Ethan Thompson takes the stage … and more neighborhood news!

compiled by Lauren Salinero

Bay Vista Estates

Ethan Thompson of Bay Vista Estates makes his Orlando REP debut as Elmer Hopkins in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical.

Bay Vista Estates resident Ethan Thompson is playing the role of Elmer Hopkins in Orlando Repertory Theatre in partnership with UCF’s production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical. The 11-year-old fifth-grader at St. John Vianney Catholic School began acting at a very young age. He appeared in the short film This Man’s Life and commercials for many local attractions, ESPN and the Disney Channel. He had a feature-film debut earlier this year as Jimmy in My Little Baby, but it was Disney’s Newsies the Musical that sparked his interest in theater and led to his Orlando REP debut. Ethan is grateful to God for this opportunity and thanks his parents and brother, Julian, for their love and support. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical is playing at Orlando REP through Dec. 30.

Dr. Phillips

Suzette Farquharson-Morgan, president of FarMor Entertainment and a resident of Dr. Phillips, sponsored the ninth annual Oh Give Thanks: It Is Well dinner show at the Rotary Club of West Orlando. The lineup for the evening included vocalist Stacy Wilson, poet Patricia Robinson, author and spoken word artist Angela McRae, Dr. Phillips High School senior Trenten Carson, and the group Hephzibah. As a recipient of the Rotary Club Scholarship 25 years ago from West Orange High School, Suzette is honored that her nonprofit community organization continues to serve as a beacon of light throughout Central Florida.

Keene’s Pointe

by Amy Mitchell

Sixteen candles shone brightly on a stunning six-tier butterfly cake for Keene’s Pointe resident Yasmin Clapham, as she celebrated her birthday at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. The private ceremony boasted 120 guests — the maximum capacity of the venue — and was hosted by the birthday girl’s parents, William and Thaisa Clapham.

“It was part of the special Sweet 16 tradition that honors the most influential people in Yasmin’s life,” Thaisa said.

In addition to her mom and dad, Yasmin’s list of important people included her brother, Tristan; nanny, Nana Angela; and grandmother, Regina Pereira, along with some best friends — Carol Braga, Amanda Freeman, Nicole Gegg, Teresa Leone, Raphaella Nunes and Nina Urban — who were
chosen to be in Yasmin’s court.

The cake, made by Angelica Hubner, wasn’t the only thing adorned in a butterfly theme. Servers had on pink butterfly bow ties, and there was a butterfly-papered wish tree, pink flowers with delicate silver butterflies on top, a special pink drink called the “Butterfly Kiss” with a laser-cut butterfly, and a butterfly with Yasmin’s name on its wings to signify her blossoming.

“The butterfly was chosen to symbolize transformation and this rite of passage,” Thaisa said. “Attention to details were in each corner.”

The guests wore white for purity while the birthday girl was the only one dressed in nude for her first dress and pink for her second dress, making her easy to spot.

Yasmin, accompanied by Tristan, made a grand entrance and was greeted with indoor fireworks and confetti. Everyone oohed and aahed at this big moment, followed by bubbles at the happy birthday time and a girls court dance — performed by Yasmin’s honorary guests and choreographed by DGBEK Studios.

Everything was exquisite. The elegance of resort’s restaurant, with its rows of crystal chandeliers and the inviting outdoors, also contributed to the grandiose event. The fancy venue boasted an open bar for the adults and a buffet served for everyone’s tastes.

“It was an unforgettable evening,” said Keene’s Pointe resident Stella Freeman.

Other Keene’s Pointe residents, who were lucky enough to celebrate with the Claphams, included Leticia Braga, Daniela Campos, Patricia Cardoso, Ira Frota, Karla Gegg, Tania Mitropoulos, Paula Pinto, Debora Sinelli and Ana Teixeira. The party favors came in a beautiful silver box that contained a butterfly rhinestone hairpiece for the ladies. At the end of the night, Yasmin’s friends surprised her with a special birthday video prepared by her best friend, Carol Braga.

Yasmin, may the 16th year of your life bring you the courage to soar as high as a butterfly and to spread your wings. May you also have the strength to
accomplish anything. Happy Sweet 16!


The city of Ocoee saluted veterans during its annual Veterans Day Ceremony held at Bill Breeze Park. The event honored veterans for their patriotism, love of country and commitment to service and sacrifice. Ocoee resident Norb Weller was the keynote speaker. He served in the U.S. Army from Jan. 25, 1967, to Dec. 9, 1969. After being honorably discharged as a first lieutenant, he served in the Army Reserves from Dec. 10, 1969, to Jan. 24, 1973. In 1968, Norb served a one-year tour of duty in the Vietnam War. He received several awards, including the Combat Infantryman Badge, Gallantry Cross with Bronze Star, Gallantry Cross with Palm Unit Citation, and the Vietnam Service Medal with four Bronze Stars. The Veterans Day Ceremony also included singing, music and flag presentations by the Ocoee Fire Department Honor Guard. Chloe Rogenus, a senior at Ocoee High School, sang the National Anthem, and the Ocoee Middle School band played Marches of the Armed Forces and An American Hymn.


Turnburry residents gather for a potluck block party.

The community of Turnburry hosted a potluck block party for residents. Beautiful weather, a great turnout, delicious food and good fellowship helped to make the neighbors’ time together a huge success, and the event was a great way to meet new residents. There were also games for the children and door prizes for the winners. Small flags were given to everyone as a present for Veterans Day. The residents extend a special thank-you to resident Paul McGarigal for hosting the event in his yard.


Ronald Ziolkowski, aka Ron the Realtor, of Windermere is the top producer year-to-date for Re/Max Properties S.W. Inc. for August.

Windermere resident Ronald Ziolkowski, aka Ron the Realtor, of Re/Max Properties S.W. Inc. was named the No. 1 Re/Max Realtor in the state for August. Ron was the top producer in residential sales

Et Al

(L. to r.) Kitty Mark of Park Springs, Ivey Geisler of Sandpointe, Kerry Hall of Windward Cay, Brittney Harris, Elizabeth Munoz-Ortiz and Averie Garcia attend St. Luke’s United Methodist Church’s Trunks, Treats and More.

St. Luke’s United Methodist Church held its Trunks, Treats and More, during which between 800 to 1,000 children came out to decorate trunks and collect candy. The family-friendly event included food, entertainment, a costume contest for kids, carnival-style and blowup games, a mechanical bull and more. Trunk-or-treaters were also encouraged to bring canned goods to help Florida families have a happy Thanksgiving.

Wendy Oliver (far right), director of grants at Dr. Phillips Charities, gives a tour and presentation to Girl Scout Brownie troops 4573 and 816.

Girl Scout Brownie troops 4573 and 816 received an opportunity to learn about philanthropy from Dr. Phillips Charities, earning the Philanthropy Badge for each girl. The group was given an informative tour and presentation by Wendy Oliver, director of grants; learned about the organization’s philanthropic presence in the Central Florida community; and were inspired to give back to the community.

Art Brown (center) of the Rotary Club of Dr. Phillips moderates the Fire Side chat for new members with Tim Lambert and Jackie Buzzotto.

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