By Nancy Vigran
Reporter for the Sun-Gazette
WOODLAKE – It may not be unprecedented, but it is certainly unusual that a husband and wife are named Woodlake’s Man and Woman of the Year in the same year. That’s what happed this Woodlake awards season with Chuck and Jenny House, Woodlake area residents for six years.
While they may not know who nominated them, the selection was done by an anonymous committee including someone from the City, from the Chamber of Commerce, each service club, and so forth. The award winners from each of the same category for the past two years also weighed in on the decision.
Jenny was asked to attend a Rotary Club meeting where her husband was speaking. It was there they learned of their upcoming awards.
“We were shocked,” she said. “But, we also feel very fortunate that we have the time to give back to the community that many people don’t have.”
Time they didn’t have before retiring to Woodlake.
The House’s moved following Chuck’s retirement from serving as a college chancellor in the Bay Area. Jenny’s sister has lived in Elderwood for 20 years, and together the sisters have opened Sequoia Hills Stables. The stables offers riders equitation and jumping lessons, as well as general horse care.
Shortly after their move, Jenny joined Woodlake Kiwanis. Their new neighbor and a teacher at Woodlake Valley Middle School, Courtney Hengst, came over a week after they moved in and suggested Jenny may be interested in the service club. Joining the Woodlake High School Foundation Board came after. A former teacher and principal, she enjoys participating in events that support local students. She also serves as a mentor helping them prepare for college, and narrowing down potential career choices.
Chuck on the other hand has returned to his love for gardening. As a high school student, he worked for Monrovia Nursery in his and its original hometown in La Habra. Following, he managed a Colorado nursery for many years prior to his starting work in the education field. He has stepped up to head volunteers in management of Woodlake’s Rose Garden, which he has divided up for 10 local volunteer support groups to each care for their own subdivision.
But, his educational teaching career hasn’t left him. He still enjoys helping students with their math and science skills. He has taught STEM topics to elementary, middle school and high school students in the area for the past seven years, while inspiring some of them to pursue a science or engineering career.
When they lived in the Bay Area, the Houses really didn’t have any spare time to give back to the community, Jenny said. Since moving to Woodlake, they have more free time to fill up. And, they have.
“I guess we’ve made an impact,” she said, “and I’m glad we have.”