched New Year’s Eve fireworks, climbed the Sydney Bridge, and visited Australian Rotary friends who had visited Central Florida as part of a Rotary Group Study Exchange Program five years ago. The trip-of-a-lifetime was even more extra-special, because it was postponed last year when Karen had to undergo chemotherapy.

Turtle Creek

Victor Pantoja Jr. and his wife, Dr. Francelis Gonzalez, of Turtle Creek dress to the nines for the St. Jude Orlando Gala (©Brion Price).

Turtle Creek residents Victor Pantoja Jr. and Dr. Francelis Gonzalez attended the St. Jude Orlando Gala. The elegant affair was held at the Four Seasons Hotel and included a silent auction, dinner and entertainment. The gala raised funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which treats pediatric patients who have been diagnosed with various types of cancer.

Et Al

Congratulations to the following Southwest-area residents on their recent academic achievements:

• Southwest residents who made their schools’ deans list for the 2016 fall semester include Columbia College students Lantz Belizaire of Windermere; Dave Gibson of MetroWest; David Graydon, Sheryl Kilpatrick and Wilda Schoeppler of Ocoee; and Margaret Palmer of Winter Garden; Nicole Borah of Windermere and Jamie Moran of Celebration, Saint Mary’s College; Windermere residents Abigail Brady and Madeline Sundberg, Samford University; Wendi Coheley of Winter Garden, Buena Vista University; Kelly DAndrea of Winter Garden and Delaney OConnor of Celebration, Emmanuel College; and Jarius EnglishMcmillan of Dr. Phillips, Coastal Carolina University.

• Recent graduates from Florida Gulf Coast University include Tomas Cerda of Dr. Phillips, Bachelor of Arts from the College of Arts and Sciences; Courtney Comer of Dr. Phillips, Bachelor of Science from the Lutgert College of Business; and Kevin HoYen of MetroWest, Bachelor of Science from the Lutgert College of Business.

• Celebration resident Alexandria Hall was named to Fort Hays State University’s dean’s honor roll.

• Winter Garden resident Douglas Heinkel graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stout with a Bachelor of Science in game design and development.

Alyssa Kidwell of Winter Garden was named to the president’s list at James Madison University.

• Ocoee resident Elina Moon made the president’s honor roll at Oklahoma City University.

Michael Morrissey of Winter Garden was named to the president’s honor roll at Bismarck State College.

(L. to r.) Rotary Clubs of Mexico City District Gov. Miguel Angel Borja Tovar, Rotary Club of Lake Buena Vista President Jean Campana, and Reedy Creek Fire Department Cmdr. Richard Lepere Jr. participate in a Rotary meeting.

Rotary Club of Lake Buena Vista members hosted the chief of the Reedy Creek Fire Department, Cmdr. Richard Lepere Jr., at a recent meeting. Richard presented a program about household fire safety. Also in attendance was Miguel Angel Borja Tovar, 2016-17 district governor of the Rotary Clubs of Mexico City.

Kiwanis Club of Dr. Phillips members continue to be active in the community. Members participated in a cleanup service project at Rose Place Park. They also held the annual Juvenile Diabetes Camp Bowl-A-Thon, a divisionwide event that raises money for children with juvenile diabetes so they are able to attend a summer camp with other children who have similar conditions. Also, the group’s first charity golf tournament will take place April 21 at MetroWest Golf Club. To register to play, call Merissa or Dave at 407-207-9088. The above projects are in addition to the club’s regular reading every Tuesday at Dr. Phillips and Orlo Vista elementary schools.

Southwest resident and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings (right) receives an Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Southwest resident and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings was honored with an Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award during the YMCA’s 26th annual Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Prayer Breakfast. Each year, more than 1,000 community leaders, pastors, elected officials and citizens attend the event, which honors the legacies of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy, Central Florida’s first African-American elected official. Event proceeds support the Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Scholarship Fund for Promising Teens, which has awarded more than $50,000 in educational funds to nearly 60 young people since 1999. As Central Florida’s largest communitywide prayer breakfast of its kind, the event was co-sponsored by the City of Orlando’s Martin Luther King Jr. Commission and the Southwest Orlando Jacyees. PepsiCo Inc. served as the presenting sponsor.

To coincide with Human Trafficking Awareness Month, representatives of One Purse, a local charity that supports sex-trafficking survivors, announced the nonprofit will donate $12,000 in scholarships for trafficking survivors. Several Southwest residents are involved with the organization. MetroWest resident Jane Shugart has hosted two One Purse events in her home and organized another at her church since she first became involved more than three years ago. Susan Carter, a Windermere resident and One Purse team member, said, “The more I learn about the sex-trafficking industry, the more I know the need to educate and inform … I am proud to be part of One Purse for our commitment to educate on the current dangers of trafficking and using One Purse gatherings to raise the funds for survivors to realize a beautiful future.”

Pam Gould (far left), a Southwest resident and school board member of Orange County Public Schools, leads a tour of Dr. Phillips High School for West Orange Chamber of Commerce Leadership West Orange program members (l. to r.) Luisio Garcia, Jenna Emerson, Nina Sayad, Yilda Casanova, Lee ODonnell, Jon Nobles, Jamie June, KerryAnn Farrow, Heather McClellan, Wendell Hines, Tyler Stover, Trish Eakin, Ryan Smith, Sandi Ballaron and Fran DiFede (Photo courtesy of WOCC).

West Orange Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership West Orange program 2016-17 Class, The West Orange Crushers, completed Education Day. They visited Dr. Phillips High School with Pam Gould, a Southwest resident and school board member of Orange County Public Schools, and toured Orange Technical College — Westside Campus; Valencia College’s aquaponics farm at the Roper Garden Building; and Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, a part of the School of Film and Digital Media at the University of Central Florida. WOCC builds partnerships, strong businesses and commitment to the community by serving as the leading business advocate in Central Florida, facilitating opportunity to nearly 1,000 member businesses. For more information, call 407-656-1304 or visit

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