SO U T H W EST O RA N G E
Observer Windermere, Horizon West, Dr. Phillips
Program for after-school arts helps students shine. SEE PAGE 12.
YOU. YOUR NEIGHBORS. YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD.
VOLUME 5, NO. 16
THURSDAY, JANUARY 16, 2020
Sports complex proposed in Dr. Phillips
Ordinance would curb town traffic
Windermere may limit right turns onto Ridgewood Drive to fight cut-through traffic.
The Amateur Athletic Union hopes to build the complex off Fenton Street on a site originally cleared for the Orlando Volleyball Academy.
TIM FREED MANAGING EDITOR
Drivers could experience some changes regarding Ridgewood Drive to help deal with cutthrough traffic going through the town of Windermere.
DANIELLE HENDRIX ASSOCIATE EDITOR
A new Amateur Athletic Union sports complex could soon be calling Dr. Phillips home. Residents in the area met with county representatives, as well as Amateur Athletic Union President and CEO Dr. Roger Goudy, to discuss the project during a community meeting
SEE TOWN PAGE 5
YOUR TOWN LUNCHEON TO BENEFIT JULIE’S MISSION
SEE AAU PAGE 4
Best-selling author Patricia Gussin will discuss her latest nove at the Author’s Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4, at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 4851 S. Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando. The fundraiser is for Julie’s Mission, a charity that is dedicated to providing for critically ill infants and their families. The lunch is $30. For more information, call (407) 234-8471.
GROWING THE GAME
Local students’ app idea punches ticket to Nike HQ. SEE PAGE 7. PRSRT STD ECRWSS US POSTAGE PAID WINTER GARDEN, FL PERMIT NO. 81
PAGEANTRY Alyssa Racquel Hill is a professional ballroom dancer, a model and a first-time competitor in the Miss Florida pageant. SEE STORY ON PAGE 4
Windermere High School mourns death of student Principal Douglas Guthrie notified WHS families of the ‘tragic death’ of a student on Tuesday, Jan. 14. DANIELLE HENDRIX ASSOCIATE EDITOR
The Windermere High School community is grieving following the news of a student’s death the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 14. According to Orange County Public Schools, WHS Principal SEE TRAGEDY PAGE 5
THURSDAY, JANUARY 16, 2020
Out on a limb Here’s your chance to watch the nation’s best tree climbers in action. AMY QUESINBERRY COMMUNITY EDITOR
Trevor Hill has participated in several climbing competitions.
The town of Windermere and the Windermere Tree Board are gearing up for three days of environmental festivities this weekend culminating with the 16th annual Windermere Treebute. The Windermere Garden Club will hold an Arbor Day celebration and plant a tree in Town Square at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 16. Students from Windermere Union Church Preschool will sing songs and celebrate Florida’s Arbor Day. On Friday, Jan. 17, certification classes for tree climbers and arborists will be held in Windermere. Classes — such as How to Stay on Rope While Climbing, How to Hang High Lines and Hammocks in Trees, and Plant Healthcare & Disease Diagnosis — begin at 8 a.m. at Windermere Town Hall. Registration takes place before the class begins. The 16th annual Windermere Treebute will be presented by the Windermere Tree Board Saturday, Jan. 18, in Windermere Town Square. There will be a variety of trees and food for sale. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and Florida Extension office will have representatives on hand to answer questions. The Down Brothers Band will play throughout the day, Chief Todd Rowley will present a snake education program at 11, and there will be plenty of food and plants for sale throughout the day. Kids’
IF YOU GO 16TH ANNUAL WINDERMERE TREEBUTE WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18 WHERE: Main Street, downtown Windermere COST: Free
Alley will offer activities for children, including crayon rubbings, planting their own plants, and children can put on harnesses and ascend into a tree with the assistance of professional tree climbers. The highlight of the event, however, always is the international tree-climbing championship. Chris Coates leads the Legends Tree Climbing Championship, which is open to tree climbers 40 and older. Those younger than 40 who still wish to participate can help with the children’s climb. The multiple-day competition is to see who is the best climber. Trevor Hill is one of the treeclimbers participating in the competition. The Apopka resident began his arboriculture career with Davey Tree, in Maitland, in 2011. He was introduced to competitive climbing in 2015 and said it sparked a whole new interest for him. He volunteered with the children’s climb until he turned 40 — and then the competitive side of him kicked in. “I soon found out that Legends is far more than just a competition and winning,” Hill said. “It’s about the older-generation ‘Legends’ teaching and inspiring the younger generation by showcasing their knowledge and skills in the events and allowing them to judge us. … It’s about making the public more aware of
proper tree care and safety, as it always falls on the same weekend as the Windermere Treebute.” The Legends Tree Climbing Championship is free. Climbers do not have to be registered or certified to participate; however, they must be directly involved with arboriculture, whether it is actively working or just having a passion for climbing trees for recreation. “Almost everyone attending the Treebute takes a walk around to watch the competition and ask questions,” Hill said. “It’s about getting the kids into trees and loving nature with a kids’ climb that is open to the public. It’s about getting together with friends from all over the world and sharing knowledge of new techniques and equipment. Most importantly it’s about having fun — along with some bragging rights if you do win. I feel honored to be a part of such an amazing event, and we all welcome everyone.”
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SOUTHWEST ORANGE OBSERVER
THURSDAY, JANUARY 16, 2020
The longtime Windermere resident was handpicked by Walt to take several attractions to the New York World’s Fair, and he later helped bring the Disney magic to Florida. But there was more to him beyond Mickey Mouse.
Nothing mattered more to Bob Matheison than his family, including his 10 grandchildren.
Remembering Bob Matheison AMY QUESINBERRY COMMUNITY EDITOR
ob Matheison was fully present in everything he did, whether it was developing a new Disney theme park in Florida; announcing bowl games in Orlando or his children’s high school football games; raising cattle at his North Carolina ranch; or spending quality time with his wife, children and grandchildren. As friends and family shared stories of their relationships with Matheison — following his sudden death Jan. 5 at age 85 — their respect for him was consistent: he was honorable, straightforward, dedicated, a team player, the greatest man and always a gentleman. A DISNEY LEGEND
Bob Matheison was legendary with The Walt Disney World Company, long before he received the Disney Legends Award in 1996 — an honor given to employees who have made a significant impact. He left his own mark on the company during his 34 years of service, among them, helping develop Walt Disney World and creating its executive training program. Matheison started his career with The Walt Disney Company in 1960 when he was offered a position as sound coordinator at Disneyland in California. His job was to program everything that would be audible to guests. In 1965, Walt Disney personally chose Matheison to be part of the team that took It’s a Small World, Magic Skyway, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and the Carousel of Progress to the New York World’s Fair. There, he trained people how to give guest service “the Disney way,” according to Walt Disney’s wishes. It was this assignment that paved the way for Matheison’s relocation to Orlando for Disney’s next big venture, “The Florida Project.”
Bob Matheison, right, at the opening of New Orleans Square, in Disneyland Park, California, worked alongside Walt Disney.
After heading the research and development team in California for a new theme park in Orlando called Walt Disney World, Matheison and his family moved to Central Florida. During his 34 years with Disney, Matheison worked in many different departments and steadily rose through the company’s ranks. He received multiple promotions at Magic Kingdom and Epcot; in 1987, he was named executive vice president of parks for Walt Disney World. He left Disney in 1994. Guests walking along Main Street U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom also can see his name and the words “quality, integrity and dedication” stenciled on a window in an area that honors retired employees who made significant achievements during their careers. Bill “Sully” Sullivan first worked with Matheison in California during the early days of Disney. When Matheison was assigned to the World’s Fair, Sullivan was his assistant. “Bob was so honest and straightforward, and he never played favoritism,” Sullivan said. “He was just a good guy to work with, and you always knew where you stood with Bob. He was not bashful. He was always a gentleman.”
Matheison and Sullivan would continue their work relationship in Orlando at several of Disney’s theme parks. “(Bob) was there to make sure it all went right, and we trained all the people that Walt wanted trained, and we made sure that Walt’s wishes came true,” Sullivan said. “He was very close to Walt.” Both were honored with the Disney Legends Award for extraordinary contributions made to the company. The two retired on the same day in 1994. HIS GOLDEN PIPES
His booming voice would be one of the Portland, Oregon, native’s trademarks in life. After graduating from the University of Southern California in 1955 with a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications, Matheison worked as chief of the radio-television branch at the U.S. Army’s Fort Hood in Texas. His communications career included broadcasting news, sports and special events from a Dallas radio station. He served as the stadium announcer “voice” for several sports teams through the years. At Disneyland, Matheison helped produce live radio and television broadcasts.
Bob Matheison started a second career as a rancher and raised Scottish Highland cattle.
For years, Matheison was the stadium announcer at the Warrior home football games at West Orange High School, in Winter Garden. He also volunteered with Florida Citrus Sports for 30 years as the bowl game stadium announcer. Matheison served on the Florida Citrus Sports Board of Directors starting in 1983, and he became president of the organization in 1989. He also served on the Board of Trustees for the Florida Citrus Sports Foundation from 1989 until his death. Shannon Clark, chief customer officer for Florida Citrus Sports, started at the company in 1992 and became executive director of the foundation in 1997. She worked with Matheison in several capacities. “Thorough preparation was imperative in working for and with Mr. Matheison,” Clark said. “For years, he served as the emcee of our kickoff luncheons, and I remember him consistently pushing our team to get him scripts earlier and earlier each year, as he wanted to make sure he had time to review, perhaps even memorize. … He also valued a strong work ethic.” He retired his golden pipes in 2011. “Behind that huge voice was a huge heart,” Clark said. MATHEISON MOUNTAIN MANOR
The M3 Ranch, in North Carolina, gave Matheison a second opportunity to forge a successful career. After he retired, he and first wife Kathy had a mountain cabin built and he became a gentleman rancher, raising Scottish Highland cattle. Ronnie Lee, ranch manager and longtime friend, built the house, barn and other structures on the ranch and was Matheison’s righthand man, helping manage 100 head of cattle and 100 acres. “When I was building his house, he went to Scotland with his wife,” Lee said. “He saw Highland cattle and … he said, ‘OK, let’s throw some cattle out there.’ I said, ‘Bob, I don’t know the first thing about cattle.’ He said, ‘I don’t either.’” So, they learned together. The pair participated in cattle shows
in places such as Stone Mountain and Grandfather Mountain, in Georgia. “(We) used to load up for the weekend and go to the Highland Games,” Lee said. “He’d put his kilt on and go into the pen and start brushing them.” When a newborn calf needed to be bottle-fed, Lee kept it in his basement until it could return to the field. “There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for that man,” Lee said. “He was probably the greatest man I’ve ever known. … I didn’t grow up under the best of situations, and 30 years ago I met the man that I wanted to be. … I tried to model my life after him and treat people the way he treated people.” WINDERMERE LIFE
Windermere Realtor Judy Black met Matheison when she joined the Windermere Rotary Club in 1993. “Bob was a unique combination of strength and gentleness,” she said. “He cared deeply. He was (as) dedicated to his community as he was to his family and friends. He was unwavering in his high moral standards and business ethics. Bob’s boots will be hard to fill.” Black recalled Matheison’s willingness to pitch in and take care of any needs, including being on trash duty during Rotary charity events. “In his rancher attire of blue jeans, enormous belt buckle and baseball cap, he collected garbage bags, threw them over his shoulder onto his golf cart and over to the dumpster,” Black said. “He neither sought nor received recognition for his efforts. That isn’t what Bob was about. He was a team player and committed to the Rotary Club’s projects.” Their friendship grew stronger when Matheison married Black’s friend and fellow Realtor, Arra Mae. Family was everything to Matheison, and he loved spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren. All of them were together at M3 Ranch in December for what would be Matheison’s last Christmas. Matheison was preceded in death by his first wife and a daughter; he leaves behind a wife, three children and 10 grandchildren.
SOUTHWEST ORANGE OBSERVER
THURSDAY, JANUARY 16, 2020
Road to Miss Florida Alyssa Racquel Hill is the current reigning Miss Winter Springs. She hopes to take that title further by competing in the Miss Florida Pageant Jan. 16 to 19 in Coral Springs.
ERIC GUTIERREZ STAFF WRITER
f you told Windermere resident Alyssa Racquel Hill a year ago that she’d be a contestant for the Miss Florida pageant, she never would have believed it. But that’s exactly where she is today. “This is my first pageant,” Hill said. “I did dance for a long time, but I wanted to do something new and I never knew if I would be able to do pageantry. It’s not something that my body type was really good for. … When I was younger, I never was super confident that I could do something like this, and if you asked me a year ago, I would never imagine that I would be in this position.” Hill is the current Miss Winter Springs, and she’ll be competing in the Miss Florida USA pageant from Jan. 16 to 19 in Coral Springs. It’s her first time competing in the statewide pageant, which features hundreds of young women from across the state. “To enter the Miss Florida pageant, you have to have a title, and that (Miss Winter Springs title) was given to me to run for Miss Florida,” Hill said. “You have to be a title holder to compete and represent a city. I wanted to be Miss Windermere, but that was already taken and that competition was earlier (in 2019).” Individuals who are interested in competing in the Miss Florida pageant apply online to represent a city. If the individual qualifies, they are given a local title to represent a Florida city. From there, they are eligible to compete for the title of Miss Florida. Each contestant is encouraged to do work with nonprofit and charitable organizations as part of the application process. During the Miss Florida pageant itself, contestants are judged upon swimwear, evening attire and an interview process. “It’s such an honor to be
at Sand Lake Elementary Tuesday, Jan. 7. The proposed sports complex is located on 9.6 acres of land just south of Fenton Street, with the Phillips Grove neighborhood to the north. Currently, there is an existing 38,190-square-foot concrete slab on site. The site originally was cleared and partially constructed for the Orlando Volleyball Academy project in 2000. The property’s current zoning designation is Country Estate District. The applicant, project engineer John Frith, is requesting a special exception to establish an indoor recreation facility. Also requested are two variances: One would allow a building height of 39 feet rather than 35 feet, and the other would allow a rear setback for 25 feet instead of 50 feet. Goudy said the Amateur Athletic Union currently is an “anchor tenant” for the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort and has been there for 20 years. However, the Amateur Athletic Union is looking to
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accepted into the pageant because thousands and thousands of girls apply to be part of it and they only accept a little over 200 — and that’s including Miss Florida and Miss (Florida) Teen USA,” Hill said. “If you win Miss Florida, then you go on to Miss USA and then, hopefully, Miss Universe.” A Windermere native, Hill, 21, is an alumna of Dr. Phillips High School and an honors graduate from Valencia College. She’s also a renowned and talented professional ballroom dancer and was a graduate of the dance magnet program at Dr. Phillips High. In fact, she works with a nonprofit called USA Dance, which is a program that works with children with special needs. “I volunteer with special-needs children and we teach them how to ballroom dance and to put on shows to help break the stereotype … you can still pursue your dream and dance,” Hill said. The path to pageantry is something Hill discovered through the modeling company Mac Duggal, where she worked as a plus-sized model. Many of her fellow models
were beauty pageant title holders, and it inspired her to pursue pageantry. She first got into modeling during the summer of 2019, and she eventually looked into entering the Miss Florida pageant soon thereafter. Before getting into modeling, Hill didn’t really think about — or even consider — entering the pageant. Initially, she didn’t think entering the Miss Florida pageant would be an option for her due to her body type. “In the beginning of this process … I didn’t have the best, healthiest lifestyle,” Hill said. “I was a dancer, but I had weighed 180 pounds. I was able to exercise and (begin) a healthier lifestyle. I knew I wanted to make a change and I wanted ... to be happier and I was able to get my weight down to 150. “I was told in order for me to be successful in this pageant that I had to weigh 125 and no more, and I’m 5 (foot) 9 (inches),” Hill added. “From a girl who used to weigh 180 and was told I had to weigh no more than 125, this was a little discouraging for me but I
knew I wanted to succeed. So, I did everything I could to change my exercise plan, and I became healthier.” Although Hill initially didn’t think that entering the pageant would be an option for her, she eventually decided to just go for it. In the process of making the lifestyle changes to become healthier, she gained a little more confidence in herself. After gaining that confidence, she threw her hat into the ring and entered the pageant. Throughout that journey, she learned some lessons about body positivity along the way. “I realized there’s such a stereotype that girls have to have a perfect body or perfect look to be happy and accepted and to compete in a beauty pageant,” Hill said. “But, we’re all beautiful and we can all be successful at whatever we are. You don’t have to be a number — specific number — to pursue your dreams and be successful. This is when I looked in a mirror and said, ‘I am beautiful and I am happy and I am healthy. I don’t have to be 125.’”
AAU proposes indoor recreation facility CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
expand its footprint in the Orlando area. “The purpose of the facility here, we bought it because it’s been sitting there for 20-plus years and they needed a not-for-profit to either buy it or use it,” Goudy said. “They were going to use it as a volleyball club, but they found a new location and went to that location and didn’t use it. Our purposes are a little bit different.” According to its website, the Amateur Athletic Union was established in 1888 and is one of the largest nonprofit, volunteerbased, multi-sport event organizations in the world. It was founded to establish standards and uniformity in amateur sport. “The AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs,” its website states. “The AAU philosophy of ‘Sports For All, Forever’ is now shared by nearly 700,000 members and 150,000 volunteers across 41 sports programs and 55 U.S. districts.” The proposed sports complex comprises 59,671 square feet, with a 3,250-square-foot security resi-
dence also on site. It would include four basketball courts, which can easily be converted back and forth to pickle ball courts or eight volleyball courts. All sports offered at the complex, from basketball and volleyball to pickle ball and table tennis, would take place indoors. The planned building layout also includes shared open space, restrooms, classrooms/playrooms and offices. According to county documents, there would be 221 parking spaces available. According to the project’s architects, the building will essentially be about one basketball court wider than the originally planned structure. Drivers would access the site through an entry road that comes off the end of Fenton Road. A retention pond behind the building backs up to the wetlands. Goudy said the facility won’t be large enough to host big tournaments and wouldn’t drive large numbers. However, it would be enough to host clinics, camps, practices and small tournaments. “We want to do things and use this for clinics and camps and have kids come in for training and practices, maybe, and some over-
flow activities for some different events we would run at ESPN,” Goudy said. “We would want to put between 16 and 20 of our sports staff over there so we could be neighborhood user friendly. … We want to be part of the community, we want to stay here for a long time.” The requests for a special exception and both variances will go to the Board of Zoning Adjustment Feb. 6. If the board approves them, they will go before the Board of County Commissioners Feb. 25. “All I can say as the president and CEO of the AAU is I think we do a lot of good for a lot of kids,” Goudy said. “I really do. … We’re very concerned about the development of kids. One of the problems in our society today is we’re not doing enough to keep the kids busy. “I always want to be an organization where we do more than sit there and press buttons, because I think it’s good for the kids,” he said. “I think this facility would be the perfect fit for all of the beautiful things you have going on in this area.”
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SOUTHWEST ORANGE OBSERVER
THURSDAY, JANUARY 16, 2020
Town talks traffic Town Manager Robert Smith said the town should have a new website this week. The new site is the result of a contract the town signed with Chatter Buzz in February 2019. The new website will include features such as an FAQ section and a system to report problems to town staff. Windermere Police Chief David Ogden took a moment early in the meeting to recognize and promote officers in his department. Officer John Alcalde was promoted to reserve sergeant, Student Resource Officer Carlos Hernandez was named Officer of the Year, Administrative Assistant and Admin Reserve Officer Lori Sipek was presented with the Community Service Award, and Officer Griffin Hebel was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation.
Tragedy strikes school CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Douglas Guthrie sent a voice message to Windermere High families informing them of the death. “This morning I was notified of a tragic death of one of our students,” Guthrie said in the message. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family as they go through this difficult time.” Guthrie said grief counselors are on campus in the media center for
students and staff who need to talk to someone. He added that parents might hear of the news from their children and are encouraged to openly discuss their feelings. “Students have varied reactions to death of a peer,” Guthrie said. “Any reaction is normal in the grief process, and I encourage you to openly discuss with your child their feelings and reactions. …We ask that you please respect the family’s privacy at this time.”
Mark your calendar...
Julie’s Mission Author’s Luncheon Author’s Book Signing • Raffle • Silent Auction featuring writer
Patricia Gussin New York Times & USA Today Best-Selling Author discussing her latest novel
Come Home Florida Book Award Gold MedalWinner
Tuesday, February 4, 2020 • 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. St. Luke’s United Methodist Church 4851 S. Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando
Your admission donation will benefit Julie’s Mission
RSVP: Mail your check, number of tickets ($30.00 per person), phone number and email to: Julie’s Mission Author’s Luncheon, c/o Patty Goonen, 2910 Marquesas Court, Windermere, FL 34786 Questions about the event? Contact email@example.com or 407.234.8471
Town Council members conducted a first reading on an ordinance that allows for no-rightturn signs along Sixth Avenue, placed at Ridgewood Drive and Lee Street and only in effect from 4 to 7 p.m. The ordinance is the latest move by the town to deal with cut-through traffic along Ridgewood, which handles numerous cars each day as drivers try to circumvent the backup of cars along Sixth Avenue leading up to the roundabout at Main Street. The Town Council voted down an ordinance last month that would have allowed only eastbound traffic from Lake Street to Lee Street along Ridgewood. Members expressed reservations about making the segment of Ridgewood one way, because that would cause pain for residents 24/7 to solve a four-hour issue that takes place at rush hour.
NEW TOWN WEBSITE
Julie’s Mission supports critically ill infants and their faMilies
RSVP and Attend to receive a Reduced Application fee
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
SOUTHWEST ORANGE OBSERVER
THURSDAY, JANUARY 16, 2020
Happiness is ... singing together The Horizon West Theater Company’s New Horizon Players are set to perform ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’ Jan. 16 to 18.
Because about 40 children auditioned for “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” the Horizon West Theater Company doublecast the show to showcase the local talent of the area.
ERIC GUTIERREZ STAFF WRITER
IF YOU GO
“YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN” SHOWTIMES: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, and Friday, Jan. 17; and 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18 WHERE: Cypress Center for the Arts at Windermere Preparatory School; 6189 Winter Garden Vineland Road, Windermere TICKETS: $12 for children, $22 for adults; visit horizonwest theatercompany.com
Dozens of local children auditioned for the Horizon West Theater company’s inaugural youth production, but the show itself only has a cast of six. To feature more of the young talent from Horizon West, the members of the theater company decided to double the cast size. The show’s cast members range from ages 8 to 14. “We had (more than) 40 really talented kids come out and audition, and the decision-making process was so tough that we decided to double-cast,” Depot said. Lucas Blanco, 14, a freshman at Windermere High School, will play Schroeder in Cast A of the
show. Aside from having a teacher in the fourth grade who was a big fan of Charlie Brown, Blanco hasn’t been exposed much to the popular cartoon and comic characters. He began watching some of the cartoons and even dabbled in a little method acting to help prepare himself for the role. “I go to sleep to Beethoven’s music now every day,” Blanco said of his preparation for the role. “On Thanksgiving, I watched the (Charlie Brown) Thanksgiving (episode). I watched the Christmas one halfway through, but I’ve got to finish it. “It’s a very fun (show),” Blanco said. “If you grew up with the Pea-
nuts, it’s cool to see our take on it, and it’s a fun time.” Depot said that because of the holidays, getting all the cast members together for rehearsals was a challenge. To address that, cast members were given “homework assignments” and were encouraged to rehearse and practice at home. Some of those assignments involved watching some of the Charlie Brown cartoons and different renditions of the musical on YouTube. “These kids blow me away every day,” Depot said. “Some of the talent that walked in — you just don’t expect it from kids. … They’re on a professional level.”
Lucas Blanco plays the role of Schroeder in Cast A of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang are set to hit the stage this week. The Horizon West Theater Company’s New Horizon Players will be presenting its inaugural youth production, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” from Jan. 16 to 18. The show will be held at the Cypress Center for the Arts at Windermere Preparatory School; 6189 Winter Garden Vineland Road, Windermere. “It’s a classic,” Director Melissa Kratish Depot said. “It’s something that both kids and adults can identify with, and we wanted to make sure that, as part of our season, we had an opportunity to showcase some of the talented kids in the area.” The upcoming musical follows different tales of Charlie Brown and Peanuts. Themes of friendship, happiness and enjoying life as a child are apparent throughout the show. The Horizon West Theater Company’s rendition of the musical will be based on the original 1967 edition. “The show is actually made up of individual vignettes,” Depot said. “It’s not just one story that leads all the way through, but it’s scenes that actually came from the comics. It’s broken up into little, miniature stories along the way.”
JANUARY 17, 2020
Abigail Crain is a co-captain of the Windermere High girls basketball team. Page 8.
In Windermere Prep’s thrilling 73-68 win over neighboring Windermere High, sophomore shooting guard Jayden Williams exploded for 22 points — 15 of which came off of five three-pointers — during the Showdown in O-Town Saturday, Jan. 11. Teammate Fanbo Zeng added on 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals for the Lakers (12-2). The win moves the Lakers to 2-0 against the Wolverines since Windermere High’s inaugural 2017-18 season.
The Windermere Prep girls soccer team continued its dominant season Friday, Jan. 10, as the Lakers thrashed St. Edwards 8-1 to move to 8-1 on the season (now 10-1). The Lakers were led by freshman Brielyn Knowles’ hat trick and senior Megan Ikeda’s three assists.
In Foundation Academy girls soccer’s difficult 3-1 loss to Victory Christian Thursday, Jan. 9, seventh-grade goalie Avery Bangsund still showed her skills as she recorded a whopping 27 saves for the Lions. Thus far, through 11 games, Bangsund has picked up over 100 saves and has continued to be a go-to between the irons for head coach James Grosshans.
After winning the SSAC state title last year, the Lakers are making another strong run through the regular season. TROY HERRING
In Dr. Phillips girls basketball’s 5033 victory over Providence Friday, Jan. 10, Jordan Ward had a strong showing as she picked up the double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds on the night. The win pushed the Panthers to 7-11 on the season. The Panthers followed up the win with a loss against West Orange Monday, Jan. 13.
Despite CFCA basketball’s tough 81-77 loss at the hands of Wildwood Thursday, Jan. 9, senior wing Nicolas Silva continues to have a strong season as an Eagle, as he racked up 23 points in the loss. Meanwhile, teammate sophomore point guard Riley Kugel added on 21 points. Silva also scored 22 points for the Eagles in CFCA’s 86-62 win over Lakeland Christian Thursday, Jan. 9
Windermere Prep girls soccer dominates
Morgan Bridges and Olivia Ikeda will represent the Orlando Magic during the Game Growers Training Camp.
Students Olivia Ikeda and Morgan Bridges were named Nike and Orlando Magic Game Growers after creating an app to draw young girls to basketball. TROY HERRING SPORTS EDITOR
hen Windermere Prep eighth grader Olivia Ikeda and Horizon West Middle eighth grader Morgan Bridges showed up to the Orlando Magic’s game against the Chicago Bulls Monday, Dec. 23, they didn’t have a clue what was in store for them. It had been a few weeks since they had
applied to Nike’s Game Growers program, but the girls hadn’t heard anything back in a while except for the fact that they were named semifinalists. The silence was broken, however, when the duo got free tickets to go see the Magic play, and that’s where they noticed something was up. All of a sudden they were surrounded by cameras and told the good news — they had won. SEE GROWING PAGE 8
Every time the Windermere Prep girls soccer team takes to the field, it’s there to win in convincing fashion. The Lakers have had a knack for mercy ruling other teams for years now, and this year is no exception. But this year, the Lakers are dominating despite the fact that the team is young. Last season when Windermere Prep stormed its way to an SSAC state title, the Lakers had plenty of senior talent to help lead the way. Now those seven seniors — which included some of the team’s top talent — are gone, and it’s up to new players to continue the legacy that head coach Greg Stone has built. “We lost a lot of seniors last year that were starters, so we were hoping more people would come in, step up and do their job, and that’s what has happened,” junior center midfielder Isabel Teixeira said. “I think we may have four seniors and three or four juniors, so it’s really impressive how the younger players stepped up.” With a team that now has a few middle schoolers seeing some playing time, there were questions coming into the season, but there also was the chance to really surprise people, freshman center midfielder Brielyn Knowles said. “Since we’re such a young team I feel like teams don’t think we’re going to do as well because we have such young players, but I feel like we work so hard because we want to win,” Knowles said. “I feel like we all take it pretty seriously. … I think our drive to win (separates) us from other teams.” Despite early season jitters — which Knowles admitted came with losing players while also living up to high expectations — the Lakers have jumped out to a 10-1 record so far. The Lakers’ lone loss came against a talented Holy Trinity Episcopal team. For Stone, the approach to the season was different than last year, but it’s not his first rodeo when dealing with inexperience. “With the team being young, we are constantly talking about mentally preparing, focusing and a lot of things that young players — with a lack of leadership — might not exactly know how to do,” Stone said. “It’s teaching them the skills it takes to be a leader, to get mentally focused and ready to play.” Whatever Stone has said to his players, it’s working — the Lakers jumped right out of the gate with a seven-game winning streak to start the season. During that SEE WINNING PAGE 8
THURSDAY, JANUARY 16, 2020
Growing the girls game
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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7
As a co-captain on the Windermere High girls basketball team, junior point guard Abigail Crain is a leader on the court for head coach Misty Cox. Crain loves dishing the rock more than scoring, and her talent has already led to a scholarship to play basketball at Belmont Abbey in North Carolina.
When, and how, did you first get into basketball? I started playing in Upward in third grade, but I started playing really competitively in sixth and seventh grade. In sixth grade I was kind of more into soccer, but one of my teammates — Sara Pedraza — she kind of influenced me more toward the basketball side. She introduced me to her trainer and the AAU team she played for. And then I got more into basketball and played with her in seventh grade. Since then it has been my favorite sport, and I just kept playing.
SCHOOL: Windermere High GRADE: Junior AGE: 16 SPORT: Basketball POSITION: Point guard
and freaking out. We were so excited, because they won states last year, so we were like, ‘Shoot, if we can beat a team like that, we stand a chance against most teams.’ What is the hardest part about playing point guard? My favorite thing and the most difficult thing are the same thing. I’m able to control the pace of the game and the pace of my team, but at the same time, it’s difficult when the other team is trying to rush us. But I love having the ball in my hand and calling out the plays and setting everyone up. I’d rather get an assist than a bucket myself.
What has motivated you to stay in the game? I love the idea of team sports, because I’m a big team-oriented person — the relationships that I get from the sport and the friendships I’ve built with everyone on the team. And obviously, I like the sport. What has been your favorite part about playing basketball at Windermere? I love our coaching staff — they all played at the next level, so they have great experience and you’re able to ask any of them questions and they actually know what they are talking about. And our team itself — we work really well together and we have a lot of trust in (one another) because we have that out of sports bond. We trust each other on and off the court.
Does being a co-captain add any stress onto your shoulders? Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’ve been captain since freshman year. Since before I was even named, I’ve acted the same way and have brought the same energy and the same uplifting attitude to practices and games for teammates. I don’t take that title lightly. … I’m like, ‘Oh, it is my duty to do this stuff and to be a positive voice on the court and to be there for my teammates off the court.’
Is there a highlight moment for you? My favorite game would be — for this season — our win against Wekiva. We won by one or two. Right when the buzzer sounded we all rushed together, and we were all hugging (one another)
— TROY HERRING
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“When we signed up for this we thought there were going to be a ton of people, and we didn’t think it would be really easy,” said Olivia, 14. “We thought we could make the semifinals, but we didn’t think we could win. “Then we went to the game and we found out and I was just shocked — I didn’t think we had won,” she said. The new Nike’s Game Growers program is a collaboration with the NBA and WNBA to grow participation in basketball among young girls across the country. Between Friday, Oct. 18, and Friday, Nov. 15, eighth-grade girls submitted their ideas on how to grow basketball participation, and the WNBA and NBA teams would select their Game Growers teams (two girls per team) to join them in attending the Game Growers Training Camp at Nike’s World Headquarters in Oregon toward the end of this month. Once there, Olivia and Morgan will refine their ideas alongside the leagues and Nike — as well as GENYOUth. There’s an added bonus: selected teams will present their ideas at the WNBA Draft in New York City in April 2020. A FRESH IDEA
One day when Olivia and Morgan were hanging out, the two ran
across a post on Instagram about the Game Growers program. It was then and there they decided to give it a shot and told their parents after reading up on the program. After a quick brainstorming session, they landed on an idea of making an app — appropriately called MO Movement. The “MO” refers to the initials of their first names, but also stands for “Motivating Others,” Olivia said. “It’s basically a one-stop shop,” Olivia said. “Some of the features on this app would include open gym dates and times, some local camps, tryout information for AAU teams, game information and you can also develop your own avatar and unlock rewards to give you access to more features on the app.” The app — which the two hope will get up and running successfully with the help of Nike and the leagues — was the very first idea Morgan and Olivia came up with, and it makes sense to run with an app for a world of digitally astute pre-teens and teenagers, Morgan said. “We feel like that our generation is always on their phones lately,” said Morgan, 13. “We thought it would be a good idea, because most people (would rather) get apps than actually go to an open gym or go to some-
thing. They can just go on the app on their phone and do it conveniently.” Another part of developing the app was to give back to the sport Morgan and Olivia have loved for years. Both girls play on the same AAU team — Hoop Dreams Elite — which is also how the two met one another and became best friends. Meanwhile, at their respective schools, Morgan was named captain of Horizon West Middle’s first basketball team while Olivia has made a name for herself on the varsity team at Windermere Prep. It’s their passion for basketball that has kept them busy with the game for the last few years. While both hope to eventually get to the next level, they also want to change the game for the better by helping other young players like themselves. “It will mean a lot, because we’ll be able to say we changed a lot of people’s lives,” Morgan said. “We don’t really care if it’s about the money or anything, we just want girls to feel OK. A lot of girls don’t have a lot of self-confidence — a lot of girls I know are really tall, but they think it’s not OK to be tall. I want girls to know that it’s OK to be tall. “We want this to reach nationwide,” she said. “We want every girl to see this.”
Winning ways CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7
stretch, the Lakers’ defense — which had been basically depleted — recorded six shutouts, while the offense outscored opponents 37-1. That’s all thanks to several players like Knowles and sophomore midfielder Courtney Mogauro — who led the team last year in scoring. The talent has been tremendous, but it’s also helped that this year’s team is made up of easily coachable girls, Stone said. “I think it starts with practice — giving 100% and playing hard and intense in practice,” Stone said. “Then it leads to how we are doing in games — if we are behind, how are we going to react? Are we going to come back and score, or are we going to fold and give up three more goals?” The importance of practice has spread throughout the team itself — just ask Teixeira, who is hoping to play soccer at the next
Mia Williams (No. 23) celebrated with Manuela Zarrate (No. 20) after scoring a goal against Crooms Academy.
level. “Every time I go to practice, I learn more about myself and the team and soccer itself,” Teixeira said. “I’m looking to learn more and improve every day.” As it stands now, Windermere Prep has only a few games left in the regular season before the playoffs start up, where the Lakers will look to repeat as champions. But in order to do that, Stone
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knows that his Lakers will have to win as a cohesive squad. In other words, “teamwork makes the dream work,” as the saying goes. “We talk about that we are one — we are one unit playing together and if one person has a bad game, we have to pick that person up,” Stone said. “We go as our team goes. ‘Earn everything,’ to me, is the biggest thing right now and our motto of this year.”
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t was a tough night on the mat for the West Orange and Windermere High wrestling teams. Both fell in the opening round of Class 3A, District 3 duals held at Windermere Wednesday, Jan. 8. Evans and Wekiva were knocked out in the quarterfinals by Lake Brantley and Apopka, while the Warriors and Wolverines watched. In the semifinals, Apopka outlasted West Orange in a 42-33 win, while Lake Brantley came back from a 27-0 deficit to beat the Wolverines 41-39. Apopka topped Lake Brantley, claiming the district title.
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Faculty and staff support Give Kids the World
The Windermere Prep staff recently came together and volunteered their time to Give Kids the World. More than 140 faculty and staff members spent the morning at Give Kids the World helping switch seasonal decorations. What would have taken days for the Give Kids the World staff to complete was finished in a few hours and enabled the Give Kids the World staff to focus on the kids and their families. The event allowed Windermere Prep to connect with one of its service partners in a new way and provided a wonderful transition to the new year and spring semester.
Organization to honor teachers
Horizon West Middle School has partnered with Majestic International Pageant. Each month they help the school recognize a teacher of the month by providing them with a personalized glass plaque. The school is appreciative of their support in recognizing teachers. If anyone is interested in more information about the organization or becoming a partner in education, contact Kelley Bell at kelley. firstname.lastname@example.org
Planting event supports Pledge Against Bullying
THURSDAY, JANUARY 16, 2020
Windermere High School will host a sunflower garden planting event at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28, at the school’s main campus. The event is sponsored by the Interact Club of Windermere High School in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Winter Garden. The sunflower garden was approved by WHS administration and is an Interact Club general awareness spring project to support the yearlong Pledge Against Bullying campaign. Members of the Rotary Club of Winter Garden also have been invited to join the planting event at WHS.
INFLUENCER OF THE WEEK
KERRI VAN SICKLE
WINDY RIDGE K-8 SCHOOL Kerri Van Sickle is an important member of the Windy Ridge Silverhawk family. She’s valued for her passion in the programs she facilitates at the school and for her desire to help others beyond the walls of the school and within the community. She not only provides advice to students who may need support, but she also offers other school staff members an ear to listen to them.
What do you love most about your school? The wonderful diversity and sense of community. There is a beautiful spirit of caring at Windy Ridge that you sense as soon as you walk through our doors. We are a family that genuinely love and care for our students and families and each other. What’s your favorite part of your job? The great variety of programs that I implement and working with many grade levels, ages and stages. There is never a dull moment and new challenges always. I am able to watch the students progress through the grades K-8 and it is amazing to see their personal and academic growth through the years. What made you want to take on this job? I have always had a desire to make a difference in the world. I enjoy helping kids and adults to become the very best version of themselves and realize their potential.
REPORT CARD ROLE: School counselor SCHOOL: Windy Ridge K-8 School YEARS AT THE SCHOOL: 13 years at Windy Ridge, 22 years at OCPS
What motivates you and pushes you to do your best? Knowing that my actions and treatment of others have the potential to make a huge difference in a student’s life and can impact his/her future. When students become empowered and have hope and share that with me, it confirms that my efforts are worthwhile and matter. When students remind me of something I said or an activity I did with them that was meaningful and left a lasting impression, it gives me energy and courage to come back and do it all again. What’s the nicest thing a student or faculty member has done for you? Over the years I have had students and faculty be incredibly gracious so it is hard to pick one instance of kindness. What comes to mind immediately is a faculty member who wrote a song about me as a school counselor and played the guitar and sang it to me with the entire class present. What’s your favorite place to eat? I love many restaurants and try new places frequently. If I had to pick one
it would be Colorado Fondue. It is so fun to cook on the rock and it is delicious! If you could take a vacation to anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why? I would like to travel to Greece one day. It looks incredibly beautiful and the water is so peaceful and inviting. It would be interesting to experience a different culture. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why? The power to change things with a wave of a wand. Then I could fix situations and even prevent some that won’t have a good outcome. Cats, dogs or some other pet? I have two cats I inherited and two stray cats who have adopted me. They are great listeners. — ERIC GUTIERREZ
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Do you have an “unsung hero” at your school? If so, please nominate him or her for our Influencer of the Week feature. Nominations can be sent via email to email@example.com.
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Bringing hope to the Bahamas Families from The First Academy recently embarked on a mission trip to help the people of Freeport after Hurricane Dorian. TIM FREED MANAGING EDITOR
Homes damaged and left abandoned. Cars flipped over, laying in front yards. Businesses shut down. After four months, there’s still so much work to be done. That was the takeaway for families at The First Academy who traveled to the Bahamas over the Christmas break to aid those in need following the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. A group of roughly 30 students, parents and teachers traveled to Freeport to help the people of the Bahamas get back up on their feet. The trip to the islands came about when teacher Kara Pastis and The First Academy parents started talking about ways to help. “Obviously, watching all of the devastation on TV, we started talking about trying to come up with something,” parent Lisa Millar said. Pastis took it upon herself to
contact Rick Schuessler with Champs Missions — a nonprofit organization in the Bahamas focused on serving broken families and their children. Schuessler’s wife, Fran, also is a teacher at The First Academy. “Once the hurricane hit, I went right back to Rick and was like, ‘I know this is where we need to go,’” Pastis said. Rick Schuessler, who’s been doing mission work in the Bahamas for 30 years, was familiar with several organizations and people who needed help on the island. The group of families arrived Dec. 28 to help, with some staying as long as Jan. 2 to lend a hand. “It’s still so devastating to go there — there’s so much that’s still not working, not rebuilt,” Millar said. “Flying in you see blue tarps everywhere. There’s blue tarps on top of all the homes when you’re flying in.” Husbands and sons helped reroof a 4,500-square-foot facility that was being convert-
The women in the group gave buildings at the Grand Bahama Children’s Home a fresh coat of paint.
ed into a preschool. “They worked with a local pastor there — he and his wife were going to get the facility up and running as soon as they could,” Millar said. “They got a huge portion of the roof done,” she said. “Actually, the pastor said what the men did in two days would have taken three months without their help.” Meanwhile, the wives and daughters gave two of the four buildings at the Grand Bahama Children’s Home a fresh coat of paint. “I think it’s so meaningful for kids and families and adults to do things for others — it sort of changes the conversation and it gets kids thinking of what they
can do,” Pastis said. “All of our kids are wondering what they can do next.” It was an experience that students like Hadley Miller will remember for years to come. “I thought it was a really cool experience — it was really eyeopening seeing how people can be so joyful in where they live with having so little,” Miller said. “I thought it was really cool just being able to help the people there and seeing how thankful they were,” student Emma Pastis said. “It really just made me (feel) very fortunate for what I’m thankful enough to have here in Florida.” Millar, who traveled with her husband and three children, added that the trip was an amaz-
ing experience for the families that went. “It’s devastating to see it, but it was beautiful — it was an amazing, fulfilling trip,” Millar said. “When we came home, all five of us did not want to leave. We worked our tails off for two days straight. Our hearts were overflowing with emotion and gratitude toward Rick and Fran and Kara for including us in this beautiful experience. “At the end of the day, TFA and this group of families were all led by the Lord to do this,” she said. “That’s what we’re here for — to serve others.” The work done by the families ties directly in to what The First Academy tries to instill in its students, Millar said. “My husband and I have said since our children started at TFA — the most beautiful thing that we’ve watched, regardless of education and their participation in sports and all these wonderful things that every school offers, is to watch their character grow and their empathy for those around them,” Millar said. “TFA really does instill a sense of character.” Millar said that families from The First Academy hope to return to the Bahamas in May with supplies and donations for those in need. “They are so far from recovery — I think eight to 10 years from being anywhere close to where they were before,” Millar said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done over there.”
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For many students, music and performing arts are integral parts of their day-to-day studies and extracurricular activities. And for Winter Garden resident Joanna Crews, fostering and nurturing children’s passion for the arts is one of the most rewarding experiences. It’s why she founded Orlando Premier Music Instruction, her music instruction business. Crews brings music lessons to children right in their own homes, but she also branches out into offering after-school music and musical theater classes at Whispering Oak, SunRidge and Keene’s Crossing elementary schools, as well as at Horizon West Middle School. “I started the business and it was originally just an in-home music instruction, private one-on-one business,” Crews said. “I started that 20 years ago, probably a little more than that. It just grew — I was going to people’s homes, so the convenience of having someone come to your house for music lessons was a new idea.” As Orlando Premier Music Instruction grew, Crews began getting overbooked. She hired a couple of close musician friends to help her with instruction. Then she ended up teaching music in the public school system while running her business on the side. While teaching in Celebration years ago, Crews noticed a lack of after-school programs. She saw that parents were picking their children up from school and taking them elsewhere for music lessons and came up with the idea of starting group music classes. “It took off,” she said. “It was huge, it really was. We had about 100 kids in that one-hour-a-week program after school. There were so many other schools in that area that didn’t have anything like that either, so my life got a little hectic.” Eventually, she switched over to running the business full time and expanded offerings to include performing arts. She contacts various
ORLANDO PREMIER MUSIC INSTRUCTION After-school music and arts programs currently are offered at Horizon West Middle School, as well as at Keene’s Crossing, Whispering Oak and SunRidge elementary schools. From the bucket-drumming Rhythm Rage class to musical theater, offerings and registration costs vary from school to school. For more information on Orlando Premier Music Instruction and its after-school classes, visit bit.ly/2Rh0YIX.
schools to pitch Orlando Premier Music Instruction’s proposals and the types of classes it can offer, from arts to singing to instrument lessons. After-school programs at the four local schools currently include musical theater and Rhythm Rage, a high-energy bucket drumming course. “It’s kind of changed every year,” Crews said in regard to class offerings. “What we propose to the principals is guitar, group piano, group violin classes and then art. We do painting and drawing classes, we can do stop-motion LEGO animation classes. We pitch everything to the principals and ask them, ‘What would you like to see brought here?’ We let them decide. They know their community dynamic. “We have a larger array of things we could present,” she said. “It just seems like right now principals are picking up Rhythm Rage and theater. The goal was really to just kind of spread our programs around and expose as many schools as we could.” Along with Rhythm Rage, musical theater is a popular Orlando Premier Music Instruction offering. Students work toward a final production in Broadway Juniorstyle shows. Those at Whispering Oak Elementary performed “Alice in Wonderland Jr.” last year and will perform “Willy Wonka Jr.” later this year.
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Anita Holbrooks Simpson died Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019. Anita was a resident of Winter Garden and could be encountered daily as she walked her beloved Border Collie, “Scout,” through downtown Winter Garden and local dog parks. Her infectious, friendly spirit continues to affect those who know her. Anita is survived by three children, Emily Parr (Joshua) and Amy Simpson, of Orlando, and Scott Simpson, of Jacksonville; and one grandchild, Avery Parr. She is also survived by her mother, Shirley Jackson Holbrooks, of Winter Garden; sister, Laura Stinson, of West Palm
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ROBERT K. “BOB” MATHEISON 1934-2020
WEST ORANGE OBITUARIES
THURSDAY, JANUARY 16, 2020
Disney Legend, radio broadcaster, sports announcer, Highland Cattle rancher, family patriarch Bob Matheison died on Jan. 5, 2020. The cause was a sudden brain hemorrhage. Born Jan. 30, 1934, in Portland, Oregon, Bob graduated Hayward High School (1951) and University of Southern California (1955) with a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications. He married his sweetheart, Kathy Palmer Matheison, in 1956, then enlisted and served two years with the U.S. Army at Fort Hood, Texas, as the chief of the radio-television branch of the information office. Following that, he worked at radio station WFAA in Dallas, Texas, broadcasting news, sports and special events.
and, later, helped produce live radio and television broadcasts from Disneyland. In 1964, Walt Disney personally selected Bob to manage the four Disney attractions, including It’s a Small World, at the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair. In this new role, he had to work with New York personalities and train them to give guest service the Disney way. Having essentially led the Disney operation on the East Coast, Bob returned to California with key knowledge for Walt’s next big venture, “The Florida Project.” As head of the research and development team for Walt Disney World, he presented facts and recommendations to Walt about sizing, facilities, among other factors, and helped develop a 13-week executive training program for Walt Disney World. This was the forerunner of Disney’s
In 1960, Bob received a call from an old college friend, Tommy Walker, then in charge of Disneyland Entertainment, who offered him a job at Disneyland as a sound coordinator. He was in the process of doing an interview with Sen. J. William Fulbright when the call came from Walker. Bob accepted the position responsible for programming anything audible to guests, ranging from recorded music to teaching Jungle Cruise guides how to speak into their microphones. Bob then became manager of Guest Relations
current corporate training program. In 1969, Bob was named director of operations at Disneyland and, a year later, he carried the title to Florida. There, he outlined an operating plan for the new theme park. He recalled the opening of Walt Disney World on Oct. 1, 1971: “We didn’t want to open to a big crowd, so we opened after school started. The day after Thanksgiving, however, we backed traffic up almost to Orlando.” He was promoted to Vice President of Operations in 1972 and was bumped up to Vice President of the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT in 1984. Three years later, Bob was promoted to Executive Vice President of Parks, Walt Disney World. Bob never considered his contributions to be “legendary,” but instead pointed to his fellow employees. “I got to work with people who believed in loyalty, camaraderie and sticking it out through good days and bad days,” he said. “No one person could do everything by himself or herself. It was a team effort.” Bob is celebrated with a window on Main Street, U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom that reads: Community Service Recruitment Center; Bob Matheison; Quality, Integrity & Dedication. Bob Matheison retired in February 1994, after 34 years with The Walt Disney Company. He was named a Disney Legend in 1996.
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Bob pursued his love of sports announcing throughout and after his 34 years with Disney. He was the stadium announcer “voice” of the California Angels, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the USC Trojans basketball team. He called the games for West Orange High School in the 1970s and ’80s and spent 30 years volunteering his time with Florida Citrus Sports. Its bowl games were blessed with his “golden pipes” handling the public address announcing duties. “Bob has not only served as the voice of Orlando’s bowl games, but as a Past President of Florida Citrus Sports and a community leader for the past 30 years,” said FCSports CEO Steve Hogan. “He’s been an important part of what makes hosting college football bowl games a special experience for all involved.” GENTLEMAN RANCHER
In retirement, Bob and Kathy split their time between Florida and western North Carolina, where he began a second career as a gentleman rancher raising Scottish Highland cattle. The M3 Ranch grew to 100 head of cattle on 100 acres in the Smoky Mountains. He enjoyed showing his prized cows at Scottish Highland festivals throughout the country and welcomed all visitors to his mountain paradise. Nothing mattered more to Bob than the love and wellbeing of his family. Kathy, his wife of 47 years, passed away in 2004, and his daughter
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Wendy May Andrew in 2016. He was blessed to fall in love and marry a second time with Arra Mae Matheison, who shared a 50-year friendship with Bob and Kathy, as well as a lengthy Disney career. Bob and Arra Mae enjoyed 15 warm and wonderful years of travel, ranching and family growth. He is survived by Arra Mae; and his daughters, Cindy Matheison (Paul Schubert) and Molly Sidwell (Rob Sidwell); son, Rob Matheison (Sandy Matheison); son-in-law, Michael Andrew; 10 grandchildren, Jake, Nicholas, Bobby, Kirk, Xander, Reid, Palmer, Marissa, Graeme and Quinn; and Arra Mae’s children and grandchildren — who celebrated a warm and loving family Christmas with Bob at the M3 Ranch house one week before his passing. Arrangements: Private family burial service Sunday. Welcome friends and family to a Celebration of Life — TBA In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to: ECHONet.org (Wendy Andrew Memorial Fund), The Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, National Wildlife Federation or Florida Audubon Society. The family has created an email address, memories@ matheison.com, and would like folks to send any stories and thoughts that can be included in his memorial service next month.
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SOUTHWEST ORANGE OBSERVER
THURSDAY, JANUARY 16, 2020
Steppin Out! Join us for fabulously fun shopping! Featuring informal modeling & fashion show SHOP Enjoy retail therapy at its finest.
If you have a passion for fashion or just need the perfect accessory or gift, please join us for this fun fashion event. Fashions and accessories by Janet Carr of Accessories & More. All items will be available for purchase.
SIP Complimentary wine while enjoying delicious tidbits.
SUPPORT Great charities that give back to our community. WHEN: February 3, 2020 TIME: 4:00 - 7:00 Fashion Show at 5:30 WHERE: Tanner Hall (In Newton Park) 29 West Garden Ave. Winter Garden, FL 34787 PRICE: $15.00
Sponsorship Applications Now Available
Mail Checks To: Bloom & Grow 1000 W. Plant St. Winter Garden, FL 34787 Tickets available at the event
For Inquiries Call: 407.656.4796
19th Annual Windermere
UMC RUN AMONG THE LAKES
Enjoy the sounds of a Live Jazz ensemble
Experience the stunning sunset along the shore of scenic Lake Apopka
Saturday, April 4 I 5K and 10K P SIGN U ! TODAY
©2020 Universal Uclick
29 Green salsa variety 30 One opposed to a 1 Creative writing deg. Columbia publication? 4 Ramen taste 34 Hematite, for one 9 Common January 35 Explorer called “the Red” forecast 36 Prefix with god 13 Pulling device with a rope 37 “___ my pleasure!” 18 Chi-Town airport code 38 Occupies, as a rocker 19 Trash can insert 41 Flaccid 20 Walk up a mountain, say 44 Old Apple messaging app 21 Aplenty 47 Pore over a Boston 22 Supporting a New York publication? publication? 51 Barbie’s partner 25 United flight? 52 Saldana of “Guardians of 26 Attention to ___ the Galaxy” 27 About, on a memo 55 Target of a skin care 28 Locks of hair
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74 He’s engaged to J.Lo 75 “That’s untrue!” 76 Playground chute 78 H.S. stress sources 80 Put on 81 Animation frame 83 Redact parts of a Baltimore publication? 89 Wine region north of Bordeaux 91 Teri of “Tootsie” 92 Power in old Hollywood? 93 Genre from Jamaica 95 R&B singer Erykah 98 Rapper Azalea 100 ___ Mae (Whoopi’s
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By Luis Campos Celebrity Cipher cryptograms are created from quotations by famous people, past and present. Each letter in the cipher stands for another.
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01.16.20 Southwest Orange Observer