By Claudia Richter Photography by Diana Porter
The Chris Saiz Point the Way Foundation helps area students in achieving their goals for years to come
Some people are born with such remarkable gifts that they are able to inspire others around them. This was true for Chris Saiz. The much-loved junior from Cinco Ranch High School was taken from his family and community last December when he was involved in a car accident, but his influence, talents, accomplishments and zest for life will never be forgotten. His family, friends and the foundation formed to honor him will make sure of it.
The Chris Saiz Point the Way Foundation not only bears his name but also includes a special meaning in the name. As the starting point guard for the Cinco Ranch High School Varsity Basketball Team since he was a freshman, and the AAU club team he was well-known around Houston for, it speaks volumes about the person he was: a loyal and supportive friend, an excellent student, and beloved son to parents Magda and Michael and brother to Tony.
“Our goal with the foundation,” said Magda, “is to help other kids realize the dreams that Chris came so close to achieving. Chris had many aspirations. He was also very aware of his gifts and knew that he needed to honor them by working hard.”
Chris’ talent extended beyond the basketball court. “He was being recruited by Ivy League schools,” said dad Michael. “We recently received a personal letter from Harvard.”
The foundation, although only recently established, has already awarded three scholarships, two to Cinco Ranch High School 2012 seniors and one from Taylor High School’s recent graduating class. Savannah Tarpey, James Rhoden, and Dylan Moser each received $2,500 to help with college expenses. Chosen from the applications submitted, these students struck a chord with the Saiz family as displaying some of their son’s traits.
“We weren’t looking for students who already had full-ride scholarships,” said Michael, “nor did they need to be the cream of the crop. We just looked for kids that had done well academically, had good character and needed assistance with college. It was really important to us that they were well-rounded.”
Magda said she is very pleased with the students. “I am so proud to award these scholarships to these kids. We didn’t know them before, but we will keep up with their progress and continue our support of them.”
Supportive is also the way the Saiz family describes the people of Katy. “We are very grateful for the outpouring from the community. We have lived in other places, but people in Katy welcome you with open arms.”
It is that closeness and strong friendship bonds that got the ball rolling for the foundation. The idea for forming the foundation came from Jeff Pennington, a Saiz family friend from Chris’ club basketball team. In a show of love and support, he handed Magda and Michael a check at the memorial service to help get the foundation started. A board of directors was quickly formed and includes Pennington, Mitchell Rubin, Bruce Morris, Clara Parker, Marsherria Wilson, Dirk Minniefield, and Michael Saiz as president.
In April, a basketball showcase was held at Cinco Ranch High School to get unsigned basketball players from the Houston area and coaches together. It was one of the foundations two signature events that will take place annually and act as a fundraiser. ‘We have a feeling that this is something that will really grow,” shared Michael. “We had 40 seniors from public and private schools attend. Everything was donated from the jerseys to the basketballs to the food.”
The other annual fundraising event will be a golf tournament scheduled for October 1st at the River Ridge Golf Course in Sealy. Tragically, a long-time family friend and neighbor who was organizing the tournament passed away unexpectedly recently. The tournament will go on and will provide a chance to honor both him and Chris.
“As the foundation grows, we would like to keep picking up momentum and be able to raise funds to help more students with scholarships,” said Michael. “We’ve awarded three scholarships this year and hopefully, will award more next year.”
“We couldn’t have done these things without the help of so many,” said Magda. “We see this as a blessing and are so grateful.”
For more information about the Chris Saiz Point the Way Foundation, visit www.chrissaizpointthewayfounation.org or call 800.394.0191.