TOMBALL TEXAS – On February 8, eight Boy Scouts were simultaneously awarded the prestigious Eagle Scout rank at a special Court of Honor held at New Kentucky Park. All of the young men are members of Troop 619, which is sponsored by the Lakewood Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Orion District, Sam Houston Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).
CYPRESS, Texas – On the morning of Saturday, April 13, over 50 Cy-Fair educators representing 15 schools were honored at a teacher appreciation brunch for their excellence in teaching. The event was sponsored by two Fairfield-area congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and held in their newly-completed building on Fairfield Place Drive.
“This is actually the first event we’ve hosted in our new meetinghouse,” said Chris Crawford, bishop of one of the congregations. “We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than to give back to those who so selflessly give every day to our most prized possessions, our children.”
The program included a children’s choir, a video presentation, speakers and a brunch.
Stirling D. Pack, Jr. was the keynote speaker. He told the teachers, “These young students under your care have chosen you as their outstanding teachers and mentors in all of the respective schools represented here today. We are assembled to honor you for what you do every day as teachers and administrators, making a lasting impression on their lives.”
Pack noted that directing, mentoring and encouraging children to fully reach their innate potential is both a great quest and significant challenge to those who teach.
Another speaker, Avery Smith, a junior at Cy-Ranch High School, said, “I invited Coach Holly Bowman because she has formed me to be a hard worker, dedicated teammate and student. She has helped me through some of my hardest classes. And as my swim coach, of course, she’s also taught me so much about swimming and being a great coach. Both of those skills have helped me become a better swimmer and a better teacher myself when I give swim lessons to younger children.”
Bowman said, “I am honored to be invited here today, especially by someone like Avery, who is a motivator to me. I feel very encouraged by what I’ve heard at this event. I’ve even received some inspiration today. I’ve actually thought of a new way to approach a current challenge by being more loving and ready to help.”
Dean Fantasia, a first grader at Ault Elementary, also spoke. He chose Lillian Cunningham as his special teacher and directed all of his remarks at the podium to her.
“Dean has touched my heart today,” Cunningham said. “He just said everything any teacher would love to hear! I feel appreciated and loved.”
“This has been a wonderful event,” said Ashley Clayburn, Ed.D., assistant superintendent of school improvement and accountability in Cy-Fair I.S.D. She attended the brunch on behalf of Dr. Mark Henry, superintendent. “We thank you for taking the time to honor our teachers for the outstanding work they do each and every day. I know the teachers and students will remember this celebration for a long time to come!”
Avery Smith summed up the collective feelings of all assembled when she concluded her talk by saying, “With my fellow students, we thank you for making the difference, for shaping our lives and for unlocking our future opportunities.”
CYPRESS, Texas – Visitors discovered what’s inside a Mormon chapel on Saturday, April 13, as they toured the newest meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Fairfield.
“This experience was very interesting,” said Marion Wilson, a resident of Towne Lake. “The tour was wonderful. We have been driving by this building for months and watched as the property was cleared and the church was built. They put to good use every inch of this building!”
Guided tours took visitors to every part of the facility. First-time visitors to a Mormon meetinghouse are often surprised to see many rooms instead of one large interior space. The sanctuary, called a chapel, is used for Sunday worship services. Although it is the largest space within the building, it only takes up about a
fourth of the square footage. Around the perimeter of the building are classrooms, offices and a kitchen. The second largest room is a gymnasium, called the “cultural hall.” It can be quickly transformed into a dance floor, a banquet hall, a wedding reception or a basketball court.
The highlight of the tour for many visitors, however, was learning about how these spaces are actually used by church members. Room hosts explained the activities for adults, youth and children that will take place each week in different parts of the building. In several rooms, Latter-day Saint teens and children were on hand to explain the Church’s youth programs, including a weekday early morning Bible study class for high school youth.
Christie Smith, a visitor to the open house, said, “The program for high school students was awesome. I like how they start each school day thinking about God.”
Kal Jariwala, a Fairfield resident who is Hindu, said it was the first time he had ever been inside a Christian church. “I was particularly impressed with the emphasis on families,” said Jariwala. “Family is very important to us in our religion as well. Everything starts with family.”
“I liked hearing about the youth activities, especially a 16-mile pioneer hike and basketball,” said his son, Arnar Jariwala.
Corina Luu said she didn’t know at first what to expect of the tour. “I found it very interesting to learn about the church’s structure and how it works,” she said. “I was impressed by the focus on the youth, which is so important since they are tomorrow’s leaders.” She also enjoyed learning about the Church’s family history resources and how they are available to the public.
Smith said she was most impressed about how patient the Latter-day Saints have been in waiting for the construction of this new church. “I loved hearing about how they planned this building for a long time,” Smith said. “They purchased the property nine years ago and waited until they could afford to build it.”
President David Lauck, an ecclesiastical leader for 12 Latter-day Saint congregations in the Cypress area, said, “It was such a pleasure to greet our friends and neighbors as they entered our new building. In the future, visitors will always be welcome to attend Sunday worship services at 9 or 11 a.m., weekday early morning Bible study for high school students and Wednesday night youth activities. We look forward to partnering with many other faiths and community organizations as we work together to benefit the Fairfield community.”