About Brazos Valley Czech Heritage Society [BVCHS]

 

2021-2022 Elected Officers

PRESIDENT — Marie Dulak; mdulak52@gmail.com; (979) 324-7871

VICE PRESIDENT — Richard "Rich" Fayman; rcfayman@aol.com (979) 317- 9145

SECRETARY — Cheryl Wenck; the 5wencks@verizon.net; (979) 220-4048

TREASURER — Jo Ann Zaeske; info@accuprintgp.com; (979) 224-4434

REPORTER — Kelly Sandhop; ksand_rn@yahoo.com; (979) 777-9349

 

Appointed Positions

Bylaws/Nominations —  John Moravec [johndmoravec@gmail.com]

Concernments —  Georgia Simecek [gasimenek@verizon.net]

Newsletter/Cesky Hlas — Marie Dulak [mdulak52@gmail.com]

Genealogy/Meetings — Frank Dulak [fdulak51@gmail.com]

Membership/Historian —  Jo Ann Zaeske [info@accuprintgp.com]

Scholarship/Social Affairs — Cheryl Wenck [the5wencks@verizon.net]

Baking Classes/Worldfest/Special Programs — Stan Vitha [bohemian2012@aol.com]

 

Annual Dues

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.

 

Valentine’s Dance

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].                                                                        

 

Christmas Party

In past years, a Christmas Party was held on the first Sunday of December.  The party was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

 

Meetings

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.

 

History

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.