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BEST of Fort Bend – 2012



Annual recognition of Fort Bend County’s champions
of community, shopping, dining and more!

COMMUNITY

BEST IN CHOIR

Looking back over 30 years, the Fort Bend Boys Choir has much to celebrate, including performing at the Sistine Chapel at the request of Pope John Paul II. This well known and beloved choir entered its 31st performance season, with Bryan Pulliam earning the award for the 2012 Outstanding Choirboy of the Year.

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BEST YEAR ROUND MARKET

The freshest produce and one-of-a-kind arts and crafts can be found year round at the Farmers Market at Imperial presented by the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce. Local cheeses, fresh baked goods, jam, honey, fresh cut flowers and more are offered on Saturdays.

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BEST IN DINOSAURS

The Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land hosted a special exhibition of eight nearly life-sized stomping, roaring and animated dinosaurs. Adult, juvenile and hatching Chasmosaurus, Tyrannosaurus rex, Stegosaurus  and Protoceratops were on display.

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BEST COLLECTION

Rick Brinneman of Sugar Land has an automobilia collection like no other. His entire home is filled with upwards of 1,000 oil company and car dealership advertising pieces. The passion started when he was in his teens and continues to this day.

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BEST HOME TOUR

The CASA Christmas Home Tour delights visitors every season, and the 19th annual event was no exception. Proceeds benefited Child Advocates of Fort Bend and enchanted visitors with a festive holiday spirit. Four homes were featured, with nearly every room transformed for the holiday theme.

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BEST DRY CLEANERS

Sims City Cleaners

Delta Sky Magazine has noted Sims City Cleaners as one of the top five cleaners in the world. This family owned and operated business is also recommended by luxury department stores. We like the world-class service.

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BEST CROSS-CONTINENTAL BIKE TOUR

Shannon Kintner and friends are FBISD graduates and attend University of Texas. They decided to do something remarkable: They pedaled from Texas to Alaska on a charity bike ride. Four thousand miles later the cancer fighters, called texas4000.org, proudly represented their cause.

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BEST BASKET OF COOKIES

Members of the Clements High Peer Assistance and Leadership Group honored Fort Bend ISD Police Department officers with thank you cards and baskets of cookies and cupcakes in honor of their outstanding service.

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BEST RECORD BREAKER

The 2011 Sugar Plum Market, presented by the Fort Bend Junior Service League and Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, announced the record-breaking proceeds of another successful year in sponsorship and attendance. $200,000 was presented to the local Fort Bend County charities.

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BEST PLACE FOR COOKING CLASSES

Sur La Table

Sur La Table cooking lessons for all skill levels are fun and convenient at Sugar Land Town Square. Try the Essential Knife Skills Cooking Class for fundamental-to-advanced techniques.

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BEST CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT

An unprecedented level of cooperation between 40 government and private sector groups made possible the largest capital improvement in the history of Missouri City — the $50 million Regional Water Treatment Plant. City officials and guests toasted the grand opening with water processed at the facility.

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BEST BIRTHDAY BASH

The City of Richmond celebrated its 175th birthday on September 15 with a parade, entertainment, an old-time trolley, gun fights, and a Kids Area. The city and the Historic Richmond Association partnered to host the event.

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(L-R, back row) Sunny K. Sharma, Al Abramczyk, Richard Germer, Vincent G. Ramos, Thomas Sutherland, Vish Bhaskaran; (front row) B.J. Horsman, Dee Koch and Maria Sutherland.

BEST FORT BEND HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR

The annual Humanitarian of the Year event, sponsored by the Fort Bend Rotary Club, honored Carole and Bob Brown at Safari Texas. Bob Brown, the founder of Sugar Land Telephone Company, and Carole Brown have been extraordinarily active in supporting Fort Bend County with their philanthropic work.

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Foster student Arielle DeGueure looks at footage shot by a cameraman from American Idol.

BEST AMERICAN IDOL TRYOUT

Foster High School student Arielle DeGueure auditioned for American Idol and was one of less than 50 singers who were asked to audition for the judges in Galveston. She was given a ticket to Hollywood to continue her quest to become the next American Idol.

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BEST COMMUNITY OF RESPECT

Four 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 TRASH-OFF

Keep Sugar Land Beautiful hosted the 19th annual Don’t Mess with Texas Trash-off, which serves as Texas’ signature event for the Great American Cleanup, the nation’s largest community improvement program. Last year 450 Keep Sugar Land Beautiful volunteers picked up over 4,653 pounds of litter.

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BEST PET LODGING

Lone Star Pet Lodges of M.C.

When it isn’t possible to take our pets along, it’s Lone Star Pet Lodges in Missouri City to the rescue! We like that they are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We recommend the state-of-the-art, pet-friendly facility.

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Mayor Allen Owen and Johnson’s daughter Kay Farah (right) salute Doris Johnson at her 100th birthday celebration.

BEST 100TH BIRTHDAY

Doris Johnson was congratulated by Missouri City Mayor Allen Owen as she celebrated her 100th birthday. The milestone was honored with a party hosted by Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels at the Stafford Congregate Center. Family and friends attended the celebration.

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BEST IN PLEDGES

Thanks to the George Foundation, a $1 million challenge grant to the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center (a very special project of the Children’s Museum of Houston) has been made. The year-round location will open the summer of 2015 at the historic Imperial Development. Matching funds must be raised by October 2013.

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Sam & Sunny

BEST PAW-TEREST

Thanks to all our readers who sent in pictures of their beloved pets.  Purr-fect and doggone cute is what we call it! Sam & Sunny, the Great Dane and Chihuahua duo, were the top pick of Lifestyles & Homes readers on Facebook.

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BEST DAD-DAUGHTER DANCE

Belles of the ball danced the night away! More than 300 dads and daughters enjoyed a memorable event at Missouri City’s 16th Annual Dad & Daughter Dance, themed “Princess Ball,” complete with a horse-drawn carriage.

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BEST POOL SERVICE

Pool Pro

Pool Pro is a family owned one-stop shop serving the residents of Missouri City since 1985. We like the reliable weekly pool maintenance. They are also leaders in custom pool renovations.

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BEST SPELLING BEE

The Literacy Council of Fort Bend County’s 3rd Annual Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee took place August 2012 at the University of Houston – Sugar Land. For a fee of $500, a team of three spellers won a place in the “Honey Hall of Fame” and the braggadocio rights as “Best Grown-Up Speller in the County.”

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(L-R, back row) Franklin Clark, Garfield Norris, Roland Powell, Mose Austin, Bill Cheatham, Cleveland Woodson III; (front row) Bessye Clark, Sonja Norris, Brenda Powell, Mable Scott Austin, Anita Cheatham, Jannifer Woodson and Jessie Reid.

BEST MULTIPLE WEDDING ANNIVERSARY

Seven couples celebrated their wedding anniversaries at Sweetwater Country Club. The Reids, the Woodsons, the Powells, the Cheathams, the Austins, the Clarks and the Norrises enjoyed gifts, a meet and greet, photo session and romantic dancing.

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BEST PLACE TO GET YOUR SHOES FIXED

Houston Shoe Hospital

Houston Shoe Hospital has been servicing customers for over 100 years. Since 1906 it has served as the world’s largest and most experienced shoe repair company. They can make those favorite comfortable shoes look like new again.

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BEST VOLUNTEER

Linda Hancock, a political activist and Fort Bend County community leader, was honored in Austin at the Austin Club by the State of Texas Republican Party. Hancock was recognized for being the “Outstanding Volunteer” for Senatorial District 18.

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BEST WOMAN OF THE YEAR

Milly Smith was named the Woman’s Club of Missouri City Woman of the Year. The award was presented to the volunteer who was most willing to always help when needed.

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BEST “HISTORY IN THE MAKING” GALA

“History in the Making” was a fun-filled gala where distinguished guests got a look at the new Constellation Field ballpark and were the first to walk on the field. The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation and Gala Chair, Nancy Olson, hosted the event for the inaugural season of the Sugar Land Skeeters.

PUBLIC SERVANTS

BEST CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATOR

Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Kim Oreskovich received the Officer of the Year honor presented at the Exchange Club of Fort Bend’s 47th Annual Crime Prevention Dinner. Oreskovich  began her career in Detention and Control, then found her calling in crime scene investigation. Oreskovich is a Master Peace Officer and Certified Operator of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System. She is also an instructor at the Gus George Law Enforcement Academy in Richmond.

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Mayor Pro Tem Jerry Wyatt (second from right) saluted Shane Mize and his family on his achievement. Joining the celebration were (l-r) Landry Mize, Gracie Mize, Shane Mize, Hannah Mize, Hayden Mize (green shirt), Gibson Mize and Larry Foos, director of Parks & Recreation.

BEST CITY EMPLOYEE

Recreation Superintendent Shane Mize was recognized by Missouri City for winning the Southwest Region Young Professional of the Year Award from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The prestigious award is given to a professional 35 years old or younger from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and New Mexico who demonstrates leadership and participation in their field.

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BEST SALUTE TO PUBLIC SAFETY

The 7th Annual Police Officer Memorial Ceremony included a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace”, the presentation of colors by the Police Honor Guard, The National Anthem sung by Ridge Point High School student Brianna James, the Pledge of Allegiance and an invocation. Residents, supporters, community leaders and elected officials saluted the bravery of Missouri City’s men and women in blue.

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BEST CITIZEN’S POLICE & FIRE ACADEMY

Citizens who live and work in Missouri City get a “behind the scenes” look at the challenges of law enforcement and fire fighting at the Citizen’s Police

& Fire Academy. Solving crimes, tackling burning buildings, witnessing a staged SWAT operation, searching for an armed suspect and making a traffic stop at night are all featured activities.

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BEST MISSOURI CITY POLICE OFFICER

Missouri City Police Officer Jessica Berry was honored by City Council as one of the city’s finest.  Berry was voted “Officer of the Year” by her peers and received the 2012 Mothers Against Drunk Driving award.

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BEST MISSOURI CITY POLICE DETECTIVE

Missouri City Police Detective Terry Patrick was honored by City Council for being named the Texas Louisiana Gulf Coast District Exchange Club 2012 Officer of the Year. He is credited with pursuing every possible lead to solve crimes.

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BEST ASSISTANT FIRE CHIEF

The Missouri City Fire and Rescue Service brought onboard Assistant Chief Paige Day, who oversees operations and training and is the direct supervisor for the Battalion Chiefs. Day holds a master’s degree in Fire Service Administration.

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BEST IN PROMOTIONS AND NEW HIRES

In a special ceremony held at the Missouri City Community Center, the police honored officers and recognized several recently hired Burglary and Auto Theft Team members: Captain Brandon Harris, Sergeant Russell Terry, Sergeant Melissa Hill, Detective Andrew Robb, Supervisor of Telecommunications Theresa Lyde, Sergeant Saul Luera, Detective Caleb Rule, Detective Marcus Montemayor, Officer Matthew Schlosser, Officer Jazton Heard, Officer Stanley Lewis, Officer Joseph Lewis, Officer Ivory Lartigue, Officer Allan Montoya, Telecommunications Officers Mikosha Phoenix, Tracy Vives, Andrew Sonnier, Ashley Rogers, Brya Rivera, Christina Barnes, and
Lakeesha Frazier.

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BEST HELPING HAND

The Meyer Elementary PTO presented a plaque to the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office for its continued annual gifts of backpacks for the school children in pre-k through 5th grade, each grade level receiving 45 backpacks.

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BEST FOOD

BEST NEW RESTAURANT

Ruggles Green

For something different, check out Ruggles Green. This is a certified “green” restaurant and the first in the Houston area. You won’t find waiters, valets or hassles — but you will find good food that’s good for you right in the heart of Sugar Land Town Square. The Veggie Lettuce Wraps are simply delicious with hydroponic butter lettuce filled with onion, red and yellow peppers, sesame oil, celery, mushrooms, zucchini, corn, garlic, cilantro, and organic fair trade quinoa, topped with avocado yogurt sauce, queso fresco, and crispy quinoa strips.

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BEST ENCHILADA

Lopez Mexican Restaurant

Are you a fan of Mexican food? If so, head to Wilcrest and visit the Lopez family. They’ve been serving customers since 1978. We recommend all their delicious enchiladas, but especially enjoy the Popeye Enchiladas. This entree is made with corn tortillas and an interesting mix of garlic sauteed spinach, mushroom sauce and cucumber pico de gallo. All the cuisine is authentic south-of-the-border Mexican fare,  and truly mouth-watering.

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BEST BEER SELECTION

The Flying Saucer

With an atmosphere as fun as its name, The Flying Saucer brings a robust beer selection to Sugar Land Town Square. Home to 80 taps and two cask engines built into the bar, The Flying Saucer has an interesting menu (as you can imagine). We recommend the Flying Saucer Bratzel to go with your beer — the brats, cheese and green onions on a pretzel bring adventure to this fun fare. You just might be back for seconds.

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BEST SUSHI

Keeper’s Japanese Restaurant & Bar

Sushi Chef Keeper Lin brings 20 years of experience to his restaurant at Highway 6 South and Austin Parkway. Try the Cowboy signature roll with spicy tuna or salmon with avocado, blackened beef, tobiko and cowboy sauce. Crab lovers go for the Angry Lion — mixed snow crab and avocado topped with spicy salmon, masago, eel and creamy sauce. The fresh ingredients on both the dinner and happy hour menus can’t be beat. It’s good sushi!

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BEST BURGERS

Guru Burgers & Crepes

Sugar Land Town Square is the place to find Akaushi beef, with the lowest cholesterol of almost any kind of meat. It’s specially prepared by the chefs at Guru Burgers, who believe burgers and crepes are healthy foods when cooked with the right ingredients. Number one rule? Make everything from scratch and offer it in a salad, too. You’ll find lean, organic grass-fed beef, cage-free chicken, wild buffalo, wild elk or salmon burgers on the menu.

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BEST FISH

Mia Bella Italian Trattoria

You’ll find the Pesca Alla Paesana at Mia Bella on the Southwest Freeway. We’re fans of this delicious oven-baked rainbow trout marinated in a lemon butter and roasted jalapeño cilantro pesto sauce with tomatoes and lemon slices. Mia Bella combines Italian tradition and regional American twists, and you’ll like the Wednesday Happy Hour and $3 Antipasti Menu, too. It’s a trip to Italy without the airfare.

SCHOOLS & YOUTH

(L-R) Alexandra Ward, Christopher Hamborsky, Commissioner James Patterson, Kristen Mynes and Duff Dean.

BEST QUIZ BOWL

The Quiz Bowl team from Ridge Point High School was named winner of Fort Bend ISD’s 2012 Quiz Bowl Competition afer earning the highest score among the 11 competing high school teams. Duff Dean, Christopher Hamborsky, Kristen Mynes and Alexandra Ward competed against the Marshall High team in the final round of the competition.

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(L-R, front row) Austin High School French students Misbah Sajid, Praniet Chopra, Kristen Paige, Joey Weber, Simi Moirangthem; (back row) Antony Samuel, Emily Clayton, Melissa Pauletti, Busola Akinniranye, Caroline Miller, Zawadia Lefang, Delaney Dupree and Charlotte Hunt.

BEST IN FRENCH

Austin High School French students, led by teacher Melissa Pauletti, won overall first place in the state at the Texas French Symposium (recognized by the Texas Education Agency as the official state competition for high school students and a UIL equivalent). Clements High School French students, led by teacher Pam Milton, placed second overall in the state.

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(Front row) Frost Elementary essay winners Sydney Richer, Parker Wolny and Madison Howell.

BEST ELEMENTARY ESSAYISTS

Gifted and Talented Frost Elementary fourth graders Parker Wolny, Madison Howell and Sydney Richer swept the top three spots in the Ima Hogg Chapter of the Daughters of the Texas Republic’s annual essay contest.

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BEST SWIM TEAM

First Colony Swim Team has been named a USA Swimming Gold Medal Club. This is the first time FCST has achieved this honor, and FCST is the only Texas team to make the Top 20 this year.

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BEST ALL-STATE MUSICIAN

Kelli Valdez, a member of Kempner High School Choir, performed with the Texas All-state Choir in San Antonio for a third year in a row. Valdez competed at District, Region and Area levels for All-State, the highest honor a Texas music student can receive.

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PERFECT SAT SCORE

Honor Student Lilly Shen, an 11th grade student at Clements High, earned a perfect score of 2400 on the SAT test. She also made a perfect score of 240 on her PSAT. Lilly is a three-time USA Math Olympiad qualifier.

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BEST IN SHAKESPEARE

Travis High School theater student Robert Jameson won first place in the English-Speaking Union’s regional Shakespeare Competition held at Main Street Theater. Robert represented the Houston Area at the National Shakespeare Competition at Lincoln Center in New York City.

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Kyle Yu, Jordan Hancock, Romy Landeck and Simone Manuel.

BEST INTERNATIONAL SWIM MEET

First Colony Swim Team members Kyle Yu, Jordan Hancock, Romy Landeck and Simone Manuel were all part of the NCSA All American Team that competed in Japan. All four advanced to the A final, with Simone winning gold and Jordan winning silver.

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BEST EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR

Dr. Mary Jackson, Fort Bend ISD Director of Special Programs, has been named the 2012 Educator of the Year by the Fort Bend County Branch of the American Association of University Women. The AAUW is dedicated to advancing equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research.

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BEST IN SKATEBOARDING

Sartartia Middle School now has a skateboarding club thanks to 8th grade math teacher Chris Spisak, principal Ginger Carabine, parent Kelly Kallina, and student Matthew Jacobs. The club gives the skateboarders at the school a place to have fun and learn skills from each other.

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BEST HALLWAY HEROES

Dulles Middle School “Hallway Heroes” make sure their campus is bully-free by patrolling the hallways during class changes and lunchtime to support the school’s “No place for hate” efforts. DMS counselors sponsor the group.

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Devon Tomlinson with his dad Brent Tomlinson. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Martino)

BEST HEARTFELT MOMENT

Father and son reunited: Devon Tomlinson, a newly minted Eagle Scout from Troop 273, had his Eagle Court of Honor less than 24 hours after his father returned from his third tour of Afghanistan. Brent Tomlinson, Devon’s father, is also an Eagle Scout.

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Rebecca Welty earned a scholarship to the Art Institute’s culinary program.

BEST TEEN CHEF

Lamar Consolidated High School senior Rebecca Welty was named 2012 Best Teen Chef at the Art Institute of Austin. Her culinary efforts earned her a $15,000 scholarship to the Art Institute’s culinary program. Rebecca was judged on knife skills, safety and sanitation, mise en place (having the proper ingredients ready to cook), cooking techniques and clean-up, taste and flavor, texture and doneness, portion size, temperature and presentation.

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Eleven-year-old Selena Packard was named 2012 Sugar Land Junior Superstar.

BEST RISING JUNIOR STAR

Eleven-year-old Selena Packard was named 2012 Sugar Land Junior Superstar in her second year in the competition. Packard impressed the audience and judges with her rendition of Barbara Streisand’s “Don’t Rain on My Parade.”

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BEST TEEN MISS CONTESTANTS

Niki Noblett and Brandee Mills competed as scholarship pageant contestants in Miss Teen Texas. Niki, titleholder of Teen Miss Sugar Land and Brandee, titleholder of Miss Teen Fort Bend County, sang and danced respectively in Miss Teen Texas.

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Jillian Ross, a 2012 Coca-Cola Regional Scholar.

BEST REGIONAL SCHOLAR

Jillian Ross, a graduate of Clements High, was selected as a Class of 2012 Regional Coca-Cola Scholar finalist (the program’s 24th Class of Coca Cola Scholars). Ross was chosen out of 2,200 semifinalists and received a $10,000 scholarship.

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BEST ALUMNI

T. J. Ford, NBA player and Willowridge High alumnus, hosted the 6th annual “Wall of Honor Banquet” along with the Wall of Honor Board of Directors. The theme was “Class and Character Personified.” Twenty-five honorees consisting of former Willowridge students, teachers and community supporters were inducted in the Wall of Honor for their class.

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BEST IN FOOTBALL

The Hightower Hurricanes were a force to be reckoned with during the 2011-2012 school year. This mighty high school football team earned a season score of 13-2 with notable quarterback Bralon Addison leading the way. They bid a fond farewell to Coach Barry Abercrombie and welcomed Coach Padraic McGinnis to the team, along with new Executive Athletic Director Philip O’Neal.

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BEST RISING STAR

Fifteen-year-old Ridgepoint High sophomore Lauryn Harris was named 2012 Sugar Land Superstar in her first-ever public competition. She won against nine other contestants with her rendition of Adele’s version of “Lovesong” by The Cure.


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