Founded in 1987, Fort Bend Christian Academy is a premier pre-kindergarten through grade 12 private, collegepreparatory Christian school located on a 35-acre campus in the heart of Sugar Land, Texas. College-preparatory academics, award-winning competitive sports, State championship fine arts, local, national and global service opportunities . . . we are FBCA! Fort Bend Christian Academy exists to glorify God through excellence in college-preparatory Christian education. FBCA Magazine is published by the Department of Communications and Marketing. We welcome student and alumni news. Contact us at FBCA Magazine, P.O. Box 112, Sugar Land, TX 77487-0112, email@example.com, 281-263-9175. www.fortbendchristian.org
Board of Trustees
Kim Rice, Brittney Byrd
Brittney Byrd, Sarah Fiore, Robert Sanders
Trey Hendershot, President • Alicia Scala, Vice President Jeff Smith, Secretary • Josh LaRocca, Treasurer Joe Davis • Jessica DeMarr-Williams • Terrence Gee Chris Roberts
Design and Production 3inOne Design
Since its inception, Fort Bend Christian Academy has existed to “glorify God through excellence in college-preparatory Christian education.” For decades, distinguished teams of faculty, staff and administration have had the privilege to impact children, inspire young minds and teach students how to think intellectually and independently as a Christian. As I reflect upon our school year, these words of our mission statement could not ring truer. The accomplishments FBCA has experienced are clear in many different facets of school life.
From pre-k to 12th grade, FBCA exists to nurture and cultivate students spiritually, academically, personally, socially, emotionally and physically for the glory of God. We see evidence of this in every classroom on campus and also in programs such as Senior-Kinder Buddies, where senior and kindergarten students are paired and have opportunities throughout the academic year to build friendships. To mention that this experience is often the highlight of a school day for kindergarten and senior students alike is an understatement! The beauty, despite the age difference, is the element of community and comradery that exists and the privilege for student leaders on campus to invest in our younger generations.
Just the same that FBCA exists to disciple children and adolescents by modeling and teaching the love and character of Christ, so too does it exist to challenge and inspire young minds. Our Class of 2017 continues to experience wonderful successes in the college admissions process to an extensive variety of colleges and universities, including Cornell University, University of Southern California, University of Texas, Duke University, New York University, Wheaton University, Vanderbilt University and Rice University, to name a few. Simultaneously, FBCA had a record number of students accepted to the Duke University Talent Identification Program in seventh grade, and one senior named as a National Merit Scholar out of competition with 1.6 million students nationwide this school year. These achievements are the mark of a mature and established educational program
that challenges students to think critically and thoughtfully while understanding how to decipher information and independently reason with peers in and out of the classroom.
God has given our students exceptional talents and abilities and teachers in all three divisions embrace the privilege to grow and develop our students holistically in many different areas. Our athletic teams continue to excel in competition. The Fine Art program has recently produced several spectacular spring concerts and a remarkable school musical entitled “Peter Pan JR,” casted by fifth through 12th grade students. The new art pavilion on the upper school campus has introduced new and extraordinary opportunities for students to explore creativity and produce art pieces for local and national competitions. In all endeavors, God is using our accomplished faculty and staff to foster the amazing talents of our students.
For 30 years, Fort Bend Christian Academy has maintained its vision of becoming one of the premier independent schools in the nation, and I submit that we are as close as ever before. FBCA is committed to a superior academic experience centered on a Christian approach to learning and will unapologetically continue to challenge our students to think more deeply about subject matter, to explore and invest in their God-given interests and abilities and to develop mature Christian scholars in modern society. May God always guide our school to inspire students to believe, achieve and lead for His glory.
Joshua Gettys, M.Ed. Upper School Principal
THE COMEBACK OF
From Concussion to TAPPS Theatre State Champion
“Winning it all after the disappointing junior year was one of the greatest feelings I ever had, and I will definitely cherish the memory of performing that show and winning state for the rest of my life.”
7 At both TAPPS district and state competition, senior Ethan Walker won All-Star Actor, an award that is only given to 12 actors.
While at Fort Bend Christian Academy, Walker has performed in many
plays including: The Audition, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Radium Girls, You Can’t Take it With You, Drum Taps, And Then There Was One, 12 Angry Jurors and Mousetrap.
“My favorite role has either been performing detective sergeant Trotter in
Mousetrap, a killer who pretends to be a policemen, or Mr. Kholenkhov, an
eccentric Russian ballet instructor, from You Can’t Take it With You,” he
Walker has attended FBCA since middle school, and not only has he been
“the core of the theatre program” in the words of Drama & Theatre Arts
Teacher Lana Thompson, but he is also an athlete.
“I love the culture of the school and how close everyone is,” he said. “I’m
more or less friends with everyone in my grade and can hold a conversation
with anyone without feeling excluded.”
During his junior year, just days before the state theatre competition,
Walker suffered a concussion while playing football, forcing him to the side-
lines of not only football, but the state theatre competition as well.
“Knowing that I was supposed to go and compete in two days with a lead
role, and not having the physical strength or the mental capacity to do so
was a huge disappointment,” he said. “Since I was unable to perform my junior year in TAPPS One Act, I made sure to do all that I could my senior
year to make this the best performance I ever had. I took on one of the lead
roles, and I spent hours with Mrs. Thompson inside and outside of class
working on my character, going through each line finding the best way to say
them. I wanted my last competition to be my best one, and it definitely was.”
In the fall of 2016, FBCA theatre won first place at state for the first time in
“It was a huge shock when we won state,” Walker said, “but it’s not too
surprising when you realize just how talented all of the actors in the class
are, and how when we got together and put our mind to it to perform the
best we could at state that we won. Winning it all after the disappointing
junior year was one of the greatest feelings I ever had, and I will definitely
cherish the memory of performing that show and winning state for the rest
of my life.”
In April of 2017, Walker performed as a lead in FBCA’s Peter Pan JR. the
musical. Although he did not have experience with musical theatre, the role of Hook required some solos. He joked that he hoped his singing would not
be judged too harshly by the sold-out opening night crowd, but the show proved to be a hit and ended with a standing ovation.
In the fall, Walker will attend The University of Texas at Austin, and he plans to study philosophy.
His favorite actors are Benedict Cumberbatch and Leonardo DiCaprio.
“They are so entertaining, believable and have a wide range of acting ability,” he said.
Band Benjamin Kopfer
Sophomore Benjamin Kopfer ranked 1st in State in trombone for the second year in a row.
FBCA high school student Benjamin Kopfer has been playing bass trombone for five years and has only been in the FBCA band for two years, but already his musical abilities make him stand out amongst the best. He was ranked 1st in State and was invited to participate in the Texas Private School Music Educators Association (TPSMEA) All-State Band for the second year in a row. “It was a big accomplishment making it two years in a row to All-State,” Kopfer said. “I love the competition! It was an exciting time of rehearsing with the best students in the state. I also enjoy the conductors who have much experience.” The conductor this year was Jack Delaney, Director of Bands and Professor of Music at the Meadows School of the Arts of Southern Methodist University. Kopfer said Delaney had very high expectations for all the band members which caused the band to sound its best. “The performance sounded beautiful, and it is something that I will always
FBCA high school student, Annalise Edwards, illustrated a children’s book, “Oscar and Emmy Get Rescued,” which is available for purchase on Amazon.
The book follows two cats on their journey from being born to a stray to being rescued by an animal shelter and then adopted by a loving family. The book will continue as a series, with the goals of educating children and adults on the rescue process and promoting pet adoption.
The author, Terri Sabol, a friend of a friend, looked at some of Anna’s artwork and contacted her requesting a sample page and detailed what she was looking for. “She loved my depiction of her cats in the sample page and decided to choose me as the illustrator,” Anna said. Anna has already received many acknowledgements for her art. She received an honorable mention at TAPPS, participated in on-site drawing for TAPPS, and she won two 1st Place medals at the Fort Bend County Fair. She also won “Best of Show” at the Houston Rodeo, which allowed for her artwork to be displayed in the Hayloft Gallery and auctioned for a scholarship award. Miss Edwards is currently taking her fifth studio art class at FBCA. Each art teacher at FBCA has inspired her in a different way.
remember,” he said. FBCA Director of Bands Aaron Perez said Ben is an extraordinary musician who challenges him to be a better teacher and musician himself. “Ben is always striving to perform at his absolute best, and that is why he has been invited to play in the TPSMEA All-State Band two years in a row,” Perez said. “It is rare to see a sophomore sitting in an All-State Band. It's very rare to see a sophomore sitting in an All-State Band knowing that they made it the previous year as a freshman. Ben can be one of the few students in the state that can continue participating in the All-State Band his whole school career. It's an honor and privilege to teach Ben through the FBCA Band program.”
Choir Bethany Ostrowski
Kopfer is not only a talented musician, but he also plays for the FBCA Baseball team. He said he enjoys getting to experience the different opportunities at FBCA like Eagle Week, a week-long opportunity during the spring for high school students to participate in service and mission work locally and abroad.
“Ms. Costner has been my art teacher for the last two years, and she is a wonderful and supportive teacher who has dedicated so much of her time to help me start preparing to pursue art in college,” Anna said. “Ms. Costner has also inspired me to think outside of the box in terms of art. Mr. Selby taught me art sophomore year and introduced me to and instructed me in using my favorite medium of art, colored pencil. I took studio art in the summer before freshman year taught by Mr. Sanders, who motivated me to push artistic boundaries.” Although she is a senior and will not get much time in the new Art Pavilion, she said she is happy the arts are getting more attention. Anna has attended FBCA since she was in eighth grade, and she has been involved in many activities including the tennis team, National Honor Society, Rho Kappa, Spanish Club and more. Anna’s younger siblings Anthony, Ava and Alex also attend FBCA. “Attending the same school as my brothers and sister means I get to see them more often, and we have shared many of the same teachers,” Anna said. Considering herself a cat person, Anna illustrated “Oscar and Emmy Get Rescued” in loving memory of her favorite pets.
Bethany Ostrowski is an award-winning singer.
Fort Bend Christian Academy student Bethany Ostrowski has only been in the choir for two years, but that has not hindered her success at competition.
Under the direction of Dr. Cindy Harrison, FBCA choir competed at TAPPS Solo & Ensemble Festival at Houston Baptist University. Bethany took her favorite song, Arirang, to the competition, and it proved to be a good choice as she received 1st Place for her solo. She was also part of the Girls Trio which received 1st Place as well. The choir has been invited to perform at Walt Disney World, in Orlando, Florida, numerous times. In 2016, Bethany had the opportunity to travel with the group of singers to "the happiest place on earth". "Going to Disney was magical, not just being able to be with friends and having fun in the parks but also to sing in front of an audience of over a hundred people," she said. "Singing with a live orchestra was incredible." After graduation, Bethany, who has attended FBCA for all of her high school years, is taking a gap year and planning to work at a conservation and rehabilitation center for wild and endangered animals in South Africa. Her long-term plan is to study equestrian or go into a pre-vet program.
Art Pavilion Grand Opening FBCA celebrated the grand opening of its 7,000 square-foot Art Pavilion in April 2017 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and art demonstrations. Guests enjoyed a cupcake truck celebrating the growth of the school over the past 30 years, and students’ award-winning artwork was on display to recognize their sixth State Championship at the TAPPS Art competition. Head of School Dr. David Pitre, multiple board members, faculty, staff and families joined together for the celebration. Attendees were able to walk through the new building and see a fully-outfitted welding department with a blasting cabinet, compressor lines, a new plasma cutter, wood-working stations, Raku kiln for ceramics and more. “This equipment establishes a stronger one-to-one teaching time so students develop quality and mastery in concept, composition and execution,” Fine Arts Department Head Robert Sanders said. “The new Art
Pavilion was key in getting four pieces finished for State,” Sanders said. The Visual Arts Program at Fort Bend Christian Academy encompasses a wide variety of mediums including three-dimensional pieces, two-dimensional pieces, film and more, so students can discover their individual passions and express their creativity. “Giving students opportunities to exhibit and publish their creations and revealing to them how their art can make a difference is an important part of my profession,” Lakita Costner, FBCA Art Teacher said. “TAPPS has remained a tradition at FBCA and it was an honor to assist my students to be a part of a championship team. I believe my partnership with Mr. Sanders has abetted to build a stronger Visual Arts Department and permitting for new growth to take residence. The Art Pavilion is a great addition to benefit our students and gives us the space we need to generate a state-of-the-art Visual Arts program at FBCA.”
â€œThe Art Pavilion is a great addition to benefit our students and gives us the space we need to generate a state-of- the-art Visual Arts program at FBCA.â€?
“My photographs represent movement, but more specifically human movement in reaction to its environment. This series explores the unique essence of human action, displaying the link between being both raw and naturally occurring phenomenon, in comparison to structural or abstract movement which is very intentional, yet unresponsive. While human movement is captivating, it takes precise moments in time to be captured for results to show the awe of the subject.”
“I have discovered a whole other side of myself, one that allows me to create things from my own imagination instead of being directed by someone else. As things in my life evolve and change, I change with them, just like metamorphosis and the constant cycle of seasons. Through this transformation, I have become a more open-minded person, no longer focused solely on academics, but instead looking to see what else the world has to offer, oftentimes through my art. For this reason, I hope that my art inspires others to think outside of the box and see what kinds of transformations could come their way if they are willing to step out of their comfort zones and try something new.”
“Because I live in a large suburb in a large city it is often hard for me to escape the hurtle of mundane life. That is why when I am taking pictures I try to get as far away from sheltered life as possible. I have traversed my way through the exotic jungles of Peru all the way to the concrete jungle of inner city Houston taking photos all along the way. I chose these pictures because they portray the most genuine feelings and moments.”
“I realize it is hard to be original and leave my mark on this world without sincerely following my passion and taking pictures I deem superior, not what society deems superior. My work [explores various] themes, some have to do with topics on mental illness like depression and anxiety, while others are quite simply the beauty I experience around me. Art tends to be the leading contender that seems to light the powder keg, setting a chain reaction of emotions that rips through an intellect’s mind.”
To see the complete collection and competition results visit www.for tbendchristian.org/TAPPSstate2017
MR. MIRZA, THE POLYGLOT Robert Mirza is both an artist and linguist. Not only has he lived all over the globe, but he can speak, and therefore think, in seven languages. As a polyglot, Mirza has a deep appreciation of culture, aesthetics and the world as a whole. “I started drawing with the concept of sharing an idea at age six and I knew the importance of learning a third language at age seven,” Mirza said.
Mirza has lived in five countries including Egypt, Uruguay, Curaçao, Holland and Guadeloupe, a French overseas territory. Language, Mirza discovered, has an impact on the way people live and the choices they make—or perhaps vice versa. For example, a Dutch phrase he often heard was mag niet which means “it is not allowed,” and there are assumptions in Dutch culture about what is mag niet.
“Holland is one of the countries in the world where people are the happiest,” Mirza said. “There is a high sense of morality and universal sense of what you can do or not do which might have bad consequences for society. I have witnessed comments like: ‘If I fix my plumbing myself, then I would be partly to blame for unemployed plumbers.’ Of course that is extreme thinking, but not uncommon way of thinking in a country with lots of social benefits.”
Out of all the places he has lived or visited, Curaçao is Mirza’s favorite. During the Second World War, Curaçao was the banking
heart of Holland and the fueling station of the Allied Forces. Mirza’s family were members of the Alliance Française of Curaçao from 1968 to 2000.
“While in Curaçao, chirping birds at the porch woke me up every day, as if I were inside a children’s book,” he said. “If you are a friendly and open-minded person, you would enjoy living on a tiny island with 55 different nationalities. If after living in a place, natives embrace you and tell you that you became a local, as opposed to treating you like a stranger, the country becomes your home.”
Nevertheless, Mirza cherishes all countries he has experienced as each place has something extraordinary to offer. “In Egypt, due to the fertility of the Nile, no fruit or vegetable I ever ate anywhere on Earth tasted as good as Egyptian fruits or vegetables. The hospitality in Egypt is something that is taken very seriously, and the host always spoils his or her guests.” In Holland, Mirza noticed the excellence of transportation.
“The busses leave and arrive exactly on time. I used to bike back-and-forth to college every day without fearing that a driver would ever hit me. Street lighting is also impeccable, since Philips/Norelco/Magnavox is the country’s light bulbs company, so you never bike in the dark.”
Mirza commended Uruguay for its churrasco (beef) and the beautiful vacation spot, Punta del Este. His jovial nature is evident in his memories, as Mirza is capable of taking what many would deem annoying, such as a rooster crowing every morning in Guadeloupe, and illuminating the good—not needing an alarm clock. With such extraordinary and wonderful experiences abroad, many wonder why and how a man like Mirza ended up in Texas. The answer is simple—Mirza had the desire to teach. “It was 1979,” he said. “Besides languages, I also loved teaching art and producing art.”
Mirza has created many works of art inspired by his travels, including an oil painting of a Dutch windmill and another of a pontoon bridge in Curaçao. He had a few options of where to pursue his artistic endeavors.
“California seemed too expensive. Miami seemed dangerous. But at that time,
Houston was and still is, a booming and friendly city,” he said.
Just like his other homes, Mirza finds much to admire in the city of Houston.
“I like Houston for its cultural and religious diversity and its appreciation of art, language and international cuisine. I am also a fan of the Houston Symphonic Orchestra and the Houston Art Festival. This city is a place where you can be all you want to be.”
FBCA students admit that French is not an easy class, but Andrea Kohlenberg said he is a patient teacher. Another student, Jose Venegas, said he admired Mr. Mirza's teaching style and how he is always looking for ways to help others.
“I like the way he teaches French by comparing it to art,” Jose said. “He encourages us to keep trying even if we are having trouble.” His inspiring anecdotes engage learners, but why did Robert Mirza choose to teach at a private, Christian school?
“It’s like I was saying about the island of Curaçao, with its transparent waters and way of making you feel like you belong there,” he said. “FBCA has transparent people working as a team for the benefit of the students and following the example of Jesus Christ openly, without being shy or too quiet about it. Who wouldn’t like to be part of an educational system where we celebrate the students, their present and future while at the same time we celebrate the joy of Christ?” Mr. Mirza began teaching in the middle of the fall semester, taking over classes for the beloved Claude Boutin.
“I already spoke French proficiently, but after Monsieur Boutin passed away I was left with very little interaction with other people where I was speaking French,” Kaden Lewis, French IV student said. “I also lost a little hope in learning the French language. However, Monsieur Mirza aided all of the students through that process while still giving us very good instruction in the language. I am grateful for him helping me regain the drive to continue learning.”
Claude Boutin Claude Boutin served FBCA for twenty years and was a beloved member of the school community. He led the French club, and every summer he organized the Orca Exchange Program, matching French exchange students with FBCA families. He was named National French Teacher of the Year in 2005 and received the Dorothy S. Ludwig Excellence in Teaching Award, presented by the American Association of Teachers of French. He was known for his warm and kind nature and is sincerely missed by the students, faculty and staff of FBCA.
“This is a God-centered school,” said Inajo Gray, a teacher at FBCA for 25 years. “We have changed locations, staff and administrators have come and gone, but God is the same every day. He has led this school and continues to lead. That is why I love working here.”
Fort Bend Christian Academy’s Set the Stage, Cheers to 30 Years! Gala proved to be one of the school’s most successful events! The Broadway-themed Gala was held on Friday, February 10, 2017, at the new and spectacular venue of Sugar Land’s Smart Financial Centre.
FBCA families, friends and supporters enjoyed a fun and beautiful evening with Master of Ceremonies Michael Garfield, High Tech Texan, and auctioneer James Patterson, who serves as Commissioner for Precinct 4 in Fort Bend County. More than 290 guests were in attendance, dressed as Broadway show characters or in semi-formal evening attire. Head of School Dr. David Pitre donned a leather jacket and Converse shoes as a throwback to Grease.
Approximately $165,000 in net event proceeds was raised through the school’s online, silent and live auctions, as well as the tuition raffle, which was popular with the attendees. The proceeds will be used for spiritual and academic program development as well as expanded information technology in the classroom. Congratulations to Gala Chairs Jessica DeMarrWilliams, Sasha Lotze, Alicia Scala, and Vicki Vaughn and their fantastic committee chairs and volunteers.
Thank You Event Underwriters Band | The Scala Family Playbill | Stacy & Mike Welch Bidder Paddle/Live Auction Jill & Pete Ramirez Invitation Johnson Development Corp. Timewise The Cathy Stubbs Team Valet | Texas Direct Auto
Dessert Diamond H Ranch The Dickey Family Broadway Trio: Spellbound Fluor Corporation Online Auction & Text Bidding Texas Capital Bank Clear Channel Clay Kaminsky, Fort Bend County Texas Farm Bureau Insurance
Photo Booth/Popcorn | Academy Thank You Table Sponsors & Donors Stargel Office Solutions Jenn & Josh LaRocca Houston Baptist University
Tiffany & Chris Newton Marco Lloyd, CFP, The Muller Law Group The Thurston Family
Charlotte’s Web Day is the culmination and celebration of third grade’s novel study of the classic story of ultimate friendship. Students learn about the sweet relationship between Wilbur the pig and Charlotte the spider on the Zuckerman’s farm. Students choose their favorite character from the story to dress up as for the entire day. Teachers plan classroom lessons and activities with the novel in mind, and classes finish out the day watching the Charlotte's Web movie and eating “pig slop.” Of course, the pig slop is really finger food snacks that all students bring to mix into a trough delicacy!
CAMP EAGLE Closer To Christ and Closer to Others
Every spring, FBCA eighth graders and chaperones embark on a week-long adventure to Camp Eagle in the Texas Hill Country.
â€œEverything from the surroundings to the worship times to the adventure activities to the two student baptisms at camp drew us closer to Christ and closer to each other. I truly enjoyed spending the week with this great group of eighth graders, and I am excited to see how they grow in high school.â€?
Wes Pogue, Chaplain
“Camp Eagle is the highlight of the year for me, and this year was no exception. The eighth graders had a great time bonding with their classmates and with the staff. It is a great time for the students to be stretched physically and spiritually.” Ron Bell, Middle School Principal “Camp Eagle was an amazing time where we grew closer as a grade and closer to Christ. We became friends with people we would never expect. When Chaplain Pogue was speaking there was something for everyone.” Tiegen Halwass, student
Michael Pozzi | Valedictorian
Michael Pozzi has attended FBCA for 13 years and has been involved in a wide variety of school organizations including the Theatre program, Swim Team, National Honor Society (NHS), National English Honor Society (NEHS) and Interact Club, a service organization. He has also served as the president of Rho Kappa and of International Thespian Society.
Pozzi has been recognized with many awards for his outstanding performance in his various activities. His accomplishments include the Theatre State Championship for One Act, Spartan Trifecta Medal for Spartan Race series, State Qualifier Swim (four years), Swim Leadership Award (junior and senior), Scholar Athlete (four years), Theatre Fine Arts (sophomore and junior), Narrative Film Award (junior), Sugar Creek Gators Golden Gator Award (two years). He has also
received academic awards for Biology, Bible 9, French II, Theatre II, French III, Algebra II, AP U.S. History and Honors Pre-Calculus.
As part of Eagle Week, a service opportunity each spring in the upper school at FBCA, Pozzi volunteered with organizations aiding those in need including the Houston Food Bank and the Boston Food Bank. In Boston, he was part of a team that sorted and packaged 32,000 pounds of food in just two days. Pozzi will attend the University of Southern California in the fall, and he plans to major in Electrical Engineering. His siblings, Matthew, a sophomore, and Madelyn, a middle school student, currently attend FBCA and his older sister, Marissa, also attended FBCA. Michael Pozzi is the son of Mona and John Pozzi of Sugar Land, Texas.
Kendall Matthews | Salutatorian
Kendall Matthews has attended FBCA for seven years. She has been involved in multiple organizations and has served in various roles of leadership, including Student Body President as a senior.
Matthews cheered on the varsity squad all four years of high school and served as Captain her senior year. She also served as President of National English Honor Society (NEHS) and was a member of National Honor Society (NHS), Mu Alpha Theta, Rho Kappa, Interact Club and National Spanish Honor Society.
Over the course of her high school career, Matthews has had many educational and service opportunities outside of Texas. As part of Eagle Week, Matthews traveled to Anchorage, Alaska to work on the Iditarod Trail, and she also traveled to Costa Rica and camped in the Guyami Indian Reser-
vation where she ministered to the natives through a Bible school program. She also had the opportunity to witness the 2017 Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C. Matthews was nominated for the National Student Leadership Conference at Yale University in which she spent 10 days at Yale learning law and advocacy. As part of the Student Leadership University Program (SLU), she traveled to San Antonio, Washington D.C., London, Paris, Oxford and Normandy to learn from leaders worldwide. Her awards include: FBCA Soaring Eagle Award (junior), Varsity Cheerleading - Leadership Award (senior), Scholar Athlete Award (four years), â€œBest Overall Attorneyâ€? at the National Student Leadership Conference: Law and Advocacy Program at Yale University (senior) and 5th place at the TAPPS State Art Competition in the Fashion and Design Category (senior).
She will attend The University of Texas at Austin in the fall and plans to major in Business Honors. After her undergraduate experience, she plans to attend law school and pursue a career in advocacy. Matthews is the daughter of Rose and Ellis Sink of Sugar Land (mother and stepdad) and Tom and Stephanie Matthews of Richmond (father and stepmom).
Fort Bend Christian Academy â€œLifersâ€? have attended since pre-k/kindergarten through senior year.
2017 Lifers: Kendall Bohny, Luke Brock, Tayler Campbell, Matthew Collins, Taylor Font, Andrea Kohlenberg, Levi Loveless, Baylee Morales Clemente, Maddie Perry, Timothy Pistorius, Michael Pozzi, Taylor Sears, Luke Thurston and Jake Trippett
Fort Bend Christian Academy Honors Grey Medlin
High School student and athlete Grey Medlin passed away unexpectedly in the fall of 2016. Grey’s legacy lives on through the tree planted on campus on his birthday and through the joy he inspired in the hearts of his family, friends, teachers, coaches and so many others in the FBCA community. Medlin’s baseball team paid tribute to him at a special ceremony before the alumni game on Friday, February 3. The team sported “Medlin 33” jerseys and 33 balloons were released following the ceremony. The captains presented Grey’s mother with flowers and his father and brothers with signed baseballs. Coach Rusty Richards said a few words about the influence that Grey left on the team and the impact Grey made on him personally.
“I was his coach,” Richards said.
“But he taught me more than
I taught him.”
Every spring, Fort Bend Christian Academy high school students participate in a week-long service opportunity called Eagle Week.
“These service-andministry teams go out locally, regionally, nationally and around the world,” Head of School Dr. Pitre said. “This annual missional commitment is considered to be a direct expression of the school’s Christian mission and identity.”
The purpose of Eagle Week is to inspire students to be serviceminded year round. Students work with international groups such as Praying Pelican Missions in Central America and the Caribbean and local organizations such as Gigi’s Playhouse and the Fort Bend Women’s Shelter.
“This is ministry that is ongoing,” Wes Pogue, junior Bible teacher said. “There are service opportunities literally across the street. We want to inspire our students to find ways to continue to serve beyond Eagle Week.”
FBCA high school students and faculty serve the poor, clean and renovate shelters, tutor and mentor children, work on orphanages and much more. One group of students had the opportunity to serve directly across the street from school at Silverado Memory Care.
“Working at Silverado has let me show God through kindness and patience,” sophomore Jessica Taylor said.
Another group also worked with the elderly in North Carolina and helped brighten the days and bring joy to the residents.
“At the beginning of the week, few residents were willing to get out and go to the day room where we would sing and do our activities, but towards the end of the week many more residents would join us in our activities,” sophomore Jayden Loveless said. “Although some think teens may not be able to make a big impact on elderly lives, they are strongly mistaken. We young teens can make a large impact on someone’s life just by giving them company and singing praises to the Lord.” Upper School Principal Joshua Gettys said FBCA students this year truly exemplified Acts 1:8 and served as the hands and feet of Jesus.
“I am beyond proud of my students, faculty and staff for their sacrifice and hard work, but most importantly, their love for God and other people,” Principal Gettys said. For more information about the 2017 Eagle Week trips, visit the Eagle Week blog at https://fbeagleweek.wordpress.com.
“FBCA high-school students and faculty will be serving the poor, ministering to all who will listen, cleaning and renovating shelters, tutoring and mentoring children, working on orphanages, offering street ministry--the list goes on and on. These service-and-ministry teams will go out locally, regionally and nationally . . . this annual missional commitment is considered to be a direct expression of the school’s Christian mission and identity.” Head of School Dr. Pitre
31 “Reflecting back on the trip, one passage seems to constantly come to the forefront of my thoughts. In My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers makes a point in his statement about ‘times on the mountain top.’ He reiterates over and over of places of exaltation, where we see God the clearest and most evident. These very times on the mountaintop are incredible, but are not reality. Too often we focus on what we learn from the people we served or the situations we were placed in, but instead we should focus on how our character is changed. How does my daily life look different after coming down from the mountain?” -Claire McKissick, Senior, Costa Rica
“The activities director at Tsali Care said she had never seen some of the residents in the facility smile or even laugh or be that happy. The sound of these words made me a little emotional knowing that we young teens could make such a large impact on someone’s life just by giving them company and singing praises to the Lord.” Jayden Loveless, Sophomore, North Carolina
ASL CLUB ASL Club Hosts Socials for Deaf Community
Imagine a space void of background noise—no hum of the lights, no distant chatter, no clatter of heels—just silence. Now, imagine that same space were also full of life and conversation.
It may not seem possible, but for those with little to no hearing, it is. The Fort Bend Deaf Community is a gregarious group, and Tony Slate, FBCA American Sign Language teacher, has created a safe place for the community to unite in fellowship. On the second Friday night of every month, the American Sign Language Honor Society, joined by the Fort Bend Deaf Community, meet for a social at Chick-fil-A. Fort Bend Christian Academy students have the opportunity to interact with people in the community and learn more about the challenges that the Deaf and their families face. The social provides an opportunity for the students to use ASL in a natural setting and strengthen their communication skills.
Slate came up with the concept on a Friday in July, 2010, when Fort Bend Christian Academy American Sign Language Club hosted an ASL/Deaf Social at Chick-fil-A in Greatwood. There were about 80 Deaf individuals in attendance on the first night.
“The Deaf community is a highly social and very cohesive group of people,” Slate said. “Each month they get together at a different restaurant to socialize and catch up. I thought, why not do everything we can to make this location a favorite spot for our Deaf community.” Tony Slate met with Operator/Owner Quart Graves who was on board with making it a regular event.
Adding to the fun, Graves creates trivia questions, Slate translates and winners receive prizes. Other schools that attend this social are ASL students from FBISD, LCISD, KISD, Lone Star Community College and University of Houston. Regular attendee Larry Butler said he enjoys meeting people learning ASL.
“I love to encourage people not to be afraid of ASL or the Deaf,” Butler said. The group is nearing their seventh year of socials at Chick-fil-A.
ASL also hosted a Valentine’s Silent Brunch the weekend after Valentine’s Day at the FBCA high school campus.
ALUMNI “In both slumps and success, I have been able to stay positive and run the race set before me,” Parham said. “The optimism that Coach Williamson had during my time at FBCA has also been a big factor in preparing me for Big 12 athletics.” Parham had the opportunity to compete in the Big 12 against his former FBCA teammate, Tyler Hart ‘06, in the men’s distance medley. Although Hart runs for Oklahoma, Matt and Tyler congratulated each other after the meet and took a picture together holding their medals. With admirable character, Parham recognizes the solid foundation and support he received at home and at school.
Matt Parham ’14
Former Fort Bend Christian Academy track star, Matthew Parham Class of 2014, continues to have athletic and academic success in college. While at FBCA, Parham won state and runner-up several years for track/cross country. Now at Baylor University, he achieved Academic All-Star.
“He is so humble, he did not even know he got it,” his mother, Veronica Parham said. “He is a young man who attributes his success to the Lord.”
The award serves to recognize exceptional athletes who maintain a high GPA while managing the intense schedule of competitions. Parham travels for Baylor in cross country, indoor and spring track which requires him to leave Wednesdays or Thursdays for the meets. He has been to Stanford, Notre Dame and the NCAA regionals. Amidst all the athletic demands, he achieved a 3.9 GPA.
“All of the teachers at FBCA played an integral role in preparing me for college academics, especially Mr. Henderson's honors class,” Parham said. “I had a wonderful experience at FBCA and each class allowed me to develop the work and study habits that have allowed for college success.” Parham’s recent accomplishments include:
2016 All-Big 12 Indoors (DMR) 2016 Academic All-Big 12 First Team (cross country) 2016 Academic All-Big 12 First Team (track) 2015 Academic All-Big 12 First Team (cross country) Four-time Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll selection
“The moral standards and work ethics my parents have set before me along with the continued guidance of Mr. Sanders and Mr. Pogue at FBCA have kept me on track both literally and figuratively,” he said. “This allowed me to pursue the goals I had set before me without many of the distractions college students face. Much of my current academic and athletic success comes from my wonderful parents continued support of me pursuing this dream.”
As for advice, Matt encourages current FBCA students to take as many AP and Dual Credit classes as possible.
“It makes the transition much easier,” he said. “Also, upon entering college, be very aware of your degree plan and take every opportunity to meet with academic advisors.”
Susannah Glass ’11
Susannah Glass, Class of 2011, a Registered Nurse at UMMC Batson Children’s Hospital, the only children’s hospital in Mississippi, married on August 6, 2016.
FBCA Alumna, Susannah Michael Glass, Class of 2011, married Harrison Davis Thomas of Meridian, Mississippi on August 6, 2016. The ceremony was held at Westminster United Methodist Church and the reception took place at the Houstonian Hotel. Many members of the FBCA family took part in the wedding ceremony and celebration. Mr. Robert Sanders, Art Department Chair, was the Marital Charge, Allyson Glass ‘06 was the Matron of Honor and Audrey Taylor ‘11, was the Maid of Honor. Other guests in attendance included: Gabby Haddad, Elias Haddad, Megan Esteb, Jennifer Lockmeyer, Bonnie Cantwell, Shanna Daniel Bauer, Mr. & Mrs. Mike Taylor, Mr. & Mrs. David Daniel, Mr. & Mrs. Elie Haddad and Mr. & Mrs. Bobby Esteb.
Adding a special, creative touch to her wedding, Susannah painted her own program and invitation. As a night nurse working seven 12-hour shifts in a row due to her week-on, week-off schedule, Susannah keeps her energy up by staying active in the quiet hours. She works on the Pediatric Cardiac Step-Down and Surgery Unit, so her patients are babies with congenital cardiac deformities, children who have had heart surgery and children who get all kinds of other surgeries including orthopedic, urology, GI, trauma, ENT, neurological.
“One of my favorite things about being a nurse is seeing these children defy the odds and overcome their injuries or sickness and walk out the door with a smile on their face,” she said. “We have patients that are there for a short period of time or are there for months. And I love seeing these kids overcome their trials and get better. Kids are tough and strong and I don't think people realize that.”
Glass has many fond memories of FBCA, including playing sports and creating art.
“I really miss and appreciate the art department and Mr. Sanders,” she said. “Sanders was always a mentor to me. I could always go to him for advice.
He was my teacher for three years, so I was never afraid to go to him and seek advice when I was going through a tough time.”
Susannah Glass was Sanders’ first student to win 1st Place in the State TAPPS competition. She placed 1st in the Senior Portfolio category in 2011 and won 1st Place in the Painting category two years in a row in 2010 and 2011.
“What I enjoyed the most about Susannah was her wonderful sense of humor and how it played into her passion for life and her love for art,” Sanders said. “One of my favorite moments was when she won Senior Portfolio for State. I was not allowed in the room where pieces were being judged. I stood peering through the window, anxiously awaiting the results, when Susie turned and gave me an excited thumbs-up (when the judge wasn’t looking) to let me know the outcome.”
Recognizing the extent of growth of the Fine Arts Department and what that will mean for current and future learners, Glass joked that she envies the students who get “all these cool updates” to the art building.
“There are so many useful skills these students get to learn and the creativity they get to express through each medium,” Glass said. “When I got to college and was getting my minor in art, I was ahead of everyone with my painting and drawing skills.”
Glass graduated from Mississippi College in 2015. During her weeks off, Glass enjoys painting and has even sold some of her work. She and her husband love to watch movies together and cook.
Marisa Torres ’09
Last year, FBCA alumna Marisa Torres attended Miami Art Week where she landed an internship with Untitled. Untitled is an international, curated art fair founded in 2012 that focuses on curatorial balance and integrity across all disciplines of contemporary art. Although Untitled is based out of New York, the shows take place in Miami Beach and San Francisco.
“I was lucky enough to work with them as an intern for about a year before the inaugural edition of the show in San Francisco,” Torres said. “They offered me a position as a zone captain during the actual show. I helped with all the checking in of galleries as well as setting up, cleaning up, organizing artwork and storage and showing guests around.”
During the show, Marisa learned the power of simple online research.
“A gallery couldn't make it last minute, so I stepped in, Googled information about the artwork and ended up making around $20,000 in sales for them!” Marisa said. “After that, I got offered a job from the show's head curator in Paris.”
Torres plans to continue pursuing her art education in hopes of becoming a Disney Imagineer, but her backup plan is to work in the contemporary art field which she has grown to love.
Marisa is currently in her third year of studying Visual Development Art at the Academy of Art University of San Francisco.
Aggie Ring Day
Megan Quirch, Erin Davis, Makenzie Goodwine, Ashley Williams, Casi Blackmon and Rachel Long still have Eagle spirit! These FBCA 2014 grads celebrated receiving their Texas A&M rings on Aggie Ring Day in April.
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