Pecan Grove - May 2023

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Pecan Grove monthly

A publication of the
May 2023


Contents and Staff

May 2023


Sarah Tredway explains how Teach For America facilitates educational equity and why that's important.


Naana Danquah Jefferson said increasing funding for Lupus Foundation of AmericaTexas Gulf Coast will further the impact the nonprofit has on the lives of Lupus Warriors.


A new online Living Sustainably Club launches this month and its first topic is “Texas Superstar Plants,” presented by Fort Bend County Master Gardener Suma Mudan.


Clyde King


Marquita Griffin


Stefanie Bartlett

Ruby Polichino


Marquita Griffin

Scott Reese Willey

Nick Irene


Melinda Maya

Rachel Cavazos


If you are interested in advertising in the Pecan Grove Monthly, please call 281-342-4474 for rates, information and deadlines.


We are looking for fresh story ideas and enjoy publishing your articles in the Pecan Grove Monthly. If you have an story idea or photo to publish please send your information to with “Pecan Grove Monthly” in the subject line.

©2022 Pecan Grove Monthly. All Rights Reserved. Pecan Grove Monthly is a sister publication of Fulshear Living Monthly, Greatwood Monthly, West Fort Bend Living and is a publication of the Fort Bend Herald. Our publishing headquarters is 1902 S. Fourth Street, Rosenberg Texas 77471.

4 • Pecan Grove Monthly
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Facilitating educational equity

How Teach For America supports passionate and courageous teacher leaders who encourage students

Although Sarah Tredway intended to spend her days making an impact in the courtroom, following her graduation from Kansas State, she took another direction.

“I knew the impact I wanted to make,” she said. “But that impact wasn’t found within the walls of a courtroom, but rather in kindergarten classroom.”

In 2015 Tredway began her journey of contributing to the end of education inequity through a national organization called Teach For America.

Today, she’s the director of school impact for Teach For America’s Houston region, but before Tredway reached the point of coaching 30 teachers at 15 Houston-area campuses, the Fort Bend resident served six years as a teacher herself.

Founded in 1990, Teach For America works in partnership with 350 urban and rural communities across the country to expand educational opportunities for children. It is a diverse network of leaders who confront educational inequity by recruiting what it calls “corps members.”

These corps members make an initial twoyear commitment to teach in high-need schools, typically in low-income commu nities.

Current records state that Teach For America is comprised of around 66,000 alumni and corps members working in more than 9,000 schools nationwide.

In a 2019 study, the National Cen ter for Education Statistics report ed that students from low-income families drop out of high school at twice the rate of upper-middle and high-income families, which Teach for America identifies as an “opportunity crisis.”

TFA “works to define and de velop teacher leaders who work toward ending education inequi ty” to battle this crisis, Tredway explained.

After two years of teaching, corps members be come part of the TFA

alumni network and can continue teaching, pursue other TFA leadership roles in the schools or launch careers in other fields to continue shaping “educational access and opportunity.”

After honoring her two-year commitment as a TFA corps member, Tredway remained at her placement campus for a total of six years, five of them as a kindergarten teacher.

“I knew the work wasn’t done,” she said of why she didn’t leave after the initial two years. “There were 12 languages [represented] in my classroom and my students and their families taught me so much. They taught me about the world and the community embraced me. I was drawn to the work and I knew I wanted to get better so I stayed.”

“The work wasn’t done.”


While still at her placement school, Tredway became an enrichment teacher after connecting with Rice University’s School of Literacy and Culture, where she enrolled in several programs.

“I knew I didn’t know it all,” she said of her time at Rice. “I knew I wanted to learn from more experts. I kept scaling my impact, I was thinking; ‘How do we keep developing wonderful education?’”

The endeavor paid off because she helped develop a Literacy Lab, which she said was a replication of Rice’s Oral and Written Language Lab, and launched it at her placement school to “ensure students get quality oral language development with play.”

In 2021, Tredway joined Teach For American Houston’s full-time staff to

At the core of Teach for America is educational equity, she explained.

“That means each student gets exactly what they need to open a world of possibility and true choice. We deeply know and believe they deserve a fair

Tredway said the required pre-service training during the summer sets the tone for the first two years of a corps member’s experience.

“They go through intense, ho-

“We have to continue learning with and from others in order to get better.”
— Sarah Tredway, director of school impact for Teach For America-Houston

listic development training, teach summer school with partner campuses, and they have diversity equity inclusion training,” she said.

Afterward, corps members begin teaching at their placement campus for a twoyear commitment, during which they receive group coaching and undergo observations and differentiated support.

“This (supportive approach) is about continuous learning. We have to continue learning with and from others in order to get better. This also helps (corps members) build their network and connect to the community.”

“Our teachers are such a wealth of knowledge,” she continued. “Novice teachers are inspiring as they move students closer to a responsive and incredible education and they really do want to help build the community that the students deserve.”


In Tredway’s opinion, a potential TFA corps member should exhibit resilience, humility and an understanding that “we need diverse perspectives to evolve and get better.”

And courage, too.

“There are tough days, and sometimes extended periods, when nothing goes according to plan, and it seems as though obstacles repeatedly fall in the way despite your best efforts. But when things get hard we have to deepen our resolve and our aspirational goals, for students, their families and the community.”

It takes courage, she learned, to “push through those challenges and continue with the passion you arrived with.”

“It takes courage to say: ‘I’m committed to this.”

Looking back over her contributions in the classroom and considering her work as TFA Houston’s Director of School Impact, Tredway realizes how much she’s grown and broadened her social perspectives.

“The question is, what have I not learned about myself,” she said with a light laugh.

But one lesson stands out like a beacon: “This work cannot be done alone.”

When battling educational inequity, there is no one superhero, no one leader, and no clean-cut solution or resolution.

“It needs to be done in the community,” she said. “As corps members move into alumnihood, we need that equity to go across all of our sectors.”

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without this experience.”

For more information about Teach For America, visit

ABOVE: Sarah Tredway reading “Little Red Riding Hood” during dramatic play with her students. ABOVE, RIGHT: Sarah with Hadja Sako, a former Kindergartner of Sarah Tredway and former 5th grade student of Jonah Baumgarten (right). BELOW: Sarah teaching kindergarteners a subtraction lesson.

Continued on page 8

Hometown Happenings
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Talk of the Town

Lupus Awareness: Combating ‘a cruel disease’ through education and services

It’s been more than a decade since Naana Danquah Jefferson participated in her first lupus awareness walk, and she’s walked almost every year since, but on those occasions when she couldn’t be there, she asked someone to go in her stead.

In whatever way she could, she wanted her intentions shared. At times, she even coordinated separate walks.

“The number of people affected by lupus — ” she began before pausing. “ It’s a cruel disease and you never know who could be affected by it.”

It’s an illness often described as a mystery, right along with being malicious. It doesn’t have a cure, there are four different forms of lupus (systemic, cutaneous, drug-induced and neonatal), and a diagnosis doesn’t come quickly or without challenges.

This is why Danquah Jefferson is working to increase awareness about the autoimmune disease that has been statistically shown to affect more women than men. Although men, teenagers and children develop lupus, it mostly strikes women of childbearing age. Ninety percent of people with lupus are women, and most develop it between 15 and 44 years old.

Lupus is a long-term disease that causes inflammation and pain, usually affecting the skin and joints. Because it can affect multiple parts of the body, lupus can cause a variety of symptoms and, as a result, can be misdiagnosed.

“That’s what happened to my mom,” Danquah Jefferson said. “And sometimes people, who don’t know better, complain about their joints hurting or being fatigued (and listen to) other people who say: ‘You’re being lazy’ or ‘Just get more sleep.’”

Typical lupus symptoms include headaches, pain or swelling in the joints, chest pain when breathing deeply, extreme fatigue, hair loss and mouth or nose sores. A butterfly-shaped rash on the cheeks or nose and swelling in the hands, feet or around the eyes are also known symptoms.

Although already devoted to expanding lupus awareness because of her mother, those annual lupus awareness walks were the gateway to Danquah Jefferson ultimately joining the Lupus Foundation of America- Texas Gulf Coast board of directors.

And nearly six months into her position, she has her mind trained on spreading the foundation’s message of encouraging people to listen to their bodies and its purpose of being “an advocate for those seeking adequate medical care.”

According to the National Resource Center on Lupus, the disease is two to three times more prevalent among African American, Hispanic/Latina, Asian American, Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander women than among White women.

Recent research indicates that lupus affects 1 in 537 young African American women.

Unfortunately, lupus is still unknown to people because it “doesn’t get the same level of attention as other more (recognized) diseases,” Danquah Jefferson said.

In a 2019 awareness survey, the foundation found that 63% of Americans surveyed never heard of lupus or knew little or nothing about the disease or its symptoms beyond the name.

It’s an illness imbued with nuances, so it’s overlooked, misdiagnosed and rarely discussed.

In that same 2019 awareness survey, 61% of participants believed an accurate diagnosis of lupus took six months or less.

According to the findings in “Understanding Delay in Diagnosis, Access to Care, and Satisfaction with Care in Lupus: Findings from a Cross-Sectional Online Survey in the United States,” it takes around six years for a person to be correctly diagnosed after first noticing their symptoms.

Additionally, 63 % of the surveyed people reported being incorrectly diagnosed, and 55 percent of them reported seeing four or more healthcare providers before being correctly diagnosed.

But Danquah Jefferson and the rest of the Lupus Foundation of America-Texas Gulf Coast board seek to change that.

“We have a great CEO, Anne Marie (Blacketer), who has this energy, passion and drive to go the extra mile for this to be a successful organization and for the lupus warriors. You’ll never hear her not talk about our warriors.”

Seeing someone so passionate about the work and intent of the foundation is energizing for Danquah Jefferson, who joined the board in late November 2022. And although she was already keen on lupus awareness and support, serving as a director “has been eye-opening and rewarding,” she said.

“I look forward to learning more and becoming more involved.”


While increasing awareness of the foundation and the disease it’s fighting is crucial, deepening the foundation’s financial support is paramount to continue providing education and support services for people affected by lupus, Danquah Jefferson said.

“Without the funds, we can’t provide support for lupus warriors, and it’s incumbent upon us as directors to spread the word and push to bring in the financial resources to continue supporting those dealing with lupus.”

Those warriors, she pressed, are people who aren’t “just fighting to survive, but to thrive, too.”

“And they are thriving,” she emphasized.

Danquah Jefferson shares a memory from a fundraising event she once attended and was in awe of “how much money they were raising.”

“I almost cried,” she said. “Because I was thinking, how? How do we get this (level of financial support)?”

The motivation and willingness of the Lupus Foundation of America are already evident, Danquah Jefferson said, but “with increased financial support we can do more.”

Donation options for the Texas Gulf Coast Chapter, which serves the Greater Houston area, including Fort Bend County, are available online at

Danquah Jefferson, who lives in Rosenberg with her family, said she recently participated in a community health and wellness event at a Fort Bend church that was “an opportunity to pass out

10 • Pecan Grove Monthly
Naana Danquah Jefferson, Lupus Foundation of America- Texas Gulf Coast

information and talk, in layman’s terms, to people who have never heard of lupus.”

“We were sharing how many people it affects, how it can be connected to other illnesses and what could happen if you don’t get a handle on it in most cases.”

This kind of outreach is just the tip of the spear that the foundation is using to fight against lupus.

“We were getting the information into the hands of those who may not know. Since it primarily affects women, we’re calling on husbands, fathers and brothers — we need everyone — to come on board to help raise awareness.”

Lupus is still shrouded in enigma, but efforts like that of the Lupus Foundation of America are finding answers through research, Danquah Jefferson said.

The Lupus Foundation of America-Texas Gulf Coast chapter raises money to support lupus warriors and national research through the Lupus Foundation of America’s National Research program, Bringing Down The Barriers.

“There are still so many questions surrounding it, and for us to find the answers, we need the funding, and to get that funding need everyone,” she said.

“It will take everyone supporting to move the needle.”

For more information visit

Former museum director Rogers earns Bliel Award

Claire Rogers was rewarded for unwaning support of Fort Bend County as the 2023 recipient of the Bert E. Bleil Heritage Award inside the Fort Bend Museum on March 30.

The Bleil Award has been presented annually by the Fort Bend County Historical Commission since 2009 to a person or organization for exceptional efforts and achievements in developing and promoting heritage tourism, promoting an awareness of and appreciation for historical preservation, the identification and protection of historic sites and features, and the preservation of historical and cultural resources in Fort Bend County.

The award is named for Bleil, the former Chair of the Fort Bend County Historical Commission, who first envisioned this method of acknowledging exceptional achievements in historic and cultural preservation.

Rogers stood gratefully as she accepted the honor from Research and Markers Committee member Ana Alicia Acosta.

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Photo by Nick Irene | Fort Bend County Historical Commission Chairman Chris Godbold presents the Bert E. Bliel Heritage Award to former museum manager Claire Rogers during a special ceremony at the Fort Bend Museum.

“Bert was so passionate about the history of our county that it needed to be celebrated and remembered,” Rogers said at the podium during her acceptance speech. “I appreciate this honor. It’s been a pleasure to work, play and live in this community and I count it as a great privilege to meet and work along with some many people.”

Rogers has worn many hats in her 20-plus year career of sharing the stories that make up Fort Bend County’s history with the public.

After earning a master’s degree in social work from the University of Houston, she moved to Richmond in 1988 with her husband, Ron, where they raised their two children.

Claire volunteered at Lamar Consolidated ISD and taught community Bible study.

Claire and Ron joined what was then called the Fort Bend County Museum Association.

She began volunteering at the museum and was hired as its education coordinator in 2002.

Claire became the museum manager in 2009 and served as the executive director of the Fort Bend County Museum Association, now known as the Fort Bend History Association to reflect its wide range of offerings, from 2014 to 2022.

She has also served in several leadership roles with the Fort Bend County Historical Commission since 2009 and currently serves as its secretary.

Claire was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti where her father, Octave, worked as a manager with the Haitian American Sugar Company and her mother, Scottie, taught ESL classes.

The family moved several times between Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Louisiana while her father pursued his career in the sugar industry.

She attributes her life-long interest in making history accessible to the public with two people: her father, who instilled in his children the importance of learning about the people in the different communities where they lived, and her eighth-grade history teacher, who made American history come alive.

Claire also began developing a keen sense of how to share history with others when she received the eighth-grade social studies prize for her depiction in clay of the three branches of US government.

She was at the helm of the Fort Bend History Association in April of 2018 when a small fire broke out at the Fort Bend Museum.

Although the fire was quickly contained, there was smoke damage throughout the museum.

Claire helped guide the museum through a $2 million capital fundraising campaign, which allowed the museum, and the stories it tells, to be expanded and reimagined.

The Swinging Door

The museum reopened to visitors in July 2021 with a greater emphasis on the diverse people whose stories represent the history of the County.

The new museum’s versatility allows it to host community events, like the Bleil Award presentation, and to showcase community art exhibits.

Claire said she is especially proud of the mosaic river at the entrance of the new museum which includes elements of design telling the stories of the different groups that have moved here and the events which make up our shared history.

Among her many awards and achievements, Claire was previously recognized as commissioner of the year by the Fort Bend County Historical Commission in 2012, received the “Community Builder Award” from the Morton Masonic Lodge in 2016, and was presented with the Central Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce’s “Legacy Impact Award” in 2022.

She has been active in the Texas Association of Museums, the Southeast Texas Association of Museums, and the American Alliance of Museums.

She served on the Richmond Historic District Commission from 2014 to 2022, has been a board member on the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation and Museum, and has recently been invited to serve on the advisory board of the Fulshear History Association.

Rogers joins Robert Crosser, Virginia Scarborough, Willie Ann McColloch, Billie and Jack Wendy, Michael R. Moore, Chuck Kelly, Sadie Williams, Bruce Grethen, Renee Butler, Franklin R. Schodek, John William Walker, Wolfram M. Von-Maszewski, Bob and Marcia Vogelsang, Vickie Lymm Tonn, Rene Lamb and Bettye J. Anhaiser as awardees.

‘Amazing cowboys’

6 inducted into Black Cowboy Museum Hall of Fame

Story and Photos by SCOTT REESE WILLEY |

Harold Miller started riding bucking broncos when he was a teenager.

Now 66, Miller can vividly remember the last time he climbed on the back of a snorting, thrashing horse and held on for 8 very long seconds.

It was last weekend.

“I ride every weekend, and I don’t have plans to stop anytime soon,” said Miller, one of six people inducted into the Black Cowboy Museum Hall of Fame.

Also inducted into the hall of fame were David Solomon, Gary Richards, Calvin Greeley Jr., Jeff Cook, and Sherman Richardson.

They were each awarded a shiny silver buckle.

The ceremony and banquet were held at the Rosenberg Civic Center.

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Attendees came dressed in their finest cowboy boots and Stetsons.

Tables were adorned with decorative boots filled with bouquets of flowers.

Barbecue was served.

The convention hall featured saddles, historical blurbs and photos of some of the best Black cowboys in history.

The inductees spent the first 30 minutes or so introducing themselves to guests and regaling listeners with their stories of long nights, mean bulls and feisty broncos.

Miller, who enjoyed sharing humorous tales of woe and wonder, was shoeing horses until midnight Thursday — his full-time job — at his ranch in South Carolina and then made the 17-hour drive to Rosenberg.

“I could have ridden tonight and maybe won a lot of money, but I wouldn’t miss this for the world,” said Miller, who is ranked third in the world in bareback riding.

“I could have won up to $1,500 but I wanted the buckle. The buckle was more important than the money.”

Larry Callies, founder of the Black Cowboy Museum in Rosenberg, said the buckles are a token honor in recognition of what the inductees have contributed to professional rodeo and the American way of life.

“For many, many years, Black cowboys were mostly ignored or forgotten,” Callies explained. “The white cowboys got all the glory, won all the buckles and saddles and made all the headlines. But Black cowboys also won buckles and saddles, yet they went unrecognized. We’re trying to right that wrong.”

Next year’s hall of fame ceremony will be bigger and include three of the most successful Black cowboys ever, Callies said.

Continued on page 26

• 13 To advertise, call 281-342-4474
Hall of fame inductee Jeff Cook (right) of Richmond is a member of the Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association and a gold card member of the PRCA. At left is Black Cowboy Museum founder Larry Callies. Black Cowboy Museum founder Larry Callies presents a buckle to hall of fame inductee Gary Richard. Black Cowboy Museum founder Larry Callies presents a buckle to hall of fame inductee Harold Miller. Hall of fame inductee Calvin Greely Jr. mentored two world champion calf ropers — Joe Beaver and Fred Whitfield.
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Fun times at Art in the Bend

16 • Pecan Grove Monthly
16 •
'Round The Bend
The Art in the Bend Festival held in historic downtown Richmond included activities like a pooch parade and dog show, arts and crafts booths, and the always-popular Motor Madness car show. 1Gina Holliday of Needville gets a chuckle when asked if she had entered Sassy in the look-alike contest of the dog show. 2Terrie Conyers, owner of Delightfully Decorative, shows off one the many table placemats and table runners she sold. 3Kaitlynn Lamale, 4, of Richmond, makes giant soap bubbles. 4Carter Elementary School fourth-grader Elizabeth Ramos, 10, of Richmond checks herself out in a mirror after artist Stephanie Noe finished her face painting of a cat. 5Car enthusiasts get a close-up look at vintage autos and classic muscle cars and modern high-speed racers. 6James Lunsford makes unique lamps out of pipes and other unusual materials. He was selling them at the festival in historic downtown Richmond.
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7Jane Long Elementary School second-graders Michelle and Alex Hitt, twins, enjoy drawing with chalk on the sidewalk.

Kids Egg-Cited Over Egg Hunt

Children raced to gather Easter eggs at Seabourne Creek Nature Park. The city of Rosenberg’s annual hunt drew hundreds of kids and their parents. Families also took photos with the Easter bunny and played games. More than 11,000 eggs were filled with treats or toys. Of those, 100 golden eggs were hidden. The golden eggs could be redeemed for larger toys after the hunt. Another 1,000 eggs contained coupons for a free Whataburger. After the hunt, children were invited to take photos with the Easter bunny.


1The Firomsa family of Rosenberg posing for a photo. Saron, Terfasa and sons Nolan, 2, and Noel, 9 mo.

2Jibreel and Kamry Battles took son Jibreel III, 3, and Kaulani, 6 mo. to the annual egg hunt.

3Bowie Elementary School second-grader Yuthid Rodriguez, 7, picks up eggs

4Harper Varrios, 4, a pre-k student at Needville Elementary School, and mom Hollie wait

patiently for the egg hunt to begin. They took some selfies in front of the Easter balloons.

5Jane Long Elementary School second-graders Michelle and Alex Hitt, twins, pose with mom Elvie and their baskets of eggs. Notice Michelle found one of 100 golden eggs.

6Kids scramble for Easter eggs at Seabourne Creek Nature Park.


The City of Rosenberg’s annual Kids Fish-Tastic fishing tournament at Seabourne Creek Nature Park.

1Culver Elementary School 1stgrader Eduardo Alverez, 6, is all smiles after reeling in this 3-3/4 inch perch.

2Needville Elementary School thirdgrader Kayleigh Gonzales, 9, casts her line out.

3Ethan Yoder-West 12, of Rosenberg, shows off a 16.5-inch catfish he caught. He hoped the big fish would win him a trophy.

4That’s a 9-3/4 inch blue gill Connor Hendrick of New Territory is showing off. The 11-year-old reeled the perch in within the first hour of the event.

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In Remembrance

Lunches of Love founder leaves a loving legacy

Esther Adriane Mathews

Gray spent her life aiding those less fortunate.

Now, many within the community reminisce about her selfless contributions following her death.

Gray, 47, passed away April 5, 2023, surrounded by family and friends after a five-year battle with cancer.

Her outreach made Gray a beloved figure within the community as the founder of the Lunches of Love nonprofit organization.

LoL began as a ministry of First United Methodist Church Rosenberg during Christmas break in 2009. The organization grew into a fruitful relationship with Lamar Consolidated ISD, where they helped feed more than 4,000 children across 18 LCISD schools and three Fort Bend ISD schools.

Lunches of Love fed those who qualified for the state’s free lunch program by offering low-income families a free sack lunch during extended school holidays and weekends.

LCISD Supt. Roosevelt Nivens called Gray the ultimate embodiment of a caring person who put others’ needs ahead of herself.

“She saw a need in this community and worked hard to provide a solution,” Nivens said. “Lunches of Love is not just a project of love; it is the legacy of her love for the children of this community. While we are saddened by her passing, we know that her passion for people will continue through the Lunches of Love program and the new elementary school built in her honor.”

Her philanthropy led the LCISD Board of Trustees to name an incoming elementary campus after Gray during the April 26, 2022 board meeting.

The estimated completion of the Gray Elementary School at 7222 Powerline Road in Richmond is scheduled for July.

Alex Hunt, LCISD Board of Trustees President, said there were few more deserving of the recognition.

“Her record as a pillar of service and humility in the Lamar CISD community is unquestionable,” Hunt said. “It is our hope that the many young men and women who enter those doors are inspired to be of service to others just as she was in this community.”

Fort Bend County Commissioner Pct. 1 Vincent Morales ex-

pressed his condolences on behalf of the county commissioners.

“I am heartbroken to hear of the passing of Adriane Gray,” Morales said. “She did so much for the Fort Bend community. Her work with Lunches of Love will live on in the lives of young people in our schools and community for years to come. We were all blessed to know her and are better people because of her.”

Esther Adriane Mathews Gray was born in Richmond, Texas on June 4, 1975, and graduated from Lamar Consolidated High School in 1993. After attending Blinn College in Brenham, she received her Interior Design degree from Houston Community College and formed her own design company. She married Christopher Bryan Gray in 2002, and they became partners in both marriage and careers. Adriane won many design awards for her beautifully planned homes. In addition, she served as Nursery Director for her church, First United Methodist Rosenberg, for 19 years.

Adriane was a charismatic, loving, and giving person with the biggest heart and the biggest smile. She never met a stranger and wanted everyone to live big, love big, and always trust in God. Adriane’s passion in life was her vision of Lunches of Love which she created in 2009 to help end childhood hunger in Fort Bend County. Adriane spent the next 14 years leading and volunteering all of her time to make a difference in as many children’s and families’ lives as possible. Her motto, “Together we can end childhood hunger, one step at a time” was what she lived by each day. Adriane touched many lives in her short time. Each life that she impacted also held a special place in her heart.

Adriane was also instrumental in securing the purchase of Rosenberg’s original Lane Bowling Alley for Lunches of Love’s permanent home, and it became a landmark of color and happiness under her guidance and love.

Adriane is preceded in death by her father, James Hadley Mathews, her aunts and uncles Sona and Tommy Sue Foerster, and Richard and Fredia Mathews. She is survived by her husband, Chris Gray, her mother Jeannette Foerster Mathews, her sister Elizabeth Fairfield and husband David, and three nieces Emma, Ellen, and Eden Fairfield, plus numerous cousins, family

18 • Pecan Grove Monthly Education
friends and faithful LOL volunteers, children, and families. Esther Adriane Mathews Gray Photo by Scott Reese Willey | In this 2018 photo, Eden Fairfield packs lunches with her aunt and Lunches of Love creator and director Adriane Mathews Gray. Photo by Diana Nguyen | From left, Tracy Kilpatrick, Keesha O’Brien, Marina Nicole Roberts, Lunches of Love Director Adriane Mathews Gray, and Shelly Munoz have fun striking a pose at the Lunches of Love’s Taste of Fort Bend 2018 fundraiser at the Briscoe Manor in Richmond. Photo by Diana Nguyen | From left are, Lunches of Love volunteers Brandy Winner, Beth Villarreal, founder Adriane Gray, Gloria Couch and Tracy Kilpatrick during the nonprofit organization’s Two Millionth Lunch celebration in 2017. Photo by Averil Gleason | In this June 2020 photo, Adriane Mathews Gray dons a birthday queen sash on her birthday. Dozens of cars drove through the Lunches of Love parking lot to wish her a happy birthday.

2023 LCISD Auto Tech Auto Fest

The 2023 Auto Fest was held March 25 at the LCISD natatorium in Rosenberg. Proceeds from the vehicle entry benefit LCISD automotive classes.

about four

body was

good shape when he purchased it but

had to have some work done on the engine, suspension and exhaust. It’s the first time he’s ever entered the vehicle in a car show. Ken Carritue, who owns and operates Yesterday’s Car Care, helped with the restoration and joined Tealer at the car show.

• 19 To advertise, call 281-342-4474
Rodger Lyle wipes down the engine on his 1966 Ford Mustang he inherited from his dad, who bought it used in 1972 for $400. Lyle entered the cherry red beauty in the LCISD Auto Tech Auto Fest car show at the natatorium in Rosenberg. Photo on Right Jarrid Tealer poses by his 1981 Corvette, which he entered in the 2023 LCISD Auto Fest. Tealer, a special agent with Homeland Security, has owned the vehicle for years. He said the in he
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Austin Elementary School fifth-grader Abigail Goodrich, 10, joined grandfather John Hanks of Richmond at the LCISD Auto Fest. Hanks showed his 1953 Dodge truck, which he helped to restore. “I drove it five miles from my house to here and this is the farthest I’ve ever driven it,” he said, adding that it is also the first time he’s shown the vehicle at a car show since he purchased it two years ago. He bought it for $11,000 and spent a few thousand more, fixing the carburetor and getting the wheels to work. Joe and

ARTreach: Art is ‘ healing, restorative, empowering’

With its eclectic roster of professional artists and art teachers, ARTreach continues to connect underserved populations with experienced and talented artists. And for its efforts, was awarded a $10,000 Challenge America Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

An independent federal agency, the NEA funds arts and arts education in communities nationwide, and it awards grants to organizations that reach historically disadvantaged communities. For the past 15 years, ARTreach, a local nonprofit organization headquartered in Katy, has offered art programs to under-resourced communities of senior citizens, children and families considered at-risk and people with special needs in Fort Bend, Harris, and Waller counties. And its artists deliver programs to partnering locations such as foster care and community centers, schools, libraries and hospitals.

ARTreach also performs for the general community.

“We are thrilled to be a recipient of a Challenge America grant,” said Nicole Moraw, executive director of ARTreach, who explained that the funds will expand the nonprofit’s Books Alive! Literacy Through the Arts program.

The nonprofit’s signature program, Books Alive! “touches the lives of children in schools, libraries, hospitals, shelters, and other organizations in need,” she said.

In this program, a writing team creates original musicals from children’s books by working with the book’s author to adapt the stories into an original fully-staged, 45-minute musical production.

Since the goal is to create a fun musical experience that promotes literacy and creativity, professional actors are cast and professional designers are hired for the costumes, props and set. The developmental phase of the music takes about two months, after which the program goes on tour, hitting 75 to 80 elementary schools and nearly two dozen library branches.

Additionally, one month before the performance, each location receives a copy of the musical’s sourcebook so students are familiar with the story in written form.

The Challenge America Grant will support the current Books Alive! production, “Too Many Frogs” by Sandy Asher. The musical will be performed at Katy and Lamar Consolidated, Houston, Spring Branch and Cy-Fair ISD campuses, and during the summer, the musical will show at Fort Bend County, Houston Public and Harris County libraries.

Moraw said ARTreach is striving to expand the reach of the Books Alive! program so that more students, who otherwise may not have the prospect, can get access to the productions.

“It is important for all of the population to experience [the different forms of art], and that’s our mission, to make sure people do get the opportunity.”


ARTreach offers more than two dozen programs in visual and performing arts.

Take the nonprofit’s Joyful Movement class, which that com-

bines yoga and dance for children, for instance. Or the Collaborative Mural Project, a workshop where participants work together to make a mural.

The nonprofit also offers painting workshops, acting classes, a mixed media series, and even visual journaling instruction, all of which, promote a range of development goals, increased skills and social interaction for children and adults.

“Art can be for everyone,” said Moraw. “Art is not only fun and beautiful, it can be impactful and therapeutic. It is often one of the only ways people going through stressful times or situations express themselves.

“Art helps people when it’s hard to articulate emotions with just words. It heps them express, process feelings and reduce stress.”

She then takes a moment to emphasize the programs for seniors.

“Our creative aging programs for our senior citizens are wonderful,” she said, explaining that seniors typically don’t have easy access to stimulating art activities. And this is why senior living homes or centers are essential partners for ARTreach.

“Sometimes seniors are living alone [without many visitors], so when we bring the [artists and programs] to them, we have so many positive results,” she said. “Seniors, in particular, suffer from depression and isolation.”

Through ARTreach’s senior-centric programs, Moraw said she’s “seen some beautiful friendships form,” and witnessed that just like the children the nonprofit works with, the senior participants are proud of the work they create.

“They’ll say how they’re going to give it to their grandkids.”

As they continue attending the programs, the seniors gradually become enthusiastic about meeting up with friends and creating bonds with their artists.

“There is comfort in consistency,” Moraw said of why having the same artists lead a class is a priority at ARTreach, especially for the senior programs. “The artists know about their lives, and you get to see [the seniors] blossom. It’s not always about the art project, but them getting together at a table, laughing and connecting.”


In addition to the NEA grant, ARTreach received three other financial gifts to enhance its programs, including another $10,000 grant from the NEA, Arts Engagement in American Communities, which also will support the Books Alive Literacy Through the Arts initiative.

The George Foundation and the Genesis Inspiration Foundation both also awarded ARTreach with $50,000 grants to support general operations and programming geared specifically toward youth.

Moraw said ARTreach is focused on “bridging the gap” between the arts and the “children and seniors who are missing out.”

“We consider art a healing, restorative, and empowering mechanism to help at-risk populations, including under-resourced youth, senior citizens, those with disabilities, and children with chronic illnesses,” she said.

“The grants we received will help us further our mission of providing programs that connect community artists with vulnerable populations to help them overcome obstacles and thrive.”

For more information visit

20 • Pecan Grove Monthly
Art &

Summer Reading Challenge kicks Off May 29

Fort Bend County Libraries presents special reading challenges during the summer to encourage reading among children from birth and up, as well as teens and adults.

“All Together Now” is the theme for this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. Online registration for the 2023 Summer Reading Challenge, which takes place at all Fort Bend County Libraries (FBCL) locations, will begin on Monday, May 29, and continue through August 31. Library activities for children begin during the week of June 5 and continue through July 29.

Children from infancy through school age are invited to come to the library to read a lot of great books and join in some fun activities to kick off a great summer.

Younger children will enjoy the “Summer Reading Challenge for Children,” while students in grades 6-8 can participate in activities for older kids in the “Middle School Summer Challenge.” Teens in high school can participate with adults in the “YA/Adult Summer Reading Challenge” to win prizes.

There is no charge to join the Summer Reading Challenge, and it is open to everyone, regardless of the county of residence. Participants may register at any Fort Bend County library, or they may register online by going to the FBCL website ( and clicking on the “SRC Sign-Up” image, which will become available on May 29. When the online registration form has been completed, readers will then have their own online page on which to record their books and reading time.

Participants may also register and log books/reading time by downloading the free Beanstack Tracker app to their mobile de-

vices from the Apple App or Google Play stores. Fort Bend County Libraries and the Summer Reading Challenge will appear as options when the program starts on May 29.

Reading rewards can be redeemed beginning Monday, June 5. The last day to pick up awards is August 31. Prizes may be collected from any FBCL library.

The Summer Reading Challenge is sponsored by Fort Bend County Libraries, the Friends organizations that support the county library system, and by the Collaborative Summer Library Program, a consortium of states working together to provide high-quality children’s summer-reading program materials for public libraries.

• 21 To advertise, call 281-342-4474
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Art League of Fort Bend’s Spring 2023 LSAG Judged Art Show Winners

22 • Pecan Grove Monthly
Eugenia Algaze García, Second prize pastel art Brenda Bowman, First prize mixed media Richard Warns, First prize acrylic painting Fereshteh Solati, First prize Manuel Boudreaux , First prize drawing Michelle Florence , First and second prize photography Claudia Diaz, First prize acrylic painting and Mayor’s Choice Award Daniyal Loya, Multiple prizes for drawing Noah Stein, Multiple ribbons for abstract experimental paintings Anga Gabaut , First and second prize for sculpture Thomas Ohlman, First prize for drawing Lynette McQueen, First prize Kay Hand won the Fran Knuepple award for her sculpture and first prize for mixed media painting


Younger children are encouraged to read or listen to as many books as they can and they will earn rewards based on the total number of books they read or have read to them. For the first five books read, the child will receive a bookmark. The rewards continue with a certificate for 10 books, a color-changing wristband for 15 books, and a reading trophy for the first 20 books read. For every 20 books read, the participant’s name will also be written on a cut-out shape of a bee to be displayed in that branch library.

Drawings for puppets will take place weekly. The names of readers who complete the goal of reading 20 books or more will be entered into a drawing for gift cards -- donated by the Friends of the Library organizations -- from area stores. One winner from each library location will be selected in a drawing that will take place in early September.


Exciting free activities are planned, while area readers in grades 6-8 participate in the Middle School Summer Reading Challenge by logging online the time they spend reading.

Upon completion of 10 hours (600 minutes) of reading, readers will receive a mystery prize. After completing 20 hours (1200 minutes) of reading, they will receive a trophy. The names of participants who complete 20 or more hours of reading will be entered into a drawing for a $25-gift card – donated by the Friends of the Library — that will be awarded to one lucky reader at each branch library, in a drawing that will take place in early September.


Adults of all ages, including young adults in high school, may participate in the YA/Adult SRC by logging online the time they spend reading.

All YA and adult readers who complete the goal of reading for

1,000 minutes will earn a Stowaway Jotter Set, while supplies last. In addition, the names of participants who log at least 1,000 minutes of reading time will be entered into a drawing for a $25gift card – donated by the Friends of the Library — that will be awarded to one reader at each branch library in a drawing that will take place at the end of August.

An ultimate grand prize will be awarded to one reader from throughout the library system. Participants in the YA/Adult Summer Reading Challenge who complete the program by logging 1,000 minutes of reading time will be entered into a drawing for a 32 GB Fire HD 8 tablet with a red case, which will be awarded to one winner in the library system on August 31, which is also the last day to pick up awards.

For more information, see the Fort Bend County Libraries website (, or call the branch library nearest you or the library system’s Communications Office at 281-633-4734.

Fort Bend Boys Choir to host Spring Concert Celebration

Join the Fort Bend Boys Choir for their Spring Concert on Friday, May 12. The concert begins at 7 p.m. at First United Methodist Church-Missouri City, 3900 Lexington Blvd. in Missouri City.

Music Magic, their music enrichment class of six and sevenyear-olds, will open the evening, followed by the Town-Training Choir. Next, the award-winning Tour Choir will perform, singing

Continued on page 25

• 23 To advertise, call 281-342-4474
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New online Environmental Sustainability Club to launch

Fort Bend County Libraries will launch a new online “Living Sustainably Club” on May 15, from 6 to 7 p.m. The topic for the month will be “Texas Superstar Plants,” presented by Fort Bend County Master Gardener Suma Mudan.

FBCL’s Living Sustainably Club programs will be live-streamed through Webex so that participants can participate virtually and interact with others in real-time. This monthly club is an online one by choice — a conscious effort to minimize the carbon footprint by reducing the use of fossil fuels.

Guest speakers will share information on various topics that focus on discussing, educating, and demonstrating how everyone — from individuals to businesses — can live sustainably within a budget.

For the inaugural meeting, Suma Mudan will talk about Texas Superstars® — plants that provide superior performance under Texas’s tough growing conditions. Learn about growing Superstar perennials, annuals, semi-tropical plants, trees, and edible plants, and get ideas on incorporating them into garden designs.

Plants are designated Texas Superstars by the Texas Superstar Executive Board, which is made up of seven AgriLife Research and AgriLife Extension horticulturalists, after years of field trials around the state. According to AgriLife Extension horticulturists, to be designated a Texas Superstar, a plant must not only be beautiful but must also perform well for consumers and growers throughout the state. Texas Superstars must be easy to propagate, which should ensure the plants are widely available throughout Texas and reasonably priced. Texas Superstar is a registered trademark owned by AgriLife Research, a state agency that is part of the Texas A&M University System.

Free and open to the public, the Living Sustainably Club will meet online on the third Wednesday of every month. Different topics will be presented each month.

Registration is required; a link to the Webex teleconference will be emailed to all who register. To register online at the library’s website (, click on “Classes & Events,” select “Virtual Programs,” and find the program on the date indicated. Participants may also register by calling FBCL’s Communications Office at 281-633-4734.

Garden Club of Richmond sells almost 11,000 caladium bulbs

Garden Club of Richmond experienced a change of scenery when they attended their monthly meeting as guests of Kathryn Joseph in the saloon room of Joseph’s Cafe and Coffee Shop.

Roberta Terrell, hostess, and her co-hostesses Donna Kay Tucker, Sandy McGee, Evalyn Moore, and Carolyn Pope offered a clever western-themed buffet of Cowboy Caviar Tex Mex Dip, Chicken salad canapes, Cactus canapes, Campfire Cheese Ball, Pecan Sandies, and Chocolate Chip Cow Patties.

The program by Jamie and Adam Busch, owners of Family Design Co. located in Richmond, gave background information on the inception of their business of family planning events, design, and a garden center of specialty plants. Moving here from California five years ago, the couple reevaluated their life choices after the loss of their mothers in a short period.

Both their mothers’ diverse approaches to design, casual com-

fy and proper fine dining, influence their shop. Other influences include Adam’s grandmother who maintained beautiful gardens and painted floral pictures. Jamie’s grandmother did her floral paintings on china dinnerware. One of Jamie’s favorite pieces is a pitcher graced with a California Poppy.

These inspirations influence their home décor choices bringing nature into the home—vintage mixing with modern. Many of their pieces have a story behind them. A grand millennial approach has brought back Ashley prints, florals mixed with plaids, bright colors, and gold filigreed mirrors. There is a renaissance of house plants in the home possibly stemming from more people working from home and having time to care for them. The couple puts together gift baskets and plants preparing them with special touches and flair.

Family Design Co. is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and opens every second and fourth Sunday in tandem with the Farmers Market in the back lot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

After the program club president Courtney Raska opened the meeting by thanking Kathryn Joseph and the luncheon hostesses for their contributions. Nancie Rain and Roberta Terrell reported that 10,950 caladium bulbs were sold this year for the club’s fundraiser. Community service chairman, Barbara Benes, was thrilled to announce that the fundraiser’s success will allow all expenses to be covered on this year’s civic project to beautify the Moore Home garden paths lining the entrance sidewalk. In addition to the civic project, tilling, soil replenishing, and caladium bulb planting will be added to improve the Moore Home Anniversary Garden. Members who donated to the Spring Break Garden Project received thanks from the Fort Bend County Museum.

The Nominating Committee presented the slate of officers for 2023-2024 for a final vote. New officers will be Deidre Doggett, president, Susan Farris, vice president, Roz Kavanaugh, secretary, Justine Huselton, treasurer, and Claudia Wright, parliamentarian.

Two new members, Theresa Crowell and Stephanie Williams, were accepted for membership.

24 • Pecan Grove Monthly Gardening
Flanking the impressive floral arrangement in the saloon setting for their meeting are garden club hostesses L-R Donna Kay Tucker, Roberta Terrell, Sandy McGee, and Carolyn Pope. Kathryn Joseph, who provided the meeting place for the Garden Club of Richmond, admires some of the influences of the owners of Family Design Co.-Jamie Busch with her grandmother’s hand-painted china plate and Adam Busch with a picture of his grandmother holding her plate-sized hibiscus bloom.

Continued from page 23

many of the songs featured during their upcoming summer performance tour to Minnesota. Tickets are $18 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. You can purchase tickets at the door or through their website at product/spring-concert-tickets/.

This concert is a great way to herald in the spring season while showing your support of the Fort Bend Boys Choir of Texas, said choir officials.

“And if you know of any families with young boys, it is the perfect time to invite them to a choir concert so they can see what their sons could be a part of — a time-honored tradition that not only teaches music, but also life lessons such as leadership, self-confidence, etiquette and so much more,” said the organization in a statement to the public.

For more information about auditions, ticket information, or the choir itself call 281-240-3800, visit, or follow the FBBCTX on Facebook, @FortBendBoysChoir.

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from page

Yet, this year’s inductees will be hard to top, said Harold Cash, who served as the master of ceremonies for the event.

“Some of the people we are going to recognize tonight are among the best cowboys and the best rodeo riders ever,” said Cash, a 2010 Hall of Fame inductee of the Multicultural Western Heritage Museum, who knew many of Friday night’s inductees personally.

Not all inductees have to be Black cowboys or even professional rodeo riders. Some provide livestock for rodeos or supported Black cowboys in other ways.

Edmund Samora, program director at the Black Cowboy Museum, thanked the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court and the Rosenberg City Council for their ongoing support of the museum. He also thanked the Black Cowboy Museum board of directors for their hard work in putting together the ceremony. Samora also applauded the inductees who took time out of their busy schedules to attend the ceremony.

“Thank you for being such amazing cowboys,” he said.

Recognized were:

Jeff Cook was born in Richmond. At the early age of 9 years old, he rode rough stock. He loved horses, dogs, and cowboying his whole life. He is a member of the Southwestern National Cowboys Association, in which he was an all-around champion in the late 1980’s. Also being a member of the Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association,

Gary Richard was born in April 1962 in Houston. In 2000, Gary decided to finally join the PBR at the age of 38. Gary would go on to immediately make PBR history by being the oldest bull rider at 39 to win a Premier Series Event. He qualified back to back seasons for the World Finals in 2001 and 2002. Gary held an 18-year record for the oldest World Finals Qualifier.

Harold Miller is from Seneca S.C. In 1975 at the of 18, Harold

went to a rodeo in his hometown of Seneca after a friend told him about riding bulls. With no rodeo experience, Harold stepped down over the back of a bull and hung on. Harold is a three-time IFR qualifier in bareback riding, most recently qualifying for IFR49 this past January in Oklahoma, at the age of 66.

Sherman Richardson started competing in rodeos in 1948 at the of age 18. In 1949, he joined Southwest Colored Cowboy Association. That year, he won the first buckle for All Around Cowboy. In 1955, Sherman joined the Pro Rodeo Association. From 1955 through 1959, he competed at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Calvin Greely Jr. was born Feb. 5, 1935, in El Campo. Calvin began riding horses with his dad in the pastures at the age of 3 years old. He won his first roping competition at the age of 14. He trained and mentored two world calf roping champions — Joe Beaver and Fred Whitfield.

26 • Pecan Grove Monthly
David Solomon started riding bulls when he was 16 years old. He joined the Black Rodeo Cowboys Association. In 1983, he won the championship. After that, he joined the Senior Pro Rodeo Association and won seven buckles. In 2022, he was inducted into the South Central Texas Hall of Fame. 13
The family of Sherman Richardson accepts the buckle for their late father, who was inducted into the Black Cowboy Hall of Fame.
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The family of David Solomon accepts the buckle of their late father, who was inducted into the Black Cowboy Hall of Fame.
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28 • Pecan Grove Monthly
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