By Mary Alys Cherry
Ten outstanding Bay Area Houston community volunteers were honored by a crowd of about 400 at the 2015 Clear Creek Education Foundation Gala, held Nov. 7 in the South Shore Harbour Resort’s Crystal Ballroom.
Attorney Joe Barlow was the recipient of the George B. Carlisle Distinguished Service Award and retired Johnson Space Center Human Resources Director Harv Hartman was named Citizen of the Year. Both were honored for their many contributions to the Clear Creek School District, the Education Foundation and the Clear Lake community.
Ann Hacker, owner of Black Rose Steel, was named the recipient of the Dennis Johnson Memorial Small Business Award for her many contributions to community organizations and for her work as one of the founders of the Salute to Heroes Foundation.
Others honored were two Distinguished Alumni Award winners:
- MaryLou Johnson, Clear Lake High grad and now retired CCISD arts and dance teacher who became a Texas Dance Educators Association past president and Hall of Famer after leading the Clear Creek Cavaliers and the Clear Lake Flairs;
- Bao-Long Chu, Clear Creek graduate who arrived at McWhirter Elementary from Saigon as a child and grew up to be a poet and librettist, writing Bound for the Houston Grand Opera and serving as program officer for the Houston Endowment.
This year’s Superstars included:
- Emmeline Dodd, a former research biologist at JSC and retired biology professor at College of the Mainland, she has spent countless hours volunteering for a wide variety of Bay Area organizations;
- Dr. Pat Wilson and Capt. Wendell Wilson have given so selflessly of themselves to the University of Houston-Clear Lake and so many organizations for the past 40 years that there are few who do not know them and admire their many good deeds;
- Tonia Roque, Landolt Elementary teacher and CCISD Elementary Teacher of the Year, is a National Board Certified Teacher who in her younger days was homecoming queen at Clear Lake High;
- Anthony Tran, Clear Falls High math teacher, who came here from Vietnam and was the CCISD Secondary Teacher of the Year and the Region 4 Teacher of the Year.
Gary Renola, chairman of the Education Foundation, welcomed the crowd and introduced the emcee – Ch.2 weatherman Kambril Marshall, who kept the crowd chuckling all evening long. Even took photos of the honorees to show his friends back at the TV station.
Teresa Vencil was chairman of the gala, heading a committee that included Janice Albro, Kim Barker, Katy Bastedo, Marshall Bennett, Kay Lee Benoit, Janet Brown, Annette Falks, Kimberly Fleming, Tisa Foster, Ann Hammond, Dinah Matthews, Joan McKinney, Donna McMartin, Sarah Moutz, Jill Reason, Marcia Vineyard and Elizabeth Wang.
Faces in the crowd included Galveston County Judge Mark Henry, State Reps. Dennis Paul and Dr. Greg Bonnen and Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, a 2011 alumni honoree.