Orange Blossom Festival Queen to reign over limited festival

Queen Carina Morales’ coronation will continue on March 28 but day-long events canceled for Saturday, April 4 

The Sun-Gazette

LINDSAY – Reigning over a mini festival isn’t exactly what Carina Morales had in mind when she was selected as this year’s Orange Blossom Festival Queen. But nothing has ever stopped Carina from being involved in the Lindsay community and she isn’t about to start now.

Born in Long Beach, Calif., her parents Luis and Fidelia Morales, decided to leave the city life behind and start a new journey in the San Joaquin Valley. Lindsay was a town that caught the couple’s eye as they searched for a place to raise their growing family. 

“As a fourth grader starting a new school mid-way through the year, it took some time to adapt, but luckily I met some amazing and very kind friends,” Carina said. 

The Moraleses’ hard work and the Lindsay Unified School District’s unique approach to education produced triplets who graduated from high school and all went on to college. Carina and her brother went to Fresno State, where Carina earned her bachelor’s degree and Christian is still attending school, and their sister Catherine graduated with a bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Barbara. Carina has two more siblings in younger brothers Luis Jr., who is a seventh grader at Jefferson Elementary, and Matthew, who is a junior at Lindsay High School. 

During her time at LHS, Carina managed to find the energy and time to play two sports, four clubs and travel to Japan. From her sophomore year to her senior year, Carina participated in volleyball and also was a part of the girls’ soccer team my four years in high school. In her sophomore year, the team made history as the first Cardinals girl’s varsity soccer team to win a Valley Championship and East Sequoia League Championship in the same year. During her high school soccer career, Carina was awarded Best Offensive Player, Most Inspirational, Best Defensive Player and was selected to the East squad of the Tulare-Kings All-Star Game. 

The soccer team also offered opportunities for her to give back to her community. Carina and her teammates spent time singing Christmas carols to elderly residents living at Lindsay Gardens. She also volunteered to plant trees and shrubs through various projects throughout the city. 

Carina said another important aspect of her time in high school was being involved in various clubs. She said she learned a lot through her involvement in Key Club, French Honors Society, Cardinal Letter Club, and AVID. During her junior year, Carina was honored to be part of a student exchange program with Lindsay’s Sister City, Ono City, Japan. Carina joined a delegation of students, chaperones and local officials that traveled to Japan to experience the city’s culture. 

“Being involved in all these clubs was beneficial for me because it introduced me to new people and provided me many opportunities towards my educational journey,” she said.

After high school, Carina decided to attend CSU Fresno to stay close to her family. While attending college, Carina worked for the Mini-Corps Program where she helped tutor students who were part of the Migrant Program. She then worked for two years at Washington Elementary in Lindsay and one year at schools in the Fresno Unified School District. While working in Fresno, Carina also worked at Scout Island during summer vacation as a leader who prepared and taught outdoor lessons and activities to kids who were also part of the Migrant Program. 

“Due to all my experiences working with students, I knew that it was something I wanted to pursue a career in,” Carina said. 

After earning her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology-exercise science, Carina returned to Lindsay and started working as a substitute teacher. She said she will continue her education and apply to a credential program to obtain a teaching credential in physical education. Eventually she plans to earn a master’s degree in physical education. 

“I would like to one day give back to the community of Lindsay for every opportunity and life changing experience that it has provided me with,” Carina said.

Carina will give back to her community on Saturday, March 28 when she is crowned Orange Blossom Festival (OBF) Queen. OBF Chaperone Lisa Salinas announced last Friday that most of 88th annual festival has been cancelled due to the potential spread of the coronavirus, including the day-long events scheduled for the final day of the festival on April 4, including the 5K Run/Walk, pancake breakfast, OBF Parade, bake-off, corn hole tournament, live entertainment and carnival at Lindsay City Park. Salinas said the coronation at the Lindsay First Presbyterian Church, 351 E. Hermosa St. in Lindsay, will continue because the church’s capacity is under the 250 personal threshold outlined by public health officials. The coronation is set to begin at 5 p.m. Carina and her attendants will attend smaller gatherings throughout the week of OBF that have become part of the festival tradition, including church teas, mixers and meeting with city officials.

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