Goose Creek CISD students received Friends of Mike Clement scholarships.
In the front row, from left, are Jackie Ponder, Jessica Cochran, Annabell Robles and Kyle Andrei Roque. In back are Elysa Torres, Adam Kinder, Fabiola Gonzalez, Lindsey Fox, Jay Ayson and Riley Banks. Not pictured: Seleni Bernardez and Alicia Ramirez, last year’s Peter H. Hyland Center recipient. Photo by Ron Lawhon
Eleven Goose Creek CISD students each received a $1,000 scholarship at the Friends of Mike Clement Scholarship Award presentation. The reception ceremony was held Saturday at the Goose Creek CISD Administration Building.
The students received the scholarships thanks to funds raised and donated at the seventh annual Friends of Mike Clement Charity Golf Tournament and Silent Auction last October.
Elysa Torres, a scholarship recipient from IMPACT Early College High School, said she is grateful to have won. “I think their mission is an amazing thing for the group to do in honor of such a great man,” Torres said. “Everyone at the reception was so friendly and welcoming, and I could feel their dedication to keeping the scholarship going as long as possible.
“Once again, thank you to the Friends of Mike Clement for choosing me as one of the winners, and I hope you can bless the lives of future seniors in GCCISD for years to come,” she said. Torres, a graduating senior from IMPACT, is in the top 10 of her class. She plans to attend the University of Texas at Dallas to double major in business administration and accounting. Adam Kinder was the other IMPACT scholarship recipient.
Fabiola Gonzalez, a Robert E. Lee High School senior, was another recipient of the Mike Clement Scholarship. “I would like to say that I am very thankful for the ongoing help the friends of Mike Clement offer the community of Baytown,” Gonzalez said. “It is an honor to be selected by this organization and to be part of the group of wonderful winners this year. This scholarship will help me advance in my education at the University of Houston-Clear Lake to major in biology and eventually go into dental school to become an orthodontist.”
Lindsey Fox of REL also won a scholarship.
Jay Ayson, a Goose Creek Memorial High School senior, was another scholarship recipient.
“I am grateful that I was one of three people chosen to represent GCM for this scholarship,” Ayson said. “I am further humbled by being introduced to the person this scholarship is honoring, Mike Clement. I learned of his contributions throughout my local community, and to be told alongside my other scholarship recipients that we represent such an impactful man is such high praise.” Ayson is heading to the University of Texas at Austin to major in biology in hopes of pursuing a career as a physician assistant, he said. “Of course, there will be many obstacles along the way, but with the scholarship, I will humbly be honoring Mike’s legacy in pursuit of my goals,” Ayson said.
The other two GCM recipients were Jackie Ponder and Riley Banks.
The Ross S. Sterling High School recipients were Seleni Bernardez and Kyle Andrei Roque. The Stuart Career Tech High School recipient was Annabell Robles. The Peter Hyland Center recipient was Alicia Ramirez.
The foundation received additional funds donated in the memory of Clement’s mother, Niwassa Clement in 2020. This enabled the foundation to award an additional $1,000 scholarship in her honor, which was awarded this year as well. The year’s Niwassa Clement Memorial At-Large Winner was Jessica Cochran, a student at REL. To contribute to the Niwassa Clement fund, visit www.friendsofmikeclement.org/niwassa.
Since awarding its first scholarships in 2017, the Friends of Mike Clement organization has awarded $56,500 in scholarships. Every year, Friends of Mike Clement, a nonprofit organization, hosts the Clement Golf Tournament to raise funds to award scholarships.
A Baytown native who graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 1980, Clement was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis during his time at Sam Houston State University.
Despite the effects of the disease, Clement also maintained a positive outlook on life and battled the deadly disease. After graduating from college with an accounting degree, he worked as a youth minister for Central Baptist Church in Baytown.
In his 1987 book “Rise to the Challenge,” Clement describes hitting rock bottom physically and emotionally. But through prayer, he was determined not to wallow in self-pity and threw his energy into his ministry. He was eventually elected to the Goose Creek CISD school board and was able to serve Baytown’s youth in another capacity. In 1998, Clement died in an accident related to his disease. Since his death, Clement’s family has awarded scholarships to Baytown students in his name.
The organization’s annual golf tournament is set for Oct. 22 at Eagle Pointe Golf Course in Mont Belvieu. To sign up or donate, visit https://friendsofmikeclement.org or contact Mark Casey at 512-619-8336, Ron Lawhon at 281-770-6101 or Carl Theiss at 832- 640-6176