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Why Mary Lou Fendley goes by "Mamaw" at Roosevelt

Mary Lou Fendley is affectionately known as Mamaw around the Roosevelt High School campus.

She’s been volunteering her time, love and sewing skills to the Rough Rider Dance program ever since her daughter, Alison Redding, started teaching at Roosevelt more than 30 years ago. Mary Lou is always there to help Coach Redding and her dancers - whether it’s handing out waters at a football game, chaperoning a school trip or sewing costumes for contests.

“My favorite part would be just interacting with the girls and seeing their faces when something goes right,” said Mary Lou. “It’s so fun to watch them grow and get better and be so proud of themselves. It’s a lot of fun.”

Mamaw has hundreds of honorary granddaughters who love her just as much as she loves them. It’s been a rewarding experience for everyone, especially Alison.

Alison and Mary Lou hold the NEISD way sign“I think it’s given her another sense of purpose,” said Alison. “She enjoys being around the girls. She gets lots of hugs and they’re always excited to see her. They treat her like she’s their grandma. They love her. We’ve kept her young.”

No matter the season or the theme, Mary Lou is always ready to get out her sewing machine. She’s sewn hundreds of outfits over the years and takes great pride in watching the dancers perform in costumes she helped piece together.

Mary Lou gives so much of herself to support the program, but she believes she gets just as much back in return. She would encourage anyone to find the right group or campus to volunteer their time. 

"It’s so rewarding to see faces brighten up when you do something for them and to get a thank you,” said Mary Lou. “These girls are so appreciative and they’re always sending me thank yous and that makes it worthwhile. I think it keeps me fairly young. I love being around the girls.”

Want to learn how to volunteer at North East ISD? Visit to learn more. 

April 18 - 22 is National Volunteer Week. Thank you, Mary Lou, for volunteering your time and love #theNEISDway!

Lila Stanley
Posted on 4-19-22