BEST of Fort Bend – 2013
Best Humanitarians Of The Year
BOB AND CAROLE BROWN
Bob and Carole Brown are two of the most familiar faces in Fort Bend County and are synonymous with philanthropy. Both have been active volunteers in the community for many years and have served on boards such as Child Advocates, Fort Bend Corps, Sugar Land Heritage Foundation and American Heart Association. Their charitable generosity is unparalleled, and when they attend a fundraising event there is an added element of fun, as they typically try to outbid each other! The business and civic endeavors of Bob and Carole Brown exemplify the heart of humanitarianism as well as the Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self.”
Best 100th Birthday Celebration
Few celebrate such a momentous occasion. Annie Steinocher celebrated her 100th birthday among friends and neighbors, along with Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels staff and volunteers, Fort Bend Garden staff, Rosenberg Mayor Vincent Morales, and others who came to sing and celebrate with this very special lady. We salute you, Annie. Happy 100th and many more!
Savannah Berry’s extraordinary talent has taken her from her upbringing in Missouri City all the way to the hit reality television show, The Voice. With fans like Blake Shelton and Kelly Clarkson, there’s little doubt that she is a rising star. Though she didn’t win the ultimate prize in the competition, Savannah’s stint as a contestant on The Voice gained her supporters both nationally and locally. She now performs with some of the biggest stars on the Texas scene at venues across the state, as well as the national music scene. Savannah plans to continue performing and writing music in order to produce a full album.
Best Art Venue Grand Opening
IMPERIAL ARTS CENTER FOR THE ARTS
The new Imperial Arts | Center for the Arts grand opening at its new home in Historic Downtown Rosenberg was THE art opening of the year. The new facility includes The Imperial Theatre, The Imperial Gallery, The Imperial Arts Academy and other space which make it a first class arts venue for Fort Bend County. Guests enjoyed the festivities with a special show by opening artist, Matt Manalo.
Best Marriage Proposal
SARAH YOST AND ANDREW PENCAK
Every Thanksgiving for the rest of their lives Sarah Yost and Andrew Pencak will be especially thankful, because the holiday weekend produced a memory they will treasure. Sarah’s parents had been visiting from Kentucky. On their last night, they were invited to dinner at the Sugar Land home of Andrew’s parents. With Andrew’s planning, they had strung Christmas lights all over their house — and on the roof in particular. That evening, Andrew invited everyone outside to admire the holiday decor. As Sarah walked out, she suddenly noticed that 3-foot-high lights on the roof spelled out “MARRY ME.” Instantly in tears, she replied, “Of course!”
Best Education Gala
FORT BEND EDUCATION FOUNDATION GALA
The 20th annual Education Foundation Gala entitled “Once Upon a Time” held at the Sugar Land Marriott Hotel was the most fabulous gala of the year. The revelers held court in a medieval kingdom filled with dragons, knights and court jesters and enjoyed fabulous fare, spirited dancing and lively entertainment provided by the band Password. The annual gala is the primary source of revenue to fund grants to FBISD teachers and schools and no matter what the theme, it always serves up lots of fun.
Best Record-Breaking 10th Anniversary
SUGAR LAND WINE & FOOD AFFAIR
Irresistible foods, wines, celebrity chefs, mixology and merriment marked the 10th year of the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair. The event broke multiple records in efforts to support a permanent scholarship endowment at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the U of H. The Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair pulled out all the stops setting a record in number of attendees, escalating more than 20 percent over previous years. The line-up of events was propelled to new heights, featuring wine and spirits seminars hosted by big personalities, award-winning chefs and live cooking demonstrations from celebrity chefs.
Best Helping Hand For The Homeless
At least once a week, Fort Bend County resident Rachel Brannan visits some of the most destitute areas of Houston to deliver supplies that she has collected, and to befriend those who live on the city’s streets. Known as Rachel’s Homeless Homies, the name represents the informal organization she runs to collect and deliver basic necessities of life to those living on the streets or in shelters. Rachel says her motivation for this work is simple. “My goal is to make the people I deliver to feel loved and special. I want them to know they have not been forgotten.”
Best Citizen Satisfaction
CITY OF SUGAR LAND
Citizens of Sugar Land gave high marks to public safety and quality of life in a statistically valid Citizen Satisfaction Survey last year. The telephone survey program offers direct feedback from residents in such areas as water bill questions, response to water and sewer service and police and fire safety in the community. City Manager Allen Bogard says, “Since we began conducting these surveys in 2004, the city has received high ratings on almost all factors rated, with steady and significant increases in quality of life, emergency preparedness, public safety, crime prevention, overall city services, mobility and employee courtesy and professionalism with citizens.” Way to go, Sugar Land!
Mahi is certainly a photogenic pooch who obviously loves coconuts! Well, Mahi, we are coco-NUTS about YOU!! Good doggie!!
Best Up-And-Coming Country Singer
An up-and-coming country artist from Sugar Land, Katie Armiger recently released her newest album, Fall Into Me. Armiger has topped multiple music charts on Amazon, iTunes and Billboard’s Heatseekers chart. She has also toured with prominent country artists like Kellie Pickler, Eli Young Band, Darius Rucker and Josh Turner to name a few. How does one even obtain such opportunities? Armiger said, “If you want to pursue singing country music, I would recommend getting into songwriting and maybe moving to a place where you can do demos and meet with producers and songwriters. Just really keep at it.” Great advice, Katie, and best of luck from your hometown fans!
Best Bike Ride
SCHLUMBERGER EDUCATION EXPEDITION
The Fort Bend Education Foundation held its 10th Annual Schlumberger Education Expedition bike ride with more than 600 riders gathering at Hightower High School for this BP MS 150 recommended ride. As a result of this successful event, $22,000 will benefit Fort Bend Education Foundation. Grants from the foundation enrich and enhance the quality of education for all Fort Bend ISD students. Rest stops/lunch were staffed by volunteers including teachers and students from FBISD schools who were vying for the Best Rest Stop award. Taking top honors this year was the Dulles High School Student Council. Riders enjoyed lunch as well as great music following the ride
Best Frank Adams Award Winner
Texana volunteer Eileen McDowell received the Frank M. Adams Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service at the Texas Council of Community Centers’ Annual Conference in Dallas. The award is given to a volunteer who distinguishes herself or himself as a person who loves, cares and shows compassion for people with intellectual disabilities. Known “The Art Lady” at the Rosenberg Learning Center, Eileen has volunteered at Texana Center for over 16 years. She was the founder of the arts and crafts Program in the Texana Learning Centers at both Missouri City and Rosenberg and has recruited several others to volunteer.
Best Charity Brunch
FORT BEND SPRING BRUNCH
Friends of the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center: A Special Project of the Children’s Museum of Houston, gathered at the home of Manmeet and Paul Likhari to celebrate the 10th Annual Fort Bend Spring Brunch. Chaired by Debbie Fash, Jan Leaman, Rachel Leaman, and Charlene Pate, the event was a resounding success raising more than $15,000 for the Museum’s Outreach Programs in Fort Bend County. The brunch spotlighted the ongoing capital campaign to make the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center a reality in
ARC OF FORT BEND COUNTY
The Arc of Fort Bend County’s “Best in the West” 36th annual fundraiser raffled off a Mercedes convertible roadster replica as part of the iconic evening. The Mercedes was just one of many luxury items that raised money for the privately funded nonprofit, which assists individuals with intellectual and related developmental disabilities. The western-themed event included a barbecue dinner provided by the Swinging Door, dance melodies by the The Triumphs, and the entertaining auctioneering efforts of Commissioner James Patterson.
Best Sugar Land Junior Superstar
Sugar Land Town Square hosted its 3rd Annual Sugar Land Junior Superstar competition to spotlight local youth talent in Fort Bend County. Fifteen contestants competed in the American Idol-like competition, and the judges named 9-year-old Gabriela Sanchez the 2013 Sugar Land Junior Superstar.
Her first year in the competition, Sanchez impressed the audience and judges with her rendition of Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On.” As winner, Sanchez won a prize package with gift certificates from participating Sugar Land Town Square retailers, and won the opportunity to perform at a Sugar Land Town Square event.
Best Young Artist
Dulles High School student Michelle Huang has already earned some of youth art’s most coveted titles. First, in middle school when she placed at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo; As a high school freshman, she received a Gold Seal, the highest Visual Art Scholastic Event (VASE) award, sponsored by the Texas Art Education Association, for her painting, “Distant”; Her sophomore year, her painting “Resist The Chasm” won a $1,000 cash prize in the Culture Shapers visual arts contest; and her most recent work, an oil painting, “Call of the Plains” won the annual Congressional Art Show Competition and will be on display in the U.S. Capitol for a year.
Best Autistic Teen Artist
The Texas Senate recognized 17-year-old Grant Manier for his outstanding achievements as an artist. Grant is a student at FOCUS Academy who has been diagnosed with autism. He has taken what some deem to be a disability and made it a strength by applying his unique skills and talents as an eco-artist to the creation of his art. He has developed a sizable following and has inspired countless people with his strength of spirit and his dedication to his craft. The Senate of the State of Texas, 83rd Legislature, commended Grant on his exemplary determination, positive outlook, and his creative endeavors.
Best Junior Service League Award Winners
FORT BEND ARTREACH
The Fort Bend Junior Service League awarded a $5,000 Community Assistance Fund Grant to Fort Bend ARTreach, which will be used to support Fort Bend volunteer training programs and help expand health programs serving seniors, as well as art and creative writing programs supporting literacy in the foster care community.
Fort Bend ARTreach’s mission is to support the development, funding and delivery of specialized art programs and services to underserved populations including children at risk, the elderly and disabled in Fort Bend, Harris and Waller Count.
Best Mardi Gras Party
CENTRAL FORT BEND CHAMBER ALLIANCE
The Central Fort Bend Chamber Alliance held its Sixth Annual Mardi Gras Party at Legacy Ford in Rosenberg on Fat Tuesday of this past year. More than 350 people attended and enjoyed a festive bon temp along with live Cajun music.
Best Gold Award Winners
CAROLYN RAMIREZ, SHAMA TEJANI AND SARAH JOANNE MUNSON
Ambassador Girl Scouts Carolyn Ramirez, Shama Tejani and Sarah JoAnne Munson of New Territory Rainbow Stars Service Unit-Troop 138 completed their Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement a Girl Scout can earn, symbolizing outstanding accomplishments in the areas of leadership, community service and advocacy which involves a year’s work, including a minimum of 80 hours of planning and leading a project that benefits and has a long-term impact on the girl’s community.
Best Body-Building Minister
When Alex Kinion looks back on his life, he sees that God had a plan for him, though he never could have known it early on. He was meant to minister, to teach, to help others reach a better place. Whether he’s sharing the gospel, winning bodybuilding competitions, performing soul-stirring music or simply enjoying his family and beloved pets, he knows he is living his purpose. With a prison ministry, a fitness ministry, a music ministry, a gift for animal training and a wife and three kids to tend to, this award-winning, body-building man of God embraces his many callings and loves his life of service.
Best Bone-In Rib Eye
No doubt about it, in our book Veritas serves up the very best Bone-In Rib Eye ever. Proudly serving Creekstone Farms USDA Prime, their rib eye is grilled to perfection every time. The aroma and soft, juicy flavor of the meat paired with crispy, spicy onion rings just can’t be beat. Executive Chef Alex Mendoza creates art in his dishes, and whether you enjoy your Rib Eye on the veranda with its lake views, in the private wine cellar or the elegant dining room, you’ll be welcomed as family and fed as royalty. And that’s the Truth! Veritas!
Best Beef Tenderloin
Twenty-five years ago, Nicaraguan native and famous chef Michael Cordua opened Churrascos and sparked Houston’s Latin American revolution. The flame is still burning strong, especially if you’re craving beef tenderloin. Basted in chimichurri sauce and served with cracked new potatoes, grilled veggies and béarnaise sauce, this tenderloin is top-notch. Finish off with the award-winning The Original™ Tres Leches cake for melt-in-your-mouth sweet satisfaction. The entire Churrascos menu mixes native Latin ingredients with the unexpected for a culinary line-up that is as artful as it is delightful, which is why they’ve been a favorite of ours since they opened their first location in Bellaire.
Best Happy Hour
The happiest of Happy Hours around town is at Mia Bella. Every Monday–Friday from 3-7 p.m. the special drink and menu items are priced right, and offer a variety of choices. We recommend the Shrimp Pomodoro as some of the freshest we’ve ever tasted. Drinks, too, are plentiful, and are only $3 for wells, wines, martinis and bellinis. Tuesdays feature 20-to-50 percent off wine bottles and every Wednesday is ladies’ night where happy hour is from 4 p.m. until closing. Yes… very, very happy!
There’s more to Berryhill than Tex-Mex cuisine and we found it in the bar! Their margaritas are muy bueno, whether you prefer one of the fresh-squeezed lime options: Lupe’s Original Rita or the Strawberry Rita; or the Berry Margarita made with berry liqueur, fresh berries and tequila. The sweet-tart taste of the frozen or on-the-rocks concoctions at Berry Hill will satisfy your taste for a South-of-the-Border libation. There is even a “skinny” margarita option. As they say at Berryhill, “Es Preety Goood!”
Best Dessert Menu
If your sweet tooth is sounding off, then head over to BLU where you’ll find Fort Bend’s Best Desserts. Whether you love our favorite, the Banana-Rum Raisin Bread Pudding, or one of the other tantalizing treats like their Molten Chocolate Cake, Apple-Pecan Cobbler, New York Cheesecake Tempura or Vanilla Bean and Kahlua Crème Brulee, you’ll be astounded with the authenticity of flavor you encounter. Executive Chef Junnajet “Jett” Hurapam and his wife, Pastry Chef Jiraporn, prepare everything from scratch and only with the freshest ingredients. No wonder we keep going back for more!
The absolute best pizza we’ve found is at Grimaldi’s. Why’s that? Well, it could be their experience — over 100 years of traditions. Or it might be the coal-fired brick ovens — offering a unique flavor and a crisp crust that is just not possible from gas, convection or wood burning ovens. Or maybe it’s the ingredients — all fresh, with handmade mozzarella and secret dough and sauce recipes. Or it might just be that Grimaldi’s is just plain passionate about pizza. Whichever the case, we love it and know that you will, too!
Best Pan-Seared Bass
Renowned for his mastery of French classical and Bistro cooking, Chef Frederic Perrier has been widely recognized for his creativity and inventive nature, most recently at Aura, where he’s blended innovative American with an “inch of French.” We want to recognize him for his Pan-Seared Bass. Nowhere else have we encountered such a savory flavored fresh cut of fish, delectably pan-seared and topped with sweet lump crab meat, served with a side of corn risotto and saffron butter. And if you prefer land to sea, you’ll love the Duck Confit or the Lamb Chops. Bon appétit!
Schools & Youth
Best Teen Neurology Intern
Aakash Jacob, a Hightower High School student and a member of FBISD’s Medical Science Academy, has obtained some impressive research internships. One is at Rice University where for three years he’s been doing research and co-authored a paper published in a professional medical journal.
Best Middle School Math And Science Champions
QUAIL VALLEY RAIDERS
Ninety-three students from Quail Valley Middle School traveled to Clear Lake High School to compete in the Texas Math and Science Coaches Association practice competition. Members of the “Raider” math team, representing students in grades 6-8, competed in number sense, calculator, general math and general science. They received first place in general math and general science, and second place in number sense and calculator, earning them the Sweepstakes competition title. The team coaches are Gwen Curtice and Don Simmons.
Best High School Soccer Player
Bush High School senior Bryan Salazar signed a professional contract with the Houston Dynamo. Bryan played on the Bush soccer team during his freshman and sophomore years and has been training as a forward with the Dynamo Academy since age 12. He will join the two-time Major League Soccer Cup Champion Dynamo team after he graduates from Bush in June. Awesome kicks, Bryan!
Best Math Team
FORT SETTLEMENT MIDDLE SCHOOL
Fort Settlement Middle School students continued the legacy and tradition of math mastery after winning the 2013 Texas State Mathcounts Competition. The FSMS team included Eric Li, Kevin Rao, Jefferson Ren, Byron Xu, and Coach Kenneth Lee.
Li, an eighth-grader, became the newest Texas Mathcounts champion defeating more than 280 middle school students. Li ranked first in both the written test (with a perfect score) and the countdown round. Also placing was FSMS’ Byron Xu (fourth place). The FSMS team also earned the third-place team trophy after competing against 70 other teams. Kevin Rao ranked 23rd and Jefferson Ren placed 42nd in the competition.
Best Youth Volunteer
When 18-year-old Trevor Schnupp was named The Jhin Family Youth Volunteer of the Year, an award given through the Children’s Museum of Houston, he was surprised. As a 13-year-old, he joined The Discovery Squad, the museum’s junior group of volunteers and has been making an impact with his ability to quickly connect with the kids he was helping. “I’m glad that I’ve been able to be part of a fine organization where the children of our community have a great place to learn. To go out and work in a community and then be able to see the results is so rewarding,” Trevor said.
Best Female High School Tennis Player
Clements High School senior tennis player Ansley Boarman signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Abilene Christian University, earning a scholarship to play for the Wildcats. In July 2012, she won the Raveneaux Junior Singles Championship Girls’ 18 singles. In April, she qualified for the Texas State UIL tennis tournament in Girls’ Doubles with CHS student Laura Cardno. In February, she won the Deer Park Championship Major Zone Girls’ 18 singles; and in September 2011, she won the Golfcrest Junior Open Girls’ 16 singles. She is also listed on the Tennis Recruiting.net Prince Hot 100 List, and is currently ranked No. 23 in the state of Texas on
the tennisrecruiting.net website. Go Ansley!
Best High School Scholar
The National Society of High School Scholars selected Hightower High School student Marisa Stephens as a member of the organization that recognizes top scholars who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, scholarship, and community commitment. There are more than 830,000 Society members in approximately 160 countries. Marisa most definitely exemplifies the qualities required for this elite group of high school scholars. Congratulations on your recognition, Marisa!
Best Eagle Scout Rank Brothers
CAMERON AND BRANDON BULLOCK
The Bullock brothers, Cameron and Brandon, from Boy Scout Troop 1195, both received their Eagle Scout rank during a Court of Honor held on the same day. The boys’ single mom, Lauralee, was the force behind her boys’ progress and ability to finish ahead of deadline. She shares, “I am very proud of what they’ve accomplished with all they’ve done, all the leadership training they’ve learned and all that they are going to do to succeed.”
Best High School Oil Industry Champs
FOSTER HIGH SCHOOL ENERGY QUEST TEAM
For the third year in a row, the Foster High School Energy Quest team traveled to downtown Houston to compete against schools from all over Houston in a quiz-like competition centered on life in the oil industry. Foster remains the only school to ever win the competition. Put together three years ago by Foster physics teacher Janie Head, this year’s 17-member team took on an extra work load to prepare for the quiz game and secure their winning streak. Though the competition gets increasingly harder, in the end, Foster earned the highest score of the day: 74 out of 80 points. Well done, Foster!
Best Swim Team State Competitors
FIRST COLONY SWIM
First Colony Swim team participated in the Texas Age Group State Championship last March, taking 15th place out of 70 teams from around the state of Texas. Leading the way were Darrin Asphall and Ashley Harmon, who both achieved new NCSA Junior National Cuts, moving them up to a new level in their swimming. FCST also had eight swimmers qualify top 8: Darrin Asphall, 1,000-yard Free, 200-yard Free, 500-yard Free, and 1,650-yard Free; Brittany Bui, 200-yard Fly; Ashley Harmon, 200 Yard Fly; Carlos Monteagudo, 1,000-yard Free and 1,650-yard Free; Thuc Nguyen, 50-yard Breast; Bryan Pan, 500-yard Free, 200-yard Free, 100-yard Fly; Peyton Quattlebaum, 1,000-yard Free; and Barrett Roberts, 200-yard Back.
Best High School Student Playing Two Sports At A&M
Terry High School’s Derrick Griffin not only played in the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl last Jan. 5 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, but he was a pre-season All-Houston selection in football and also a pre-season All Houston selection in basketball. Derrick additionally committed to play both sports at Texas A&M University. A wide receiver, he was selected by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Committee, which consists of All American Games’ network of regional directors and Rivals.com. This really guy knows how to handle a ball!
Best National Video Contest Winners
DAVID CROCKETT MIDDLE SCHOOL BROADCAST STUDENTS
Broadcast students at David Crockett Middle School submitted three entries into the nationwide VBrick Student Video Contest, with one of their video projects taking first-place honors in the “Your School’s Story” category.
The broadcast program won an iPad for its 5-minute DCMS Open House video highlighting what the school has to offer in terms of classes, fine arts, athletics, clubs and other activities. Second-year broadcast student Brittany Onwenu developed the theme for the winning entry. First-year student Michael Duran was the lead actor in the short film.
Best Algebra Champions
AUSTIN HIGH SCHOOL AND SARTARTIA MIDDLE SCHOOL
Fort Bend ISD hosted its 5th Annual Algebra I Quiz Bowl giving students the opportunity to match their math skills against peers throughout the district. Sponsored by FBISD’s Educational Technology and Math Departments, the Quiz Bowl offered two divisions of competition, a high school level and a middle school level. Utilizing video conferencing technology, opposing teams from across the district were able to compete “face-to-face” by solving and answering algebra questions. After several challenging rounds, Austin High School triumphed at the high school division, and Sartartia Middle School was named winner of the middle school division.
Best White House Silver Eagle Award Winners
KEMPNER HIGH SCHOOL HEALTH SCIENCE TECH CLASS
For the fourth consecutive year, Kempner High School’s Health Science Technology II class was honored with the White House Silver Eagle award for hosting its annual blood drive that harvested 763 units of blood. The Silver Eagle award is the highest honor a teenager can merit from the White House. The 2013 class record harvest surpassed that of previous classes and set records in both Fort Bend and Harris counties. The units of blood will benefit St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital’s blood bank, under the direction of Craig Valiare, and will be used to support Dr. Denton Cooley’s team of heart surgeons at the hospital’s Heart Institute.
Best High School Navy JROTCs
BUSH HIGH SCHOOL NAVY JROTC &
AUSTIN HIGH SCHOOL NAVY JROTC
For the 11th consecutive year, Bush High School Navy JROTC cadets earned the first place Overall award for their outstanding performance at the Fort Bend ISD Drill and Skills Competition. The competition invited all FBISD JROTC Drill Units to enter the competition and demonstrate their skills. Units were evaluated on Personal Appearance, Armed and Unarmed Drill, Color Guard Demonstration, and Physical Fitness prowess.
Bush cadets earned the 1st Place Overall award after receiving first place in the following areas of competition: Armed and Unarmed Drill, Male Color Guard Demonstration and Female Color Guard Demonstration.
The Stephen F. Austin High School Navy Junior ROTC was awarded the 2012-13 Distinguished Unit Award with Academic Honors by the United States Navy for outstanding performance during the past school year. Of the 57 Navy Junior Officer Training Corps Programs within the state of Texas, Stephen F. Austin was ranked seventh. This is the unit’s ninth consecutive award and 11th in the unit’s history.
Selection factors are weighted mostly towards the unit’s annual inspection posture, scholastic achievement, participation in drill and field meets and their overall military performance, community service, school support and academic performance. The unit also must have demonstrated success in competitive events including drill team, color guard, marksmanship, physical fitness and academic team. Being designated a Distinguished Unit is the highest recognition that an individual NJROTC Unit can receive.
Best Persuasive Writer
Natalia Kapacinskas, a student at Fort Bend Christian Academy, received a silver medal for persuasive writing in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards of 2013, presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. Of the 230,000 submissions received, fewer than 1 percent were recognized on the national level. Natalia was also recognized at this year’s National Celebration at Carnegie Hall in New York City on May 31. The awards are the country’s most prestigious recognition program for creative teenagers, with 2013 marking the 90th anniversary. Look for more great things from this impressive young woman.
Best High School Cadet Commander
Samantha Guerrero’s family history is steeped in military service and she grew up fascinated by all the stories. “My first step was joining JROTC, and I don’t regret any minute of it,” Samantha recalled.
A Travis HS senior and Cadet Commander for the school’s Marine Corps JROTC, Samantha has excellent grades and a list of awards and accomplishments that could fill a marine barracks. She was selected to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum on National Security and visited Arlington National Cemetery as one of four students chosen to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Best Special Olympics Medal Winners
The Richmond State Supported Living Center was the site of Area 22 Special Olympics equestrian competition. Competitors from Special Friends Equestrian Team of Friendswood, Turn-N-Burn of Pearland and the Dream Team from Huntington Stables joined riders from SIRE to participate in the fun-filled day. Horses and riders competed in such diverse events as showmanship, barrel racing, trail, western equitation and English equitation. Six SIRE riders — David, Sebastian, Archie, Dana, Thomas and Kevin— accounted for 18 gold, silver and bronze medals.
Best FBISD Baseball Record
DULLES HIGH SCHOOL
The Dulles High School Vikings baseball team advanced in the playoffs, eventually earning a spot at the 5A State Championship game in Round Rock at Dell Stadium. While they ultimately lost the championship game to The Woodlands High School, the DHS Vikings ended the season with an impressive record of 32 wins and eight losses.
Varsity team members include: Dallas Johnson, Preston Clarke, Josh Austin, Caden Williams, Matt McGee, Cameron Calhoun, Jesse Ramirez, Darryn Sheppard, Zack Belski, Eric Johnson, Brian Harvey, Nick Hernandez, Alex Merchant, Kishan Patel, Coleman Butler, Jaylen Hubbard, Dakota Mills, John Alvarez and Dillon Dinges. The coaching staff includes head coach Clinton Welch, Larry Cernoch and Mike Dutka, and trainer Thomas Phillips.
Best One-Act Play Champs
TRAVIS HIGH SCHOOL THEATER STUDENTS
Travis High School won its second state championship of 2013 when theater students performed scenes from Israel Horovitz’s “Unexpected Tenderness” at University Interscholastic League (UIL) one-act play competition last May in Austin. Jon Rivenburg, a senior, won best actor, while Shea Peterson was named to the All Star Cast and Andrea Rodriquez and Carrissa Carney received honorable mentions. Rivenburg also won the Samuel French Award for acting. This was the 87th annual state one-act play contest with THS ultimately competing against seven other 5A high schools for the state title
Best High School Wrestling Champ
With a name like Nguyen (pronounced “win”), he seemed destined to be a champion. Wrestling at 120 lbs., Jonny finished the season with a record of 32 wins against two losses and won both the District and Regional championships in his class on the way to the state tournament in Austin. 2013 marked the second year that Nguyen wrestled for Foster. He also wrestled for eight years in Iowa. Coach (Jeff) Rayome said of Nguyen’s dedication, “Every day he wrote the same thing in his journal: Be State Champion. It is that focus that sets him apart.”
Best Reserve Grand Champion
RACHAEL FAYE BECKER
Foster High School student Rachael Faye Becker is the Reserve Grand Champion at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo School Art Show. Her piece, “Peek-a-Boot,” was the second lot in the auction at Reliant Arena. Students advancing to the auction are guaranteed a minimum scholarship of $2,500 and a maximum scholarship of $30,000 based on the amount of money bid. Proceeds help fund scholarships awarded to students by the HLSR. Nice work, Rachael!
Best District Spellers
RAHUL KILAMBI AND ANNA BROOKS
Fort Bend ISD students Rahul Kilambi, an eighth-grader at Sartartia Middle School, and Anna Brooks, a fifth-grader at Pecan Grove Elementary School, were named winners of the District Spelling Bee. As winners, they had the opportunity to compete against area district winners at the Houston PBS Spelling Bee, which was held in March at the University of Houston.
Best Goethe-Institute Contest Winner
MADISON “MADDY” REESE
A student at Clements High School, Madison was one of 10 winners of the Goethe-Institut’s Award of Excellence contest. She was among 15,000 high school students from the U.S. and Canada to participate in the contest, which asked participants to view a video titled “Beyond Autobahn,” which focused on German automotive culture, and answer quiz questions relating to the video.
Best Local Baseball Players On Regional Team
KADEN KRAM AND JOHN HENDERSON
Kaden Kram and John Henderson, students at Fort Bend Christian Academy, earned spots on the 16-player roster of the 2013 USA Texas Region National Team Identification Series baseball team, representing South Texas and Louisiana. Both were selected from more than 100 players at a tryout and played a national tournament in Raleigh, N.C., with over 250 players from across the country, showcasing the players in front of USA Baseball scouts. During the NTIS, Kaden pitched three shutout innings against USA Northwest and caught in all three games the USA South Texas team played against the Northwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Great Lakes regions. John was showcased at first base.
Best Elementary Math And Science Competition Champions
Colony Meadows Elementary School (CME) Math Masters participated in the Texas Math and Science Coaches Association (TMSCA) competition on January 19 at Klein Oak High School. The students competed against students from 27 other Houston-area schools, matching their skills in four tests: Number Sense (mental math), Calculator, Mathematics, and Science. After intense competition, the team earned multiple awards including: 1st place Sweepstakes Trophy for “Best Overall” results; 1st place team award in “Number Sense;” 1st place team award in “Calculator;” and 1st place team award in “General Math.”
The talented mathletes also earned 21 individual trophies and ribbons for placing in the Top 20 of each test. Team member Andrew Cai also earned a Best Individual Top Gun Award. The CME Math Masters meet regularly to prepare for elementary and middle school math contests.
Best Bravery Award Winner
Ben Nguyen, a Kempner High School sophomore and member of Boy Scout Troop 911-Sugar Land, was honored with an Award of Bravery from the Sam Houston Area Council in recognition of his immediate response to assisting his grandmother for shock after she lost consciousness at a family dinner. Nguyen was prepared by having earned his First Aid, Emergency Preparedness and Lifesaving merit badges.
Best Under Armour All American Baseball Player
Stone Garrett, outfielder for George Ranch High School, was selected to participate in the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game. The Under Armour All-America Baseball Game, powered by Baseball Factory, was played at Wrigley Field in August 2013. The game aired live nationally on MLB Network and showcased 36 of the best high school players, competing in an American vs. National team match-up. The players were selected by a committee of Baseball Factory scouts. For Stone, playing at Wrigley Field and across the country on MLB Network was an opportunity for exposure on the national level.