About Brazos Valley Czech Heritage Society [BVCHS]
2021-2022 Elected Officers
PRESIDENT — Marie Dulak; firstname.lastname@example.org; (979) 324-7871
VICE PRESIDENT — Richard "Rich" Fayman; email@example.com (979) 317- 9145
SECRETARY — Cheryl Wenck; the firstname.lastname@example.org; (979) 220-4048
TREASURER — Jo Ann Zaeske; email@example.com; (979) 224-4434
REPORTER — Kelly Sandhop; firstname.lastname@example.org; (979) 777-9349
Bylaws/Nominations — John Moravec [email@example.com]
Concernments — Georgia Simecek [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Newsletter/Cesky Hlas — Marie Dulak [email@example.com]
Genealogy/Meetings — Frank Dulak [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Membership/Historian — Jo Ann Zaeske [email@example.com]
Scholarship/Social Affairs — Cheryl Wenck [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Baking Classes/Worldfest/Special Programs — Stan Vitha [email@example.com]
Dues for the BVCHS Chapter are $5.00 annually and $10.00 for State Membership, for a total of $15.00. To ensure that a member's name is listed on the state roster, the dues must be paid by the end of January. Dues paid in October through December will be credited to the following year, meaning if paid October 1st, credit is given for a 15-month membership.
Czech Language Class
Czech Language Classes typically begin in January for the Spring Semester and September for the Fall Semester. Prior to 2019, the classes was taught by an instructor from the Czech Republic who was the current holder of the The Czech Educational Foundation of Texas [CEFT] William J. Hlavinka Czech Fellowship, in the Department of English at Texas A&M University. The fellowship has not been awarded in 2019 and 2020.
The Chapter has been very fortunate to have as one of its members, Tomáš Pansky, who has taught the classes for the past two years. He is from the Czech Republic and now lives in Bryan. He a very capable instructor and makes the learning experience fun.
The classes focus on beginners, but are generally structured to accommodate both beginners and more advanced speakers of the Czech Language, depending on the language abilities of the students who enroll. The classes typically concentrate on Conversational Czech and are open to anyone interested in learning more about the Czech language and culture.
Dates and locations for the classes will be posted at the Upcoming Activities tab. Instructional materials are provided and covered as part of the nominal $35 tuition fee. A textbook is available for purchase, but not required. It is not a requirement for a student to be of Czech heritage to attend the classes.
If there is not a scheduling conflict, a Valentine’s Dance is held in February typically on the Sunday afternoon preceding Valentine’s Day.
Spring Baking Class
A Spring Baking Class is scheduled for a Saturday of March or April. The program varies annually but generally focuses on baking genuine Czech fruit-filled pastries or cakes [Českě koláčé] and Easter Bread [Mazanec]. The class is taught by Stan Vitha with class size limited to 12 people, and there is a charge of $35 to cover the cost of baking supplies and rental of a kitchen.
Emphasis is placed on students learning how to make the dough and fillings, properly shape the pastry, and understand the difference between the original Czech and Texas versions of the pastry. Students also learn how to make small, crescent-shaped bread rolls [rohlíky] for lunch.
Students take home their baked goods after class.
Fall Baking Class
A Fall Baking Class is typically scheduled for a Saturday of October and focuses on baking Czech Christmas Bread [Vánočka) from scratch. Emphasis on learning, class size, and costs associated with the class are the same as for the Spring Baking Class.
Fall Czech Celebration
In past years, a Fall Czech Celebration has been held on the second Sunday of October. The celebration was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. The chapter is attempting to locate a new facility at which to host the celebration in October 2021. Details will be posted at the Upcoming Activities tab on the Home Page.
The event celebrates as October as Czech-American Heritage Month as resolved by the U. S. House of Representatives [106TH Congress].
In past years, a Christmas Party was held on the first Sunday of December. The party was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Chapter meeting dates are determined by the Meetings Committee and approved by the Executive Committee. Four meetings are held annually, usually in January, April, September, and November. Please refer to the Upcoming Activities tab under the menu along the left side of the Home Page for the schedule of meetings.
The BVCHS Chapter of The Czech Heritage Society of Texas, Inc., was established on June 23, 1997, in Bryan, Texas, at the Bryan Public Library at a meeting which began at 6:30 p.m. There were 13 interested people who attended, and the chapter was organized by a vote of 13 to zero. Membership for 2018 was about 120 adults and youths.
The BVCHS has had the following Presidents lead the chapter:
1997–2000 Patrick Janis
2001–2011 Lou Zaeske (deceased 8/30/11)
2012 *Office of President was held open
2013–2020 Edward [E. J.] Biskup
2021–Present Marie Dulak
*The Office of President was held open by unanimous vote of members in honor of Lou Zaeske, the chapter's president for 11 years, to show appreciation for all he had done for the chapter and for tirelessly promoting the Czech culture. Frank Kocman, as Vice President, presided over chapter activities during 2012.
The BVCHS has sponsored Queens and Little Czech Sisters in the CHS Miss Texas Czech-Slovak Queen Pageant in the following years:
Year Queen Little Czech Sister
2003 Laura Polasek Fallon Wenck
2004 Terry Nors Lauren Koll
2005 Anna Michelle Burke Fallon Wenck
2012 Jennifer Koll Faith Wenck
2013 Jennifer Koll Faith Wenck
2019 Zoe Peterek Grace Moravec
In 2012, Jennifer Koll was selected as Miss Texas Czech-Slovak Queen and represented Texas at the national pageant in Wilber, Nebraska, in August of 2013. She was recipient of the Heritage Involvement Award in recognition of her significan knowledge and involvement in her Czech heritage.
Over the years, the BVCHS has hosted various touring groups from the Czech Republic as they performed throughout Texas to include: Strnadel Group, Mimi Fortunae, Stribrnanka Band, and others.
The month of October has been designated as Czech Heritage Month by the Texas Legislature, the United States Congress, in most of the 254 Texas counties. In keeping with that designation, BVCHS has held an annual celebration each October since 2001, honoring its Czech culture.