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BEST of Fort Bend – 2011


 

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Best New Heritage Center

The DeWalt Heritage Center, which opened earlier this year in Missouri City’s Kitty Hollow Park, is housed in the old Dew House. The center was designed to preserve east Fort Bend County history and provide a historic venue for community events. The project began in February 2006 when Fort Bend County partnered with the Fort Bend County Museum Association to renovate and develop the original Dew family plantation house. The first floor can be reserved for meetings and events, while the second floor holds exhibits and museum programming.

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Best Athletic Trainer of the Year

Kevin Roberts, B.F. Terry High School head athletic trainer, is the unanimous selection as the Greater Houston Federation of Coach’s Association’s Bobby Gunn Athletic Trainer of the Year for 2010-11. Roberts was honored at a special ceremony in May at the University of Houston’s Moore Athletic Complex.

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Best New Future Leadership Academy

A group of Sugar Land employees graduated from the Emerging Leader Academy, a new program intended to provide leadership skills necessary to lead Sugar Land in the future. The year-long professional development program provided comprehensive exposure and apprenticeship opportunities in all areas of the city’s organization with a focus on management and leadership skills.

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Best GT Teacher

David Sebek, teacher at Quail Valley’s G/T Academy, has been named as the 2011 TAGT Outstanding Teacher of the Year for Region IV by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented.  Sebek will go on to represent Fort Bend ISD and Region IV at the state level competition and will be honored at the TAGT Annual Conference.

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Best Animal Shelter Volunteer

One of the hardest parts of an internship at an animal shelter is most likely the clean up work. But not for Amanda Mickan, a 23-year- old special needs student. The hardest part for her is leaving.  Amanda was awarded voted CAP’s Volunteer of the Year in 2009. She began volunteering at Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP) about three years ago and loves everything about it–including the not so glamorous stuff like cleaning out crates, sweeping and doing laundry.

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Best New Hot Yoga

Can’t get enough of hot yoga? The new Bikram Yoga in Missouri City is a state-of-the-art facility featuring antibacterial flooring, superior water filtration system and ultraviolet air treatment systems built into the air circulation system so you can breathe bacteria-free air. The spacious studio also sells a large selection of cool yoga clothing.

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Best Name Change

Fort Bend Baptist Academy (FBBA) announced its official name change to Fort Bend Christian (FBC). The FBBA name has been used for over 24 years and has become synonymous with excellence in Christian education in Fort Bend County and Houston. The change was made to more accurately represent the school’s commitment to its founding core Christian beliefs and principles, and serving the entire Christian community.

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Best New Market Experience

The 2011 Sugar Plum Market is increasing its shopping opportunities by adding 20% more vendors.

It is also adding more restaurants, a package check, and has extended Preview Night shopping hours from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The league was able to make the changes by eliminating the fashion show (which was labor intensive and demanded lots of floor space). The change allows the league to significantly expand its charitable giving.

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Mayor Allen Owen’s ceremonial first putt.

Best Renovated Golf Course

Now into its second year, the El Dorado golf course at Quail Valley has claimed its spot as one of Houston’s most popular courses. Formerly the Quail Valley course, El Dorado underwent a major renovation and is now the course of choice for charitable and competitive tournaments  as well as for several thousand local golfers.

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Best Place to Find Hand Bags in Almost Any Color

This place has an amazing selection of purses in all colors and styles. Charming Charlie in Town Square is a  great resource if you are looking for an inexpensive bag to take to football games or to match a fun outfit. The selection includes bags in maroon, orange, purple and more — perfect for Aggies, Longhorns, Tigers, Horned Frogs or whatever your school color. Styles include crossbody, drawstring and hobo.

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Best Quarterback of the Year

Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels volunteer Bob Dunham was named the Houston Texans Community Quarterback of the Year for his unending service to the senior citizens of Fort Bend County at the Jan. 2 Houston Texans game. The award recognizes outstanding volunteers who exemplify leadership, dedication and a commitment to improving their community. For Dunham’s volunteer efforts, Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels received $10,000.

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Best Prison Volunteer

Robert Crenshaw was honored with the National Prison Fellowship Shining Star Award, which recognizes a select number of outstanding employees and volunteers who serve in Prison Ministries throughout the country.

For nearly 12 years, Crenshaw has volunteered through the Restorative Justice Ministries of Christ United Methodist Church.

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Best Denim Selection

Still the best selection of denim in Fort Bend! At Kiss Kiss in Sugar Land Town Square choose from True Religion, Hudson, Rock Revivals, Citizens of Humanity, Miss Me and more. The Kiss Kiss sales staff is knowledgeable when it comes to helping you select the right jean for your body type. They also have a large selection of Toms.

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Best CASA Volunteer

The National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association honored Pat King with the 2011 National CASA Board Member of the Year award during the 30th annual National CASA Conference in Chicago, Ill. King is a volunteer with Child Advocates of Fort Bend, an inaugural member of the organization, and aided with its establishment in 1991. For the past 20 years, he has advocated for children as a volunteer, helping to speak for children in the foster system.

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Best Business Woman of the Year

Missouri City resident Bee Franks Walker will represent the Fort Bend American Business Women’s Association as its 2011 Woman of the Year. Bee, president-elect and program chair of the Fort Bend chapter, concurrently serves on the Board of The League of Women Voters and is president of the Southwest Ladies Investment Club.

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Best Italian Festa

Imagine floating in a Venetian gondola, walking the streets of Rome or visiting the beautiful Tuscany countryside as the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra presented Viva Italia! Concert guests enjoyed tunes like Funiculi, Funicula, a popular melody first composed in the 1880s and frequently included in modern movies and sitcoms.

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Best Place to Get a Dog, Already Trained

The Houston Humane Society has trained dogs ready to adopt. HHS Diamond Dogs have graduated from a 4-week basic obedience training program. They have received instruction on how to sit and stay, properly walk on a a leash, lie down, and not jump on people. Located at 14700 Almeda Road.

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Best New Baseball Team You’ll LOVE in 2012

The Sugar Land Skeeters will host its season opener in its new state-of-the art StarTex Power Field in April 2012. The stadium will feature two main scoreboards consisting of an old-fashioned, manually-operated scoreboard in the left field wall, modeled after the one in Fenway Park’s Green Monster, and an eight-story, high-definition video board towering high above center field. This will be a great place for family entertainment.

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Best Community of Respect

Three years after being named the nation’s first “Community of Respect,” the Anti-Defamation League again recognized Sugar Land for its ongoing commitment to foster an inclusive and respectful community. Sugar Land has been a recipient of the award every year since the program’s inception.

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Best Hike in Sugar Land

The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation’s Heritage Hike takes place on the second Saturday of the month. Hikers get to see buildings dating back to the early 1900s, and hear stories about the people who helped shape the community’s past. A hike lasts approximately an hour and a half and winds through old downtown Sugar Land and the historic Hill neighborhood. It is a great way to learn more about Sugar Land’s rich history. The guided tours start every half-hour beginning at 10:30 a.m., with the last group leaving at 12:30 p.m.

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Best New History Book

Part of the Images of America series, “Images of America: Sugar Land” offers a visual history that begins with the story of Stephen F. Austin’s earliest settlers and takes readers up to the present modern achievements of a nationally-recognized city. Photos from private citizens and Imperial Sugar Company offer a rare look at Sugar Land’s evolution from a remote company town to a master-planned urban city.

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Best New Fabric and Craft Store to Inspire Creativity

This place will spark your creativity! Joann’s Fabric and Craft store has a large selection of fabrics for sewing, quilting, and craft projects. It also carries home decor, crafts for kids and teachers, and scrapbooking supplies. Joann’s moved from its former small location on Hwy 6 to Hwy 59 and Sweetwater earlier this year.

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Lynda Keith McKnight played the witch in the Imperial Theatre’s production of Hansel and Gretel.

Best Performing Arts Co. in Sugar Land

The Imperial Theatre, Sugar Land’s newest diamond in the rough, is home to Imperial Performing Arts, a resident professional performing arts organization.  They produce a full range of performance art using local, professional talent in opera, theater, musicals, choral concerts, symphony and ballet. IPA began in 2007 when a group of Sugar Land residents met to discuss hopes of founding Sugar Land’s first residential professional performing arts company.

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FOOD & DRINK

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Best Old Time Soda Fountain

Another Time Soda Fountain & Diner in Rosenberg takes you back to the good old days of gargantuan banana splits and old-fashioned malts. In addition to the mouth-watering treats of the soda fountain, the cafe serves hot dogs and hamburgers and daily Blue Plate Specials. Located in a refurbished 100-year-old building, Another Time really does make customers feel they have stepped back in time!

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Best New Orleans Inspired Concept

The Rouxpour in Sugar Land Town Square has a menu reflecting the flavor and culture of the renowned French Quarter. Sugar Land residents Mack McDonald and Lincoln Ward teamed up to develop this New Orleans style concept. Try the chargrilled fresh shucked oysters on the half-shell topped with their secret sauce and cheese blend. The Bourbon Street Pasta is also yummy. It’s penne pasta with shrimp, chicken and sausage in a spicy marinara.

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Best Grilled Red Snapper

Post Oak Grill has a delicious grilled Red Snapper. It’s served with red onions, tomatoes, Texas confit jalapenos, jumbo lump blue crab meat and black bean risotto. The steamed Red Snapper is also delightful ­– it’s served with mixed steamed veggies tossed with a truffle oil essence. Planning a party for the holidays? Check out their catering menu!

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Best Sunday Brunch

Treat yourself to Sunday Brunch at Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille. Try their Filet Creole Benedict – a toasted English muffin topped with filet mignon medallions, poached eggs and smothered with a spicy tasso gravy served with whipped potatoes and creole remoulade. Perry’s began as a modest butcher shop and has been perfecting  prime since 1979. They have grown into a renowned group of award-winning restaurants offering an amazing selection of culinay creations.

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Best Burgers on Friday

Stop by Char House in Town Square on Fridays and try their Classic Burger Combo. It’s a one-third pound burger made of juicy Angus beef, chipolte mayo, lettuce, tomato and onion. It’s served with a generous portion of thinly sliced fried potatoes, all for only $6 on Fridays.

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PUBLIC SERVANTS

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Trent Harrod

Best Employee of the Year is Sugar Land Fire Captain

Fire Department Capt. Trent Harrod of the Public Education division was honored as the City of Sugar Land’s 2010 Employee of the Year. As one nominating colleague described him, “How could anyone not love that smile, sense of humor, open honest communication, owning his job, building relationships with employees and other city departments, and being responsive?” A member of the Wellness Committee, Harrod also was noted for displaying values of “People First” and “Superior Service” in encouraging others to work out regularly and lead healthier lives.

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Best Sugar Land Police Officer

Sgt. Mike Richards earned the Sugar Land Police Department’s 2010 Officer of the Year Award for helping SLPD achieve a 3.1 percent decrease in the 2010 crime rate. His leadership of a special impact team resulted in more than 70 arrests during a six-month period. Richards’ task force used targeted patrols, surveillance, citizen volunteers and education to address vehicle burglaries. The SLPD Meritorious Conduct Board selected Richards based on his dedication to public safety and tremendous work ethic.

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Assistant Chief Mike Youngblood, firefighters Joe Klein and Gus Mldonado, Division Chief of Training & Education Jaime Ponce De Leon and Chief Russell Sander during the award presentation for Missouri City’s Fittest Crew of 2010.

Best Missouri City Firefighter of the Year

Frank Luu earned the Firefighter of the Year award. He is actively involved in the Fire House Clown Program, the department’s Honor Guard, and has represented the department in several events over the past year. Luu was also commended for obtaining his Paramedic and Advanced Diver certifications during the past year.

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Firefighter Rookie of the Year

Peter Ondrusko earned the Rookie of the Year award. He joined the department in May of 2009 and became known as a person who supports the team and for his positive, “can-do” attitude. He became very active in the department’s Recruitment Committee, making several presentations at fire academies.

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Best Missouri City Officer of the Year

Lt. Sam Scott earned the Officer of the Year award, recognizing him not only for his duties as an officer, but for his dedication in maintaining the department’s Self Contained Breathing Apparatus and his passion for training.

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Chief Joel Fitzgerald (far left) and Mayor Allen Owen (far right) salute Asst. Police Chief Pat Worrell, Police Chief Administrative Asst. Janet Hornischer and Asst. Police Chief Larry Capps.

Best Combined 127 Years of Service

Missouri City paid tribute to four employees who have spent a combined 127 years of service working on behalf of the city and its residents. They were recognized during the Jan. 18 City Council meeting.

Janet Hornischer is the city’s longest tenured employee with 37 years of service. Assistant Police Chief Pat Worrell joined Missouri City in 1975 after serving in police departments in Austin and Stafford and has been on the force for more than 35 years. Assistant Police Chief Larry Capps was recognized for his 30 years of service. Division of Emergency Preparedness Chief John Sheffield started his career with the City in October 1985.

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SCHOOLS, YOUTH

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Best High School Navy JROTC Drill Team

For the sixth consecutive year, Bush High School’s Navy JROTC Drill Team advanced to the national competition. The team earned a position at the nationals after placing “second overall” at the State Navy JROTC Drill Meet.  Bush was among the top 16 NJROTC drill teams to compete at the state level and among 24 drill teams across the nation to advance to the national competition.

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Best Perfect SAT Score Earned by a Junior

Clements High School student Kristen Pownell received a perfect score of 2,400 on the SAT test. Kristen is a member of the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, and her school’s Red Cross Club. She also plays the oboe for the Clements Concert Band and was selected as an All-State alternate for the past two years.

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Best State Festival Actor

At the 2010 Texas Thespians State Festival, Emmanuel Peeples, a student at Elkins High School, had the distinction of being the only Fort Bend ISD student selected to perform with the inaugural all-state cast of the American classic, “Our Town.” Emmanuel and the cast spent the year practicing. He met with other cast members a half-dozen times to rehearse in various Texas cities such as Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. He also attended a week-long theater boot camp over the summer.

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Best Girl Scout

Girl Scout Meesha Khatker of New Territory (Rainbow Stars Service Unit) completed requirements for the Gold Award, the highest achievement a Girl Scout can earn, symbolizing outstanding accomplishments in the areas of leadership, community service and advocacy.

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Aaron Callegari, team captain Shawn Cleary, Michael Brand and Robert Nguyen with Edwin R. Sellards (center).

Best HS NJROTC National Academic Champions

The Stephen F. Austin High School Navy Junior ROTC participated in the College Options Foundation 2011 JROTC Academic Championship in Fairfax, Va. Approximately 330 Navy JROTC teams competed nationwide online, and only four teams advanced to the championship round. Austin High School’s NJROTC won the 2011 Navy JROTC College Options Foundation Academic Bowl Championship.  Team members were Shawn Cleary, Michael Brand, Robert Nguyen and Aaron Callegari.

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Representing Austin’s Navy JROTC are: (l-r, front row): Shawn Cleary, Edward Orta, Victor Davalos, Ryan Pruthi; (back row) Branden Alley, Anthony Coca, Brice Harris and Timothy Harris.

Austin High School’s Navy JROTC Receives Distinguished Unit Award

The Austin High School Navy Junior ROTC was awarded the 2010-11 Distinguished Unit Award by the United States Navy for outstanding performance during the past school year. Austin High School ranked fifth out of the 67 Navy Junior Officer Training Corps Programs within the state of Texas.

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Best Can Sculpting

Elkins High School’s Youth in Philanthropy members and sponsor Jade Love took  top honors in the Fort Bend Countywide Food Drive and Canned Food Sculpting Competition, sponsored by H-E-B. The contest invited YIP students from area high schools to bring canned food items and create a medieval-themed sculpture using 200 cans of food. The team designed a sculpture of a knight holding a shield and sword on a horse. The sculpture was completed in three hours and earned a $750 cash prize and more.

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Best Civic Servants Nominated For Presidential Award

The Health Science Technology II class at Kempner High School completed its ninth annual Blood Drive benefiting St. Luke’s Hospital. More than 650 units were collected along with the support of 24 community businesses. Kempner students promoted and conducted the most successful blood drive since its inception and have been nominated for President Obama’s Silver Eagle Award — the highest level of civic service honor that can be earned by young adults in the country.  x.

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Best Twin Eagle Scouts

Twin brothers Andrew and Brandon Walquist with Boy Scout Troop 1656,  were honored in a special Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony. Brandon’s Eagle Scout project consisted of coordinating and managing the planting of a unique variety of trees at Joy Lutheran Church and installing an irrigation system. Andrew enhanced the current landscaping and beautified an area at First United Methodist Church in Rosenberg.

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Best Energy Quest Team

Foster High School is the first ever city-wide champion in Energy Quest, a quiz game hosted by the World Affairs Council of Houston. In addition to the trophy and bragging rights, the school brought home a check for $1,000.

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Taylor Cobb is the 2010 Houston Area 5A Batting Champion.

Best High School 5A Batting Champion

Taylor Cobb, a junior at Austin High School, was named the 2010 Houston Area 5A Batting Champion based on his athletic performance this past season. Taylor helped lead the Austin Bulldogs to the playoffs with a .562 batting average on 105 times at bat and 43 RBI’s. The Bulldogs made school history with their victory over Baytown Lee, earning them the Area Championship title.

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Receiving National Top 10 rankings for the Long Course 2010 season are: (l-r, back row) Simone Manuel, Madeline Locus, Skylar Smith; (front row) Alicia Finnigan and Bryanna Vasquez. Not pictured are: Julia Ahrns, Eegan Groome and Madi Lacy.

Best Swimmers in National Top Ten Rankings for Long Course

Eight First Colony Swim Team swimmers finished in the National Top10 rankings for the Long Course 2010 season. Leading the way in the rankings were Simone Manuel and Madeline Locus with four Top 10 finishes.

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Hannah Hausler, Alayna Thomas, Chika Iguh and Carolyn Castillo compete at the TMEA State Conference.

Best All-State Choir Singers

Four Lamar CISD vocalists earned All-State status from the Texas Music Educators Association. Four students performed at the 2011 TMEA State Conference in San Antonio. Terry High School senior Hannah Hausler is a first-time All-State selection to the Women’s Choir. Terry junior Carolyn Castillo is All-State for a second time and is a member of the Mixed Choir. Foster High School junior Alayna Thomas is also a junior and is an All-State selection for the second time, as a member of the Mixed Choir. Lamar Consolidated High School junior Chika Iguh made All-State for the third time, also as a member of the Mixed Choir.

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Clements High School girls named to All-State choir are: Michelle Kratofil, Shelby McKay, Avani Patel and Emily Premont.

Best Record Number of High School Students Namd to All-State Choir

Sixteen musicians from the Clements High School Choir program qualified for the area choir auditions held in Rockport. To qualify for area, students compete at the district, region and pre-area level. The process began in September 2010 and ended at the TMEA music convention in San Antonio in February 2011. Clements Choir seated 11 singers in the 2011 All-State Choir: Emily Premont, Michelle Kratofil, Avani Patel, Shelby McKay, Anik Bhattacharya, Eric Laine, Evan Hines, Charlie Carroll, Jacob Khalil, Scott Clark and David Catalano.

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Best Eagle Rank Scout

Hightower High School senior Parth Bhateja earned the rank of Eagle Scout. Parth is a member of Troop 1631 led by Alan Davis. To earn this rank, Parth served many leadership positions, most notably senior patrol leader. For his Eagle project, Parth built two benches for the playground and also landscaped three flower beds for Lakeview Elementary School. The project totaled more than 200 man hours with help from 10 volunteers.

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Best Remy Johnston Award Recipient

Jessica Dupiche, a 2010 graduate of Hightower High School, is recipient of the 2010 Remy Johnston Achievement Award. The national award recognizes a young student with dyslexia who is a worthy role model to others, strives for excellence, refuses to be limited by the challenges of learning differences, and continues to enrich the lives of others through service. Dupiche received the award during a presentation at the International Dyslexia Association’s Annual Conference in Florida.

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Stephen F. Austin Band and Dance Team

Best Marching Band and Dance Team

The Stephen F. Austin High School Bulldog Marching Band and Angels Dance Team wowed audiences at the Bands of America Grand Nationals Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Fresh off their sixth Houston Regional Championship in eight seasons, the team from Sugar Land captured third place nationally in the 3A division, and ninth-place overall.

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Cameron Burrell

Best Track Student
Following a win in the World Youth Track & Field Trials in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Cameron Burrell of Ridge Point High School was selected to compete on the USA World Youth Championship Team. Cameron won the long jump competition at the World Youth Track & Field Trials by jumping 24 feet, 2 inches. He joined 40 other USA Track & Field athletes on the USA World team that competed at the seventh International Assoc. of Athletics Federations World Youth Championships in Lille, France. He finished fifth in his group and 14th overall in the Boys’ Long Jump division of the World competition.

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Best Elementary Math & Science Competitors

Commonwealth Elementary School’s Contest Math Club earned high honors at the Texas Math and Science Coaches Association  competition. Fifth-grade members of the team competed at the statewide competition and earned a first-place sweepstakes trophy for Best Overall results, a first-place team award in the Calculator category, and a second-place team award in General Math.

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Best Dual Honorary Grand Marshals

Devard Darling, an Austin High alum turned NFL player, brought a 5K-1K family fun run/walk to Sugar Land earlier this year.  The Darling Dash fundraiser benefits the As One Foundation, which Darling started in honor of his late twin brother, Devaughn. The charity annually provides scholarships to FBISD high school seniors. Darling was joined by Sugar Land’s Mayor Jimmy Thompson as Honorary Race Grand Marshals.  The Darling Dash also commemorated the 10th anniversary of the death of Devaughn Darling, who died during spring football practice at FSU.

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Best Dragon Boat Regatta Team

Fort Bend ISD’s School Health Advisory Council fielded a rookie Dragon Boat team in the Dragon Boat Regatta on Brooks Lake in Sugar Land and placed first in Division B. The SHAC is a group of interested parents, community members and district staff who meet regularly to address coordinated school health issues for district students, staff and parents.

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Best Girl Scout Gold Award Camp Project

Sarah Hernandez of New Territory earned the highest honor for a Girl Scout, the Gold Award, by running a two-week kids’ camp at Bethel Ministries in Stafford for about 50 under-privileged children.

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Best Boys Gymnastics Team

Gymtex’s Level 4 Boys Team captured the Team Champion trophy at the USAG Boys South State Championship. Team members, Leo Dong, Cameron Jones, Alex McDaniel and Nicholas Roehm, brought home three gold, five silver and nine bronze medals.

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Bobby Shen

Best HS Math Whiz

Dulles High School sophomore Bobby Shen was one of six students selected to compete on the USA Math Team in the 4th Annual Romanian Master of Mathematics and Sciences  held in Bucharest, Romania.

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First Colony Gators Daniel Wang, Grant Weber, Stephen Culberson and Alex Ng win 100 Freestyle Relay and set All Star record.

First Colony Gators Set All Star Record

The First Colony Gators participated in the Houston Recreational Swim League’s meet that consists of 26 local teams.  Daniel Wang, Grant Weber, Stephen Culberson and Alex Ng competed in the boys 15-18 year- old 100 Freestyle Relay and set a new All Star record. Their coach is Justin O’Sullivan.

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(R-L, back row) Coach Adams, Regan Hermes, Allison Bellman, Cassie Tipton, Coach Boiteaux; (middle row) Val Garfinkel, Rosanne Hu, Kaitlin Gascoyne, Katy Saller; (front row) Rylie Goldwait, Siyi Xue, Angie Rao, Riley McShanog and Joy Maue.

Best Middle School Volley Ball Team

Fort Settlement Middle School’s eighth Silver volleyball team was recognized as division champs after an undefeated season.

 


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