Palmer Secret est W n i s n Locatio vealed! e Palm R
Exclusive Whatâ€™s it like to live in West Palm?
Interview with Karen Whetsell Principle of Boynton Beach High School
Questions answered on Pg. 4!
An Unknown Paradise
By: Shane Henrion Wes Palm Beach West Palm Beach may not be a location in Florida that is known by everyone like Miami or Orlando, but West Palm is just as vibrant and large as those cities. Most importantly though, West Palm holds a special place in my heart, as it has been the only home I’ve known. * West Palm Beach has a long history dating back to the late 1870’s when the area was first settled after the Seminole Wars. What is interesting about this is that even though the area served possibly as a battlefield, there is no monument or plague that commemorates the events or lists the day the city was founded. I guess since most people would not care anyways, the city just ignored the fact that they have an fascinating past. Since the success of the first people that settled in the area, West Palm consistently saw an increase in population and the city grew rapidly with many new businesses that entered the area. The baby boom played a significant role in the growth of the city as West Palm’s population quadrupled during the 1950’s which made it one of the largest cities from population in Florida during the time. Unfortunately, the people from the baby boom generation are now elderly, and at times feel like they own the city to themselves. I respect my elders, and of course I love my grandparents, but it can be frustrating when driving behind them and they are going ten miles under the speed limit with their right blinker on. Every year the city grows in both size and population, which is a sign that my hometown is not slowing down, but it does eventually mean more crowded roads! * West Palm is located right on the Atlantic Ocean which is the reason why the city has adopted the scenery and aspects of a beachfront property along with a major metropolis city. Combining both styles gives the city a complete composition of two ways of life. This was achieved by the layout of the city. The downtown area consists of larger buildings and skyscrapers that are typical of a big city feel, but it all is on the water. The rest of the city is located east of downtown where you would think your outside city limits in a suburban residency. *
Top: City Place District Bottom: View of Downtown West Palm and surronding area.
Tourism serves as a major portion of the economy in West Palm Beach and there is many different shops and places located in the city that provide great vacations spots. There is a mini district in northern West Palm called City Place, and this is just an entertainment district where you can find assorted restaurants, bars, and shopping stores. I have been to City Place countless times and even though I am not of legal age to drink at the bars, I still always have a good time. I’ve gone there casually to the movies and also for dinner dates, and so far, I have never once been disappointed. Another awesome activity to attend is an annual music festival called SunFest. This is basically a large party that thousands of people come together to shop at vendors and listen to some great music. I have attended SunFest for the past six years and every year it seems like it becomes the best weekend of my life. SunFest is more directly towards residents in the area because it only lasts four days, but from my judgment, it would make for a terrific vacation.
West Palm may seem just like any other large city on the water, and that’s actually a thought I used to have. You could ask any teenager, including myself, what they thought about the city and you would get the same response over and over again about how there is absolutely nothing to do and this place is extremely boring. Though, as we grew older, mainly when we all started to begin driving, all of us kids began to have and share experiences that changed our mindset about the place we called home. You don’t truly know what it is like to live in West Palm until you have seen the sun creep over the ocean horizon early in the morning while you are siting on the beach, or watch the moon reflect of the water late at night, or experience the vibrant nightlife of the downtown area on a weekend night. Once I began exploring the city on my own or with my friends, I began to realize that West Palm is not at all boring in any way, in fact it is where I have had some of my most memorable moments.
The northerners, or “Snowbirds”, what us locals refer them as, are the downfall of people coming to West Palm for a visit. That is the problem though, these “Snowbirds” don’t stay for a week or two, they come in late September or early October and do not leave until mid-April. “Snowbirds” are the stereotypical elderly or early retired people that have two homes, one somewhere in the northern part of the country, or Canada, and one down in south Florida. Once the first glimpse of cold weather hits the northern part of the country, they all migrate down and proceed to invade and take over everywhere they stay. While it does provide a good source of income to local businesses, dealing with the northerners can be very frustrating at times because they expect to be waited on hand and foot and are not very appreciative. Not to mention that they also do not possess good driving skills. Not all northerners are like this, some are very pleasant people, but majority of the group represent the bad stereotype that upholds their name.
I’ve talked about the areas of West Palm that are known by everyone that visits the city, but it’s the areas that only locals know about that provide good, cheerful times. Peanut Island is a small peanut shaped island (how it got its name) south of West Palm. It once was a bomb shelter for President John. F. Kennedy during the height of the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis but know provides as a small retreat for locals to dock their boat and party. A large prairie is located just west of the West Palm area and is a great retreat to get away from any worries and just have a good time. One of my personal favorites is a sunken ship just off the coast of Hammock Beach. The story of this ship is that is was sunk during heavy storms. The wreckage provides a very interesting and fascinating place to swim down to but you have to look out for sharks in the area. Another popular underwater artifact is a statue of Jesus Christ. You can ask anyone that knows about the statue the same question of how it got down on the ocean floor, yet not one person knows the answer, which leaves it open for you to make up your own story about what happened.
* A common saying in West Palm is “If you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes”. This may seem like a ridiculous statement but it is completely true. It may be exaggerated, but the weather does change very frequently and I have seen it change multiple times in one day. You could have morning breakfast outside bright and early with the bluest skies, and then by noon, there is a torrential downpour, only then to have dinner on the water later that day. And in the summer months, just add a couple more showers per day! *
* I may not be who I am today if I grew up in a different city other than West Palm. Now I’m not talking about another beachside city but one that is different. I have learned over the years that I love being outdoors and hate being stuck inside. I love the beach and being on the water. Most importantly though, if I didn’t grow up in West Palm, I don’t know if I would be playing golf which is my passion. There is about 10 courses that are within 10 minutes from my house and having the opportunity to learn and play the game has
greatly shaped who I am as a person. I played golf throughout high school and now I am playing in college and it has become my life and will also become my career. Living in West Palm has shaped my personality and my interests in a very large way, and I’m glad that I have lived there for the first 18 years of my life. * West Palm Beach may not be labeled as a paradise, yet you can always find locals saying that “We live where you vacation” which is true in many aspects, or at least I think it is.
Interview with Alexa Henrion Alexa Henrion is my sister and is a young student at Florida State University learning to become an inspiring anchor in the field of reporting and broadcasting. She was born and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida and has spent the first eighteen years of her life experiencing and exploring the city. She has enormous amounts of energy and always is excited and optimistic to try something new. Given her open personality, this allowed her to explore West Palm Beach while she was a teenager. Now Alexa is twenty-one years old and living in Tallahassee while going to school at FSU. While she has not lived in West Palm for some time now, she still visits her family whenever on leave or break from school. Her thoughts about West Palm Beach come from her memories of how she experienced the city and how she felt about living there during the best years of her life. Where were you born and where did you grow up as a child? I grew up in West Palm Beach, FL and I lived there my whole life until I turned 18 and moved to Tallahassee, FL to attend Florida State University. I still come home to West Palm whenever I get a chance to see my family and friends. Which area do you like better: West Palm Beach or Tallahassee? I certainly love Tallahassee because I have lived here for the past four years and going to school at Florida State was my dream, but overall, West Palm Beach because it’s the area I grew up in and it is right on the water, which is one of the aspects I miss. Do you miss West Palm Beach? Absolutely. It was my hometown and I could never replace it. I don’t miss it every day and I normally do not think about West Palm but once in a while. Although, when I do think about it, I come across so many memories of great times that I do get a little homesick. I am grateful that I have learned to love Tallahassee and that has helped me not miss West Palm too much, or at least think about missing it. What do you miss about West Palm the most? The beach is what I miss the most. The reservation off campus here is great to go to and I have had good times there, but you can’t replace going to the beach and laying on the sand and tasting the salty sea air. That’s why whenever I do go back to West Palm, I spend more than half of my time there at the beach and stay as long as I can. I also sometimes miss how open the area of West Palm is. And when I mean open, I mean like the roads are wide and everything is just a little bit more spread out then compared to Tallahassee. Of course, West Palm is a much younger city then Tallahassee and there is way more room to space everything out. When you graduate Florida State, will you move back to West Palm? Will you stay in Tallahassee? Or will you go someplace new? When I do graduate this year, I actually have plans to move to
Orlando, FL. I love West Palm and Tallahassee but being a communications and broadcasting major, neither of those places are perfect for what I want to do, which is sports broadcasting. Right now I have an internship later this year with the Golf Channel in Orlando and I hope that is a good start to put me on my path of being on ESPN as a broadcaster. Interview with Linda Henrion Linda Henrion is my loving mother and a dedicated worker. She moved to West Palm Beach from Los Angeles when she was just a child and has never moved again, spending the last forty-four years living in the Sunshine State. Like my sister Alexa, my mom got to spend her teenage years and then her adulthood going to the relaxing or fun parts of the city. After my mom and dad got married and had my sister and myself, they stayed in West Palm because they knew it was a safe environment to start a family in and that there would be plenty of opportunities for us kids to grow up and have wonderful childhoods and early adulthoods. My mother’s thoughts about West Palm direct from her being a mother, and knowing what is best for a family. How long have you lived in West Palm Beach, and when did you move here? I moved to West Palm Beach when I was eight years old from Los Angles, California because of a job transfer for my dad. I have not moved since which makes it 44 years I have been living in West Palm. Can you remember living in California? And so, do you like West Palm better or not? I do remember my house and area I lived in which was just outside LA. For the city and downtown, I do not remember too much because I only went into the city once in a while and it is such a massive city that everything looked different each time I went. The area I lived in was a nice suburban area, but I certainly enjoy West Palm much better, maybe because I have been here longer, but I also enjoy living in Florida rather than California. West Palm is a much less crowded area then LA and a better area in terms of crime and health. Do you consider West Palm Beach your hometown or not? I do. I have spent so many years living there and I couldn’t imagine a scenario in which I would call any other place home. It technically isn’t the place I was born, but throughout the years, the city and the people have treated me like a local and made it seem like I truly was born here. Will you ever move away from West Palm? That’s a hard question to answer. I love this city and the times I spent here and most likely I will stay in West Palm
for the rest of my life. Come retirement time, the weather is always warm and nice and moving to a different location would just mean I would feel out of place for who knows how long. But I cannot guarantee that I will ever move because I don’t know what the future holds in store. What does West Palm Beach mean to you? West Palm is the place I spent the second half of my childhood and adult life so it represents home. I got married in West Palm and started my family here so it contains practically my whole life and everything I care about and love. I work here and mainly enjoy life here and would not trade it for any other place on the planet. Interview with Karen Whetsell Karen Whetsell is the principle of Boynton Beach High School in Boynton Beach FL, which is basically a part of West Palm Beach, and is also my neighbor. Karen grew up in the surrounding cities of West Palm, including Delray Beach and Boynton Beach, before living in West Palm. She has spent her entire life in South Florida and went to school at the University of Florida. She is also a dedicated mother and worker and strives to provide the best for not only her family, but all of her high school students who she wants to see succeed. Though Karen has never lived in any other state, she has traveled to many different states and also different countries, so she has seen many ways of living and standards for foreign cities. Karen still believes West Palm is the perfect place to live for a family or even a single person as the city offers great excitement and peaceful tranquilities. Her thoughts about West Palm direct from her being a mother and knowing what is best for young minds, as she is around them every day. Have you lived in West Palm Beach your whole life? I have not lived specifically in West Palm Beach my whole life, but I grew up in the surrounding areas of Delray Beach and Boynton Beach so I have been in South Florida my whole life. Though, all the surrounding cities are so close to West Palm that it feels like you’re in West Palm anyways. Do you like living in West Palm Beach? I absolutely without a question think it is paradise. I love living and working in West Palm. I am the principle of Boynton Beach High School and influencing young minds and helping them reach their goals is what I describe as the perfect job. And since I love the ocean and boating life, being on the water is just the perfect addition to an already great city. Every city has its downfalls and issues, but West Palm just offers and brings enough good to overcome the short comings. What is the ideal spot to experience West Palm Beach? To get a feeling of West Palm, you have to wake up early and see the sun rise while you are sitting on the beach and then you
have to eat at the Old Key Lime House on the water. There is way more you have to actually do to get a sense of life in West Palm, but those two are a great example or start. Would you ever move to a location? Even if it is also on the water? I would never move and would never even consider moving. I love everything about West Palm and what I do and the community truly makes you feel like your home. I will stay in West Palm until I die. That doesn’t mean I would never vacation to exotic locations. I plan on doing a lot of travel to foreign places, especially in the Caribbean, when I retire. I would still never move away. Being how you feel about West Palm, do you encourage people to move to West Palm? West Palm is a beautiful area and I would encourage people to move here so they can share the same great times I have been fortunate to have and learn to love the city. Although, not too many people because the area gets tourism each year and traffic does not need to get any worse than it already is!
"Golf is not, on the whole, a game for realists. By its exactitude's of measurements, it invites the attention of perfectionists." -Heywood Hale Broun My dad and grandpa stood beside a brand new set of golf clubs in my living room with enormous grins. Since quitting baseball both had been pushing to me to pick up golf and the time finally felt right. One driver, one putter, two woods, four wedges and six irons all sparkling at me under the lights. I jumped into a sport I knew nothing about and became consumed with perfecting my game. That first set of clubs set me on the right path to finding my passion in life early. That moment will be forever in my memories. Eight years passed and I have learned to love the game of golf since that time. The opportunities golf has given me is why I am here today. From my first junior tournament, four years of varsity high school golf and now college golf this game of frustration has opened so many doors and will continue to do so. My greatest experience comes from a golf trip. Last year, I qualified for the Southeastern Amateur Golf Tournament. This was a huge opportunity for myself as I was going to be competing against the best amateur golfers on the eastern seaboard. What this truly meant to me is that all my hard work of endlessly practicing and striving to perfect my game had finally paid off, and I was recognized for it. Six in the morning, my alarm goes off echoing throughout the house, but I was not asleep as the day to leave for my tournament had finally arrived. Bags packed, my father, myself, and my best friend who was my caddie for the tournament, set off for Palm Beach International Airport to catch our eight-thirty flight going to Atlanta, Georgia. During the flight, it seemed like all I did was look out the window, contemplating on how this was really happening and the next stage of my golfing career was taking place as I was going to participate in my first major amateur tournament. The plane ride went smoothly and we arrived on time into Atlanta. We also had good luck as the airline did not lose our bags, or even more importantly my clubs. From the airport the three of us were picked up by my uncle, who lives just about an hour north of Atlanta, and took us to our hotel in Columbus, GA, which was the actual location of the tournament. The hotel was a large Resort Marriott with glittering windows from the sun, but at the time I could have cared less of where I was staying because all that was on my mind was the next week of golf. Three days before hand to check in and then two days of practice rounds at the Country Club of Columbus before the actually four day tournament began. This was just the start of
a week of ups and downs. The first practice round I played I struggled a little playing the course but it was okay because I was just getting to know the course and find the areas where to hit to in order to stay out of trouble. I also was learning the speed of the greens so I could putt well during the tournament. This was the most pristine and picturesque course I had ever played. Every single fairway was luscious green and did not have any dead burnt spots. There were many different types of trees and bushes, and they all combined to form a colorful composition. Day two of practice rounds and that love I had for the course because of the perfect conditions, had disappeared. I played worse than the previous day, and since I couldn’t tell myself it wasn’t my first time playing the course, I let frustration take over and get into my head. The whole round went bad and now I was second guessing my game. I started to get worried about the next day and how I was going to play horrible and the trip was for nothing. My friend Garett did help calm me down at the end of the round and give me feedback on what to work on with my swing for tomorrow. I went to the range to get in a little extra practice session before I went back to the hotel. That night, the country club held an amazing buffet dinner for all the contestants and their guests to welcome everyone and to official open the tournament. The night before the tee off was not a great night sleep. I was nervous and anxious as I watched the clock slowly turn each minute. Six hours until tee off, five hours, four and then three. I kept thinking to myself that time was actually slowing down and that nine o’clock tee time could not come fast enough. I woke up around seven, and was just in high spirits. The day had finally come and I was feeling great and ready to tear the course up. Those high spirits slowly diminished as my tee time came closer. I was allowed access to the range to warm up before I went out and while I was hitting the ball good, my nerves got to me. My nerves would continue to get the best to me up until my tee time. The worst of it came when it was my turn and they announced my name and the crowd of what seemed like thousands clapped. It was weird, I had teed off hundreds of times before in front of people and never had I been nervous like this before. Right before I went to the tee, my dad waved from the crowd and Garett, my caddie, pulled me aside and he said “Shane, you
have done this a million times and this one is no different than from the rest”. That one line gave me all the confidence in the world. Time was up, I grabbed my driver and ripped a shot down the middle of the fairway. The crowd clapped and I said to Garett, “Thanks buddy, you just saved me from disaster”. One of the worse things any golfer can do is think about their score during their round. This can be the death of a golfer’s round. Sixty-seven, seventy-four, eighty-two, ninety-five all possible score outcomes running through your head start to control your game. “Oh I got a bogey on this hole, now I need a birdie” or “I’m even par, do not screw it up”. Even when a person says they honestly do not know their score, they are lying. That is why it is hard not to pay attention to the score and just concentrate on making the next shot. This happened to me during my first round. I had a couple bad holes during the front nine, and I started to get ahead of myself by thinking about what I had to get back to put me in a good position. At that point, I lost concentration and I was slowly losing it shot by shot. Once this happens frustration sets in, a golfer’s nemesis. Thankfully, my trusty caddie saved my again by calming me down, and I followed that up by going two under par in the next four holes I played. That put me back to three over for the day. I managed to stay there by the end of my round, and I was grateful for that because it could have been much worse. By the time all the golfers were in, I was eight shots back from the lead. My dad and friend were giving my congratulations on a good round, but I was already thinking about tomorrow and what I needed to do to get close to the leader. At that point I forgot that I figured before the tournament that there was little chance I would be close to the leader, but I figured anything could happen. Day two was much more smooth than day one and I shot under par and secured my tied for fortieth spot which was more than good enough to make the second day cut. The cut limited the size of the field from one hundred and forty down to the top seventy plus ties. Then it hit me, I finally came to the realization that I am playing against very talented players and I’m holding my own out on the course. Day three in any golf tournament is called ‘moving day’. This is because the pins on the greens are placed in tough areas, but not as bad as they will be on the last day. So day three is where people ‘move’ up the leader board in hopes to get close to the current leader and put them in a possible situation to win the tournament (or at least they try to move up). Day three was my moving day, but it was not a dramatic jump to the top of the leader board. I played
another solid round and moved slightly up, which put me tied for thirtieth. The leader now had a ten shot lead over me. Though, I was not upset because I had just put together three good rounds of golf in a row in a very difficult environment to do so. Then it came. Day four. In every golf tournament this day has a different atmosphere. The players at the top of the leader boards are very reserved and quite while players that have little or no chance of coming close to winning, are more social and excited to have got this far. I fell underneath the category of being more social and enjoying the day. At thirtieth, there was no chance for me to win, so I was just going to swing relaxed and play another day of good golf. That must have been the key to success. Half way through my last round, I went on a little run of birdies, and found myself only five shots away from the leader at one point. This time though, instead of running through scenarios in my head about any possible chance of winning, I just played on and focused on making smooth shot after smooth shot. I was coming to the close of my last round and even though a golfer should never do this, I started thinking about my score. The numbers came rushing in, this time though I didn’t let it get to my head and I finished my round strong shooting five under par. My score was not only the fifth lowest single day round at the tournament, but my personal low score also. So I was ecstatic that I ended with such a good score and that I managed to put my name out there as a good golfer. When I signed my card, I was placed tied for tenth place with two other players! I was truly proud of myself and my dad was speechless because he had never seen my play as well as I did. It was another hour or two before the final group with the leaders came in, and when I checked at the scoring table for the leaderboard, I was in astonishment. A few of the players that were placed higher than me struggled finishing their round and had slipped behind me. I had moved up to the solo sixth spot! I had just played the best round of my life and things were only getting better. The leader ended up finishing five shots ahead of me, but at that point in time, I was not upset. I had just competed with the best of amateurs and came in sixth out of one hundred and forty. Now winning would of have been a dream come true, but sixth place was a really sweet moment.