Fort Bend Star Newspaper Shares Alyssa’s Story

The Fort Bend Star newspaper of Fort Bend County, TX shared Alyssa’s story about her cancer journey, her wish for water wells, the Alyssa Ferguson World Changers Fund, and the FBISD naming of a new elementary school.

The text of the article follows:

New FBISD elementary school to bear name of late student

  • By Matt deGrood, Fort Bend Star
  • Apr 19, 2022
Alyssa Ferguson
Alyssa Ferguson, pictured in an orange dress, is surrounded by her parents, Scott and Sandy, and sister Jenna. Contributed photo

Fort Bend County residents and leaders in the days since the school district announced its 54th elementary school would be named after Alyssa Ferguson shared remembrances that wouldn’t be out of place discussing famous figures from the county’s past.

But whereas many of the district’s other schools are named after former board members, educators or famous county figures, Alyssa Ferguson Elementary School’s namesake is a former student who left her mark on the district before her untimely death in 2017 from cancer.

“As a committee, we felt Alyssa’s life provides a great example to our students on how they can utilize the profile-of-a-graduate attributes in serving as compassionate citizens and servant leaders,” FBISD board President Dave Rosenthal said.

The board of trustees recently approved the school’s name at a board meeting. Alyssa Ferguson Elementary School is set to open in the fall of 2023 at 13000 Heritage Park Drive in Missouri City, near the Sienna neighborhood that Ferguson called home during her lifetime.

Ferguson, who died at age 15, also impressed scores of Fort Bend County leaders and residents when she opted to use her Make-A-Wish to help build a well for a village in Africa.

“It’s an honor,” said Sandy Ferguson, Alyssa’s mother. “It’s been five years since she passed, and to know she’s still remembered and had such an incredible heart is an incredible legacy. Every kid who walks through the doors of the school will have a chance to see what she has done and realize that, even as a kid, they can make a difference in the world, in their school and in their communities.”

The Ferguson family had only moved to Fort Bend County in August 2013, and Alyssa Ferguson enrolled at Baines Middle School in FBISD, her father, Scott Ferguson, shared with the Fort Bend Star last week.

From the beginning, Alyssa Ferguson was cut from a different cloth than many other students.

“She always had a heart for others,” Scott Ferguson said. “Even as a little kid, when we’d pass someone who was homeless, she’d always say, ‘We have an extra room, why can’t they just stay with us?’”

Alyssa Ferguson was diagnosed in January 2014 with medulloblastoma, a brain tumor with an 80 percent treatment success rate, Scott Ferguson said.

“We just never dreamed we’d be in that 20 percent,” he said. “You assume those 20 percent are those with additional medical issues.”

While doctors have a lot of success against the type of tumor, they only have one treatment for it, Scott Ferguson explained. If that doesn’t work, there aren’t many other options, he said.

Over coming months and years, Alyssa Ferguson’s life became a series of radiation treatments, doctors’ visits and surgeries, Scott Ferguson said.

But through it all, Alyssa Ferguson remained devoted to school and maintaining a positive attitude, he said.

“She became friends with all the other kids going through treatment,” he said. “There was one boy there from China who didn’t speak English. She didn’t speak his language, so she downloaded a language app and became friends with him. He came to the house for dinner one time.”

And even as more of her time became occupied with trips to doctors and trials in Boston and elsewhere, Alyssa Ferguson worked to keep up at school, her family said.

“She kept fighting and kept going to school the entire time,” Scott Ferguson said. “She made good grades, was in band and involved in church and her youth group. She stayed active all the way until she went into hospice.”

Some of Alyssa Ferguson’s actions during her battle with brain cancer left an indelible impression on elected leaders in Fort Bend County as well.

“I learned about this incredible young lady when I heard what Alyssa did with her wish from Make-A Wish Texas Gulf Coast and Louisiana,” former U.S. Rep. Pete Olson said.

Where many children use their make-a-wish to meet a favorite athlete or visit somewhere, Alyssa Ferguson opted to use hers to build a well in a village in Zimbabwe called Murehwa.

Alyssa Ferguson came up with the idea because, years earlier, she’d read a book called “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park and decided this was her opportunity to help, Scott Ferguson said.

“Amazingly, she told Scott and Sandy that, ‘The only reason I got this wish is because I got sick. I should use it to help someone. I didn’t earn it,’” Olson said.

Alyssa Ferguson’s family held out hope that she would eventually recover and they would all take a visit to the village, they said. But the Fergusons ended up making the journey after Alyssa’s death, where they discovered what a difference the well made in the lives of the villagers, they said.

“It was just beautiful to see how water was changing the whole village,” Scott Ferguson said.

The population of the village has almost doubled in the years since, and more children have been able to attend school because the well sits next to a school, Scott Ferguson said. Before, they had to spend their days traversing to a water hole, but now can attend classes and fill jugs of water on their way home, he said.

To keep their daughter’s memory alive, the family has set up a foundation to continue building wells, Scott Ferguson said. The foundation is called the Alyssa Ferguson World-Changers Fund, and it has helped build eight wells and counting across the world, including ones in Myanmar, India, Haiti and South Sudan, Scott Ferguson said.

Now, the Fergusons hope that generations of students will have the opportunity to learn from their daughter’s example, they said.

And the Fort Bend County community was unanimous in agreeing the honor was well-deserved.

“For those of you that never knew Alyssa, I want you to know this is a beautiful recognition from Fort Bend Independent School District,” said Sugar Land Councilperson William Ferguson, who is not related to Alyssa.

The link to the original article can be found here.

Community Impact Newspaper Shares Story About the Naming of Alyssa Ferguson Elementary

Community Impact Newspaper published a story about the naming of the new Alyssa Ferguson Elementary. The original story follows:

Fort Bend ISD board of trustees names new elementary school after student who died

The Fort Bend ISD board of trustees stand with Scott and Sandy Ferguson (center), whose daughter, Alyssa Ferguson, died in 2017 after a battle with medulloblastoma and now has a new elementary school named after her. (Courtesy Fort Bend ISD)
The Fort Bend ISD board of trustees stand with Scott and Sandy Ferguson (center), whose daughter, Alyssa Ferguson, died in 2017 after a battle with medulloblastoma and now has a new elementary school named after her. (Courtesy Fort Bend ISD)

Author: Community Impact Newspaper Hunter Marrow | 4:30 PM Apr 12, 2022 CDT

Image description

In a unanimous vote, the Fort Bend ISD board of trustees has named a new elementary school after one of the district’s former students.

The elementary school, scheduled to open in fall 2023 at 1300 Heritage Park Drive, Missouri City, is named after Alyssa Ferguson, who died in January 2017 as a freshman at Ridge Point High School after a battle with medulloblastoma, a brain cancer, according to an April 11 FBISD agenda report.

Ferguson, who lived in the Sienna community, was first diagnosed with the cancer while enrolled at Baines Middle School at the age of 12, according to an April 11 news release from the school district.

The naming comes due to Ferguson’s character and sense of giving while in the midst of her battle with cancer, according to the district’s news release. When asked what wish she wanted to receive from the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Ferguson replied, “The only reason I got this wish is because I got sick. I should use it to help someone. I didn’t earn it.”

Instead, Ferguson used her wish to dig a well in a village in Zimbabwe that did not have access to clean water. Since then, eight wells have now been dug because of the mission Ferguson started, according to the news release.

Per board policy, FBISD established a committee to select a name for the new school in early 2022; the committee was comprised of teachers, parents, community representatives and district staff along with FBISD Board President Dave Rosenthal and FBISD Board Member Kristin Malone.

“As a committee, we felt Alyssa’s life provides a great example to our students on how they can utilize the Profile of a Graduate attributes in serving as compassionate citizens and servant leaders,” Rosenthal said in the news release.

Ahead of the school opening in fall 2023, Carla Patton will serve as the school’s principal beginning in January 2023. Patton was named the school’s principal by the district’s board of trustees on April 11.

Link to original story above can be found here.

Classmates Honor Alyssa’s Memory

The text and photos of this post are from A Shelter for Cancer Families, a charity near and dear to the Fergusons.

Go Gold 1

Families impacted by childhood cancer pose with Donny, Alex, and Zach before going on stage.

So proud of A Shelter for Cancer Families’ Ambassador Donny Phillips. When presented with an opportunity to showcase his talent at a high school event, Donny chose to use his platform to create awareness of childhood cancer and did he ever! Even the Houston floods couldn’t dampen the PURE GOLD that shown brightly last night. Donny recruited his friends Alex & Zach to join him. They surprised the entire audience when they dedicated their performance to their late classmate Alyssa Ferguson. World Changers (a song written about Alyssa by Christian musical artist Matthew West) played as the trio welcomed the Ferguson family and others in the community affected by childhood cancer onto the stage. Donny held Felipe “Pipe” Muyshondt (who is currently battling the same type of brain tumor that Donny’s younger brother and cancer survivor, Jake survived five years ago) as the song played. Truly a golden moment, none in the audience will soon forget.

Go Gold 2

Zach, Donny, and Alex in their GO GOLD costumes

Here is a short video of their performance:

 

 

 

 

 

Restaurant Fundraiser Feb. 25

Hoggs+N+Chicks

Ridge Point High School’s World Changers Club has partnered with Hoggs N’ Chicks restaurant in Missouri City, Texas to raise funds for a new water well.

On Monday, February 25th, Hoggs N’ Chicks will provide a portion of all earmarked sales to the World Changers Club. The club is working to raise enough funds to sponsor a well through the Alyssa Ferguson World Changers Fund. When diners tell the restaurant they are dining in support of World Changers, 10% of the bill will be donated.

Hoggs N’ Chicks is located at 8817 Highway 6, Ste 900 near Sienna Plantation in Missouri City, Texas. They are open for lunch and dinner from 11:00am – 8:30pm. Whether you are dining in or taking out, please let them know you are there to support World Changers!

Good+Food