Teen striving as Top Teen of America

Published 9:06 pm Wednesday, September 26, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


A young man, who describes himself as shy, is learning about leadership and communications as a Top Teen of America.

Matthais Petterway, 17, is Benitris  and Marvin Edwards grandson, son of Takeulia Petterway, of Orange, and is President of the Humble International Chapter and Second Vice President of Area 1 of the Top Teens of America.

In 1964, the eight founders of Top Ladies of Distinction (TLOD) Inc.’s primary objective was to help alleviate the moral and social problems engulfing the youth in our communities. This was done via a youth organization. In 1968, while meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, the membership of Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. decided that the group should have an official name. Lady Cordelia Mackey, President of the Texarkana Twin City Chapter, suggested the name of Top Teens of America. The name was adopted.

In 1969, there was a need to form a Top Teens of America group in each chapter of Top Ladies of Distinction. A committee was appointed and resultantly, the first National Top Teens of America convention was organized.

The Houston Chapter of Top Ladies and Top Teens hosted a meeting to organize the National Top Teens. Teen representatives from all Top Teens of America chapters were in attendance. Under the guidance of the first National Director of Top Teens of America, Lady Willie Lee Glass, the first National Convention of Top Teens of America was held in Houston, Texas in 1969. Over 300 Top Teens were in attendance, according to its official website.

Matthias Petterway resides in Orange but is currently attending school in Missouri City, Texas.

He is a member of St. John United Methodist Church’s Philip Randolph Youth Department 412 Program in Houston, The national Honor Society of Phi Delta Kappa Kudos.

He is also an active member of Thurgood’s Marshall’s State Championship track team and is ranked 9th in the country for the 300 meter hurdles.

Petterway is currently undecided on which college he would like to attend.

“I am leaning towards Nebraska, but undecided as yet,” Petterway said. “I have others also talking to me at this time.”

Prior to becoming involved with Top Teens, Petterway said he was very shy.

“Top Teens has helped build my skills in communications and helps out the community,” Petterway said.

As a teen with the organization, Petterway is expected to sell tickets to the chapter’s major fundraiser, the Blue and Silver Ball, where the seniors are highlighted as well as Top Teen contestants compete for the titles Mr. and Miss Top Teen.

Petterway will receive 30-percent of the funds he raises over $500 in the form of a scholarship.

To purchase an ad or a ticket for the event, one may contact Benitris Petterway through her Facebook page.