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Sports is more than a game to Seven Lakes mom

September 4, 2018

Sports plays a big role in the life of MariAnne Vondenstein.

She serves as president of the board of directors of the Seven Lakes High School Athletic Booster Club. It’s a non-paying position that requires more than 40 hours a week, but it’s a labor of love. It’s her second year as president of the club which she first joined about seven years ago.

Where are you from: I am from a town called Gueydan, La. We’ve been in the Katy area since 2009.

What do you do?: I’m a stay-at-home mom. We have two who graduated from Seven Lakes. We have one junior on the varsity football team. We have one eighth-grader at Seven Lakes Junior High.

How did you end up with the job of club president? It’s not one you ever apply for. I started in 2011 doing program ads and designing the football programs. I’m also a team mom for football since 2013. A team mom coordinates all five teams, team dinners and notifications to parents. A team mom serves as liaison between the coach and parents. I still do that.

What is it like as club president? When we become booster club president, we become parents and advocates for 1,300 kids. We have dedication and responsibility for these kids. I’m at all home varsity games for football. I try to attend some of each sport throughout the season. Last year when the volleyball team went to state championships, we traveled to Dallas to attend and support them. We are grateful for our athletic director Debbie Decker. She certainly supports all the booster clubs and athletes. She has the kids’ best interests at heart at all times.

What challenges do you face?: Parent participation. I think that when kids are in elementary, parents dedicate a lot of time and effort to extracurricular activities their children are involved in. When they get into high school, they’re not as eager to devote the time needed. We live in a fast-paced world. Everyone is focused on what they’re doing in their lives.

What’s the best part of what you do? The kids and families we have met all these years. Not being from here, we quickly established our family unit through the school. We truly consider Seven Lakes High School as our family. Nothing ran truer than through Hurricane Harvey.

What are your thoughts on the anniversary of Hurricane Harvey?: We had so many families impacted from all the schools — Seven Lakes in particular. Our children — football players and athletes from other sports — did home rescues for two days. They learned very quickly how to put others before themselves and have lasting memories of the things they saw and the experiences they had and how fortunate they were not in the same position as some of these families were. My husband and a few other football dads brought 50 boys and one girl to do boat rescues in the Grand Lakes area. It’s something that the kids and adults will never forget. It definitely forever changed them.

When FEMA came into relieve the boats of their duty, we — a group of parents from Seven Lakes — started to cook. We cooked for 45 families and delivered for about two weeks. So from our home we had adults who would cook during the day. In the afternoon, athletes would set off in groups of four making deliveries. One case in point, my son delivered food to a family who was evacuated. How emotional it was to see how grateful they were for the dedication and time these kids took. The kids worked hard that two weeks. It was an emotional toil on them.

What do you see for Seven Lakes’ future?: I think for Seven Lakes we have a brand-new principal, Kerri Finnesand, who’s been in our community for quite some time. The principal opened at Stanley Elementary and she knows a lot of families. We have a brand-new football coach, Jim Hamon. We definitely have a new start and a new passion. There’s a new era. There’s a new spirit going into this year pulling the whole community together from fine arts to athletics to academics.

karen.zurawski@chron.com

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