Love Doctor!

By Shania Finney

It is that time of the year again! Flowers, candy, teddy bears, hugs, and more is given out. Every year on February 14th, gifts are exchanged between loved ones and this is considered a well known day such as Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air!


The reason behind how and why Valentine’s Day was created is because of a man called Saint Valentine. Valentine was a priest who was known in the third Century in Rome and served time. During that time, the Emperor, Claudius II made a rule that men who are not married, or are in any relationship with a women, were the only people who were fit to serve in war. Valentine saw injustice in this, and decided to secretly marry young couples together anyways. Soon Valentine was discovered, and Claudius ordered for him to be put to death. There are many other murky stories to why Valentine’s was considered the iconic figure to starting Valentine’s Day, such as helping Christians escape the Roman prisons. Behind all these several reasons and stories, the main thing about them was that he was well known for being a sympathetic, heroic, romantic man. Many believe that Valentine’s Day is in remembrance of Valentine’s death and it lives on every single year on the 14th of February.

Christmas Day in Ukraine

By Valeriy Khimyuk

Many Ukrainians have a day off on Christmas Day, which celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. It is an annual public holiday across Ukraine and falls on January 7.


Christmas Day celebrates the day Jesus Christ, pictured above, was born.

Christmas for many Ukrainians is an important family holiday. When Ukraine was part of the former Soviet Union, Christmas Day was not a public holiday, but Christmas traditions were not forgotten. After Ukraine gained its independence in 1991, Christmas Day was made a public holiday. Many Ukrainian Christmas traditions are based on pre-Christian Pagan customs. The Ukrainian Christmas festive days according to the Julian calendar, start on 6 January, Christmas Eve, and end on 19 January, “Jordan” or Epiphany.

Svyatyi Mykolai (Saint Nicholas) – Ukrainian Santa Claus?

The image of Svyatyi Mykolai as a person who brings the Christmas gifts for children, the feast of which is marked on 19 December. It is supposed, that children should find their Christmas gifts under their pillow on that morning.

Holy Evening – time for family celebrating.

Sviata Vecherya or “Holy Supper” is the central tradition of the Christmas Eve celebrations in Ukrainian homes. The dinner table sometimes has a few wisps of hay on the embroidered table cloth as a reminder of the manger in Bethlehem.

Kutia (sweet grain pudding) is traditionally served at the Ukrainian Christmas dinner table. It is often the first dish in the traditional twelve-dish Christmas Eve supper and is rarely served at other times of the year.


Koliadky (Caroling)

At the end of the Sviata Vechera the family often sings Ukrainian Christmas carols. In many communities the ancient Ukrainian tradition of caroling is carried on by groups of young people and members of organizations and churches calling at homes and collecting donations. The Ukrainian song “Shchedryk” became the basis for the world famous Christmas Carol, “Carol of the Bells”.  Another well-known carol is Boh predvičnyj narodivsja.

Didukh (Grandfather)

When the children see the first star in the eastern evening sky, the Sviata Vecherya may begin. In farming communities, the head of the household now brings in a sheaf of wheat called the didukh which represents the importance of the ancient and rich wheat crops of Ukraine, the staff of life through the centuries. Didukh means literally “grandfather spirit” so it symbolizes the family’s ancestors. In city homes a few stalks of golden wheat in a vase are often used to decorate the table.

Christmas Day is a public holiday across Ukraine, so many businesses, schools, universities and public offices are closed.

Many Orthodox Christian churches in Ukraine observe the Christmas Day date from the Julian calendar, which is different from the more commonly used Georgian calendar. So, while Christmas is still on December 25 in the Julian calendar, it appears on January 7 in the Gregorian calendar, up until 2100. After that, the Gregorian date for Orthodox Christmas will be January 8 in 2101.

My family also has it’s own traditions for Christmas, and this time of the year is my favourite time, because all our family gather together. I like the atmosphere of Christmas, and I will miss my family at this year’s’ Christmas.   

Best Christmas Memory


By Jordan Price & Mariza Murrietta

Christmas is a holiday of joy and happiness which creates many great memories!We asked six people what their best Christmas memory was! We hope to get some interesting stories!

Dylan Mills

Q: What was your best Christmas memory?

A: “ My most memorable Christmas was when my brother got a hover board and all the family thought it would be fun to ride, later my Dad found out it wasn’t so fun… He hopped on it and ran right into the the Christmas tree, knocked it over, and broke many ornaments!”


Lauren Little

Q: What was your best Christmas memory?

A: “The greatest Christmas was when Trinity, Julian, my brother, my parents and I went to the Christmas tree farm and my brother sang Glamorous and danced with the trees.”


Julian Duran

Q: What was your best Christmas memory?

A: “One year I went up to the snow with my dad, and we filled the bed of his truck with snow. We came back to town and made a big snowman in our front yard. Ten of our neighbors came to take a picture with it.”


Genesis Gonzalez

Q: What was your best Christmas memory?

A: “When I went to decorate my house; I went on top of the roof to fix the Christmas lights and my dad scared me in a Santa Claus suit! It had frightened me so much that I fell off the roof!”


Zadie Barns

Q: What was your best Christmas memory?

A: “I was forced to go Christmas caroling with my family, and ending up being the only person getting chased by three dogs.”


Jessica Sandoval

Q: What was your best Christmas memory?

A: “ I thought I was getting a puppy for Christmas, but when I opened it, there was a rat instead. I was very scared and did not know what to do!”


It’s now the season of Christmas, and I am sure that many people will make many memories with family and friends!

Christmas Spirit on the Rise

By: Misty and Robby Stevenson

For the third year in a row, Woodlake has held their Christmas Parade and Santa Workshop. Due to inclimate weather, the Santa Workshop was moved to before the parade and was held from 4-6:30 pm on Saturday at the new Plaza. The Santa Workshop gave children the opportunity to meet Santa and receive gifts. After Santa’s Workshop, the Christmas Parade was held from 6:30- 7:30 pm. The parade was held down Main Street and drew a huge crowd from Woodlake and other surrounding cities. Every year the parade has grown and the crowd has gotten bigger, which is great for the community of Woodlake. This year’s parade was bigger and better than ever!  The floats were decorated with Christmas lights, and were full of spirit. Entries for the parade were from all over the Central Valley. Overall, the turnout for the parade and workshop was a great success, and we cannot wait to see how the parade grows in the future.

Toys for Joy

By: Juan Sandoval & Isaiah Maldonado

toy-drive-page-bannerEvery year, there are children all around the country that do not get to experience the feeling of opening a new Christmas present. Here in Woodlake, this problem is not rare and many kids do not receive a gift for Christmas. There are many families that cannot afford giving the memory of opening a new present under the tree on Christmas morning. No child should have a recollection of not opening a gift on Christmas for it is a memory that everyone should experience at least once.

This is where the Annual Toy Drive comes in to help these kids receive a toy that will make their Christmas one to remember. Every year, around Christmas time, the community comes together to donate toys and money for the toy drive. Mr. Gonzalez takes part in this process by helping organizing ¨Toys For Joy¨:  ¨We raise money by personal donations from people and service clubs, and also run fundraisers like dinners to raise money for the Toy

Drive. Checks can be made out to “Kiwanis Club of Woodlake-Toys for Joy”. If you want to help your community, the toy drive will be the way to go. Gifts are needed for kids ranging from infants to 18 year olds (as long as they are in school).

Toys For Joy helps around 150 families and 500 children in Woodlake. Listen to the morning announcements for opportunities of donating gifts for the Toy


Christmas Around the World

Christmas, a time in the year where children await the famous Saint Noel (Santa), elders decorate their houses, and people purchase Evergreen trees in their homes to have a place to set gifts.

Surprisingly, Christmas trees were not always here. In 1848, the first American newspaper had a picture of a Christmas tree, the custom spread to every home within a couple of years. Many other countries celebrate their own type of Christmas. Sweden’s form of Christmas is called God Jul. They honor St. Lucia (the saint of the blind) every year on December 13. Each year, one girl is chosen to be ‘’ National Lucia “ and she is honored in a parade where she is surrounded by torchbearers.

Christmas in the valley usually means cold weather, unlike Australia’s. Their Christmas is very different than the rest. It is very hot, especially since it can be up to 100 degrees. Going to the beach and having BBQs are very common.

A very common American Christmas includes eggnog. Eggnog came from the U.S in Jamestown. It consists of different spices and of course rum. The word egg nog comes from the word grog, which means any drink made with rum. Another American tradition would be mistletoe. Mistletoe dates all the way back to thousands of years ago. The Greeks used it as a cure for cramps and spleen disorder.The plant’s romantic overtone started with the Celtic Druids of the 1st century A.D. because mistletoe would blossom during the frozen winter. The Druids came to view it as a sacred symbol of vivacity and they administered it to humans.

All around the world people celebrate Christmas traditions very differently than what the United States are used to. Christmas is not about opening presents, but so much more. Now let’s bust out those evergreen trees and decorate!downloaddownload4619169693

Throwback to Thanksgiving

By: Shania Finney

Thanksgiving is near! Turkeys are being prepared, pumpkin pies are being made, and families from all over are joining together for a meal that will bring back memories. Looking back in time though, how did it all start?  Is Thanksgiving what most people think it is today, or has it evolved into a different tradition than before?

the_first_thanksgiving_cph-3g04961It all started to make its way on September 6, 1620, when Plymouth, England colonists left England on the Mayflower ship. The colonists, also known as the Pilgrims, were looking for a new home, where they could peacefully practice their faith and religion. They were not just looking for a new home however, they were looking for what was known as the new world. After a long and harsh voyage, the 102 Pilgrim passengers found land in Massachusetts, signed the Mayflower Compact (America’s first document to introduce self-government) at Plymouth Rock, and began building shelters towards a new home.

Unfortunately, the Pilgrims were not prepared for the winter that came, and starvation and sickness appeared quickly. Luckily for them, a group of Wampanoag indians appeared and assisted the colonists. The indians taught them how to harvests, catch, and fend for themselves in time of food. The next summer, a great harvest was made and a three day feast was declared. So on December 13, 1621, Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag indians gathered together to share an autumn feast that was pronounced as thanksgiving.

In 1863, Lincoln declared thanksgiving to be the fourth thursday of every November as a way to express religion and a way to amend the lives lost during the Civil War. Now Thanksgiving has transformed itself from the religious ways, to the family time shared cooking and sharing a feast.

Alternative Ways to Cook a Thanksgiving Turkey

By: Jordan Price

Tis the season of mashed potatoes and Thanksgiving turkeys. Most people go the traditional way, but here are some alternative ways to cook a turkey. Try cooking a turkey by smoking it, grilling it, or deep frying.

The first way to alternatively cook a turkey is the apple brined smoked turkey:

  • 1. Combine the apple juice, brown sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve. Boil for one minute, remove from heat, let mixture come to room temperature, then refrigerate to 40°F.
  • 2. In a large non-reactive container, combine the apple juice mixture with the remaining brine ingredients. When adding the oranges, squeeze each piece to release the juice into the container, then drop in the peel. Set the turkey in the brine, breast side down, placing a weight on top to keep the turkey submerged if necessary. Place in the refrigerator and let brine for 24 hours.
  • 3. Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet and allow to air-dry overnight in the refrigerator. (This step is optional, but will result in a crisper skin.)
  • 4. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator, fold the wings under the body and tie the legs together. Allow the turkey to come to room temperature while you prepare the smoker.
  • 5. Fire up your smoker to 350 degrees. Add the chunks of apple wood and when the wood is burning and producing smoke, place the turkey in the smoker. Smoke until an instant read thermometer reads 165°F in the thickest part of the breast, about 2 to 3 hours.
  1. Remove the turkey from the smoker and allow to rest, uncovered, for 20 to                                                30 minutes. Carve and serve.

The next way to cook a thanksgiving turkey is a honey smoked turkey:

  1. Preheat grill for high heat. If you are using a charcoal grill, use about twice the                              normal amount of charcoal. Soak wood chips in a pan of water, and set next to the       grill.
  1. Remove neck and giblets from turkey. Rinse the bird and pat dry. Place in a large disposable roasting pan.
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together sage, ground black pepper, celery salt, basil, and vegetable oil. Pour mixture evenly over the turkey. Turn the turkey breast side down in the pan, and tent loosely with aluminum foil.
  1. Place the roasting pan on the preheated grill. Throw a handful of the wood chips onto the coals. Close the lid, and cook for 1 hour.
  1. Throw about 2 more handfuls of soaked wood chips on the fire. Drizzle 1/2 the honey over the bird, and replace the foil. Close the lid of the grill, and continue cooking 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees F (80 degrees C) in the thickest part of the thigh.
  1. Uncover turkey, and carefully turn it breast side up in the roasting pan. Baste with remaining honey. Leave the turkey uncovered, and cook 15 minutes. The cooked honey will be very dark.

The last turkey is the deep fried turkey:

1.Wash bird inside and out, and allow to drain. Rub turkey all over with House           Seasoning Coat turkey with dry rub.

  1. Allow the bird to sit until it reaches room temperature.

3.Heat peanut oil in a turkey fryer or a very, very large stockpot to 350 degrees F. Lower turkey into hot oil, very carefully, making sure it is fully submerged.

  1. Fry turkey for 3 minutes per pound plus 5 minutes per bird. Remove turkey from oil and drain on paper towels.

5.Serve with favorite Thanksgiving sides and salads.img_1641

Halloween Memories & Plans

Here are a few Woodlake High school students’ most memorable Halloween moments explained, and their plans for Halloween this year!


By Dulce Hernandez

Yvette Ceballos (Junior)

What was your most memorable Halloween?

“My most memorable Halloween was when I snuck out at 3 in the morning to go with my cousin, and we hiked skyline; it was dark, scary, and we also jumped in the river, it was pretty cold.”

What are you dressing up as for Halloween?

“I’m dressing up as a DC Super-villain.”

What are your plans this Halloween?

“My plans are to have a LIT time!”


Juan (Freshman)

What was your most memorable Halloween?

“Last year I was walking through an alley alone. I wasn’t scared until I felt as if someone was following me. I kept on looking back, and the alley kept on getting darker and darker. I kept on hearing noises behind me and realized my dog followed me…”

What are you dressing up as for Halloween?

“I want to dress up as Nicki Minaj…”

What are your plans this Halloween?

“My plans for this Halloween is to go to a Halloween party, and try to win the costume contest.”


Jessica Ruelas (Junior)

What was your most memorable Halloween?

“My most memorable Halloween was when I got lost in Visalia. I was new to Woodlake, and everyone told me that the candy was better in Visalia. My mom dropped me and my friends off thinking we would be fine, but 5 minutes in, we go lost and ended up by some orchards. None of us had service, so I couldn’t call my mom or even the cops. Eventually we stumbled upon a closed store with a pay phone, and my friend happened to have some change to use. Thats is why I’m never going out for Halloween again”

What are you dressing up as for Halloween?


What are your plans this Halloween?

I’m staying home, eating candy, and watching the walking dead on Netflix”.

A FANGtastic Halloween!

By: Julian Duran

It’s October and we all know what that means…. Halloween! Halloween is the one day of the year where kids all over the country get dressed up as their favorite horror film, superhero, or Disney princess to walk around town with their friends and get free candy. People wait all year round for this spook-tacular holiday. Although trick-or-treating is an amazing way to spend Halloween night, there are many other events to attend all over Tulare County; here are some to add to your bucket list.


Hobb’s Grove: Located in Sanger, CA, Hobb’s Grove is a great place to spend a frightening night with friends and family. There are three main attractions; The Haunted Forest, The Haunted House, and The Haunted Hayride. All three are sure to leave you with a scare.


Vossler Farms: Located in Visalia, CA, Vossler Farms provides a pumpkin patch filled with pumpkins of all different sizes, definite to meet your likings. It also includes a small petting zoo where people of all ages can pet small farm animals. A hayride also gives rides through the corn maze. The corn maze is extremely scary and tricky, but would you expect any less?


Exeter Trunk or Treat: Held in Exeter California at Faith Tabernacle Church, this is a Halloween event for children. It is safe and very fun as the kids all say! Candy is handed out and kids are able to hang out with friends and have a Halloween where their parents know they are safe. This is a great alternative for any parent second guessing their child going trick or tre