Community Listings: Week of June 7

Rotary Club of Beaumont member with scholarship recipients

Beaumont Rotary Club scholarship recipients

The Rotary Club of Beaumont recently announced the selection of the club’s scholarship recipients, Beaumont ISD seniors Marij Wali Janjua and Victoria Michelle White.

The Rotary Scholarship is awarded based on community service, leadership abilities and potential and academic achievement. Special consideration is given to students who have participated in Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) or in Interact, a high school club that is similar in mission and purpose to a Rotary Club. The $8,000 Rotary Scholarship is awarded over the course of studies to selected high school seniors pursuing a bachelor’s degree from a four-year institution of higher education.

Janjua is graduating 13th in his class from West Brook. White is graduating first in her class from Central High School. Her high school honors include Valedictorian, Summa Cum Laude, Student Council Vice President, National Honor Society, Silver Steppers Dance Team Lieutenant and a leader with the Drug, Alcohol, Safety and Health (DASH) organization. She was instrumental in establishing the Interact Club at Central and became the chartering president. The club was very active in their first year under her leadership by organizing a Literacy Night for children of Jones-Clark Elementary and working with the Beaumont Rotary Club on several service projects.

The Rotary Club of Beaumont is pleased to honor these students with the Beaumont Rotary Scholarship and recognizes the many other applicants who excelled academically and made significant contributions to their schools and the Beaumont community through their service.

Big Thicket welcomes AmeriCorps volunteer

The Big Thicket National Preserve welcomes Nate Zantzinger of suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to the team. He is one of 52 recent college graduates working in a national park this year to “Get Things Done” as an AmeriCorps Community Volunteer Ambassador. Zantzinger will spend a year working with park partners and local neighboring communities to organize volunteer events and activities across all seven Southeast Texas counties were the preserve is located.

“Nate continues the long legacy of young people devoted to conservation stewardship,” said Big Thicket National Preserve Superintendent Wayne Prokopetz. “His enthusiasm will be a great asset as he creates volunteer opportunities in the preserve over the next year.”

The Community Volunteer Ambassadors (CVA) Program is a partnership between the National Park Service, Northwest Youth Corps, and Conservation Legacy. The program provides work and training opportunities to young adults ages 21 to 30 in national parks throughout the country. Each of the 52 CVAs will work in collaboration with local communities to mobilize volunteer groups and individuals to share in the protection of our nation’s natural and cultural resources.

CVAs will support a wide variety of park operations and programs that address the priorities of the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, and local communities. Activities include facilities and trail maintenance, research and education, health and recreation, and disaster services.

CVAs work closely with other National Park Service staff to strengthen community partnerships, recruit others into volunteer service, and coordinate national stewardship

“I’m very excited to learn about Southeast Texas and to work with the community to build stewardship of the preserve,” said Zantzinger. “I’m drawn to the dynamic environment and diversity of species found throughout this region of Texas.”

Portraits from Cowboys of Color

Photographs by Don Russell and Cowboy Legends and Life

The Stark Museum of Art will open two special exhibitions featuring cowboy subjects on Saturday, June 16. The exhibitions Portraits from Cowboys of Color: Photographs by Don Russell and Cowboy Legends and Life will present differing, although complimentary, aspects of the cowboy tradition in art. Both exhibitions will be on view through Sept. 29.

Portraits from Cowboys of Color highlights the modern African-American rodeo cowboy. It features portraits of contemporary cowboys and cowgirls who ride and rope in rodeos. The works reveal a tradition of black cowboy culture often overlooked in western history and art. Photographer Don Russell made the works over a two-year period and also published a book on the subject. The portraits are recent gifts to the Stark Museum of Art.

Cowboy: Legends and Life presents the theme of the cowboy as an icon for America. This exhibition explores the imagery of the cowboy and cowgirl in American Western art. It will present both the idealization and the working life of men and women of the West. Paintings, sculptures, drawings, rare books and photographs from the collections of the Stark Museum of Art give a survey from the late 19th century through the art of today. Artists include Frederic Remington, Charles Marion Russell, William Herbert Dunton, Frank Tenney Johnson and others. The exhibition will include new acquisitions for the collections including photographs by Richard S. Buswell and Bonnie Schiffman.

Stark Museum of Art is at 712 Green Ave. in Orange. For more information, visit

Medical Center of SETX distributes scholarships

Volunteers from The Medical Center of Southeast Texas have recently distributed $12,000 in college scholarships to high school seniors in Southeast Texas. The $12,000, raised throughout the year in events such as popcorn sales, hospital gift shop sales, and jewelry and retail sales, went to six graduating high school seniors interested in a future in healthcare.

Each spring, Medical Center volunteers open up the scholarship application process to graduating high school seniors in the area. Over the past 13 years, volunteers have distributed $78,000 in scholarships to college-bound seniors. This year’s scholarship award-winners graduated from Nederland High School, Port Neches-Groves High School, Bridge City High School and Hamshire-Fannett High School.

“We are proud to contribute to someone’s future as well as the future of the healthcare industry,” says Joan Sheehan, director of social services and volunteer services for The Medical Center of Southeast Texas. Sheehan and volunteer representatives attended ceremonies at the area schools to personally present the scholarships to students.

“We are proud to support these ambitious high school seniors,” says Richard Gonzalez, president of The Medical Center of Southeast Texas. “These students clearly demonstrate a drive to further their own selves through higher education. They also show care and concern for the greater good by expressing an interest in healthcare. I applaud The Medical Center of Southeast Texas volunteers for their continual efforts in raising funds to support our local community.”

BISD spelling champ participates in national competition

Curtis Elementary fifth grader Benjamin Chen recently had the opportunity to represent Beaumont ISD in the Scripps National Spelling Bee near Washington, D.C.

The competition began with 519 spellers; Chen was speller No. 495. After two days of oral spelling, 322 spellers remained, including Chen, who was perfect. Only 41 spellers advanced to the finals. Overall, Chen tied for 42nd place. 

“It is an act of bravery to get on that huge stage in front of the whole world,” said Connie Hill, Houston Public Media director of interactive education. “Ben did very well.” 

Chen won the District spelling bee in February and advanced to the Regional 10th annual Houston Public Spelling Bee in April. He won second place after competing in eight rounds with 51 spellers representing 324 Texas counties.

Buu Mon’s annual festival this weekend

The Buu Mon Buddhist Temple is set to host its 20th annual festival the weekend of Saturday, June 9, and Sunday, June 10, at the temple at 2701 Procter St. in Port Arthur. Stroll through gardens of lotus blossoms, towering bamboo, roses, citrus and koi ponds. Saffron-robed monks can guide visitors through the temple and meditation areas where statues decorate the grounds. The festival will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, with no admission charge. Look for cultural presentations, authentic Vietnamese food, and arts and crafts, and bring a camera to capture the colorful blooms. Lotus, water lily and bamboo will be for sale. A cultural show will be held Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. A Vesak Celebration will commemorate the birthday of Gotama Buddha from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call (409) 931-9982.