Made In Mesquite

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We are looking to share success stories from Mesquite ISD Alumni across the globe. Our goal is to inspire current students with the endless possibilities for career and life success. We also want to highlight our accomplished alumni so that our community continues to realize the value and importance of an excellent public school system for the children of Mesquite.

If you graduated from a MISD high school and have experienced success in your professional career or industry, we'd love to hear from you. We are looking to reconnect with alumni and share their stories through our social media channels and other alumni specific communications.

Click Here to Share Your Made in Mesquite Story!

Chris Villanueva
John Horn High School, Class of 2020 

Meet Chris Villanueva, a 2020 graduate of John Horn High School. Villanueva is currently attending Sam Houston State University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration while representing the Bearkats as a bull rider for the university’s rodeo team. Villanueva recently completed his freshman year while receiving recognition for Special Honors and Awards from the Dean and faculty of the College of Business Administration. 

Chris is proud to call himself a Mesquite ISD alumni and tells us, “thank you to MISD for believing in me and helping me become the person I am today. I couldn’t have continued on with my passion for bull riding without y’all beside me.” 

Riding into the future 

Chris already has many accomplishments as a bull rider. While he was still enrolled in high school, Chris became the Junior Bull Riding World Champion for three consecutive years. One of his proudest milestones thus far was qualifying for the College National Finals. He tells us his goal is to return to the finals next year and compete for the championship. However, his ride in the rodeo is just getting started. Although he is currently focused on being part of the rodeo team at Sam Houston State, he plans to become a professional bull rider and compete in the National Finals Rodeo once he graduates. 

Best HS Memory

Chris tells us he looks back to many wonderful memories while he was a student at Horn High School. Although he discovered his passion for bull riding at 12 years old, he also enjoys playing soccer. Chris was part of the Jaguar's soccer team and his favorite high school memories always take him back to the fields with his teammates. Being part of extracurricular activities created the memories he cherishes the most, especially because he graduated in the middle of a pandemic. “I’m so thankful I took the joy of participating in everything I could like homecoming, prom, jag jam, etc. throughout my years because I graduated during the pandemic from the class of 2020 and got robbed of most of the senior memories,” he said. 

Advice from Chris to current students

“Put God first and everything else will fall into place. Set goals and dream big because you can accomplish whatever your heart desires. Never stop believing in yourself."

In the spotlight

Chris is being featured on the premiere of ‘Kid Rodeo’ on Friday, September 24 on the Outdoor Channel. According to SHSU, the series focuses on young rodeo athletes competing to get to the Junior World Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Royce Sinclair Sarpy
West Mesquite HS, Class of 2006

Royce Sinclair Sarpy is a 2006 graduate from West Mesquite and the school’s first Gates Millennium Scholarship recipient. He went on to earn a bachelor’s in sociology from Texas Tech University, a master’s in elementary education from Texas State University and is currently pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies at Howard University. He is currently an elementary educator for Prince George’s County Public Schools in Washington D.C. He also is an instructional coach and published author.

Royce entered college as a pre-med student with hopes of becoming a reconstructive surgeon. During his college years, he realized that his passion was working with youth. He switched his plans to study medicine and decided to pursue a career working in social services with youth. 

Finding His Career

After graduating, Royce applied for leadership positions at various after-school and youth-development non-profits. He was a Licensed Childcare Program Coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club of Mesquite before moving to Round Rock to work for the YMCA of Greater Williamson Co. He managed after-school programs in Round Rock ISD and served as a Camp Director in the summers. While there, he realized he could make a more significant impact on black and brown students in the classroom. He relocated to New York after completing a master’s of elementary education. He became a Lead Teacher, Coach and Mentor Teacher in schools in Brooklyn and East Harlem. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies at Howard University, teaching fifth grade ELA, private tutoring, coaching novice teachers, and recently published his first children’s book. “I will be a doctor after all,” Royce said. “A doctor of education.”

Best HS Memory

According to Royce, he was an “overly involved student” at West Mesquite. Among his accomplishments, he was voted Prom King, Senior Class President, Spanish Club President and National Honor Society Vice President.

Advice From Royce to current students

“Reflection is key to growth. Not just thinking about the past, but intentionally sitting with self and thinking about how actions are additive—how these impact the long term. Each small action you do affects the next. Discipline happens in these small moments and small actions.

I tell my students to reflect each day. Write it down or make a voice memo of your highs and lows in the day, and how you responded to each moment. How can you grow as a person from these moments? What did you learn about yourself? 

Lastly, everything in life is purposeful. Look at the negative and mistakes as moments of pruning for growth.”

Purchase Royce Sarpy and The Twin Day Disaster

William Bubba Flint
Mesquite High School, Class of 1980

Meet William Bubba Flint, Mesquite High School Class of 1980. Bubba is a freelance artist, painter, and editorial cartoonist based right here in Mesquite.

After graduating from MHS, Bubba played baseball at Eastfield College. He entered the art world with jobs as a sign designer and illustrator. His talent later led to opportunities drawing editorial for many major syndicated publications such as The Dallas Morning News and The Dallas Cowboys Weekly. He returned to college later in life after receiving an art scholarship to attend Southern Methodist University. He earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in 2005. He has continued to draw for several publications and has commissioned paintings in galleries all over the country.

His work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star Telegram, Dallas Cowboys Star, White Rock Lake Weekly, Katy Trail Weekly and Amusement Today. Bubba has also illustrated six children’s books including Hungry for Snook, Big Bear Hunt, Huck’s Ten Point Buck, Marie’s Pet Shop, Boy Without a Bellybutton and Zoe & Boswell.

Bubba says his favorite memory at MHS was painting the school mascot “Stormy” on the wall of the basketball locker room. He tells us he still stays in regular contact with most of his high school friends. “The memories we created are still a topic of conversation,” said Flint.

Bubba’s Advice for MISD Students: “Believe that you can accomplish anything through hard work and perseverance!”

Brittani Rettig Wold
Poteet High School, Class of 2002

Meet Brittani (Brit) Rettig Wold, a 2002 Poteet High School graduate and founder of GRIT Fitness. Since its inception in 2015, GRIT Fitness has grown to three Dallas area locations and a virtual studio that serves women worldwide. GRIT Fitness has been named "Best Fitness Program" by D Magazine, "Best Gym" by Dallas Observer and "Best New Fitness Studio" by Dallasites 101.

At GRIT, Brit designs and curates a set of original, music-driven group fitness classes that provide an intense workout and a fun experience. She also hand-selects an inspiring team of instructors who demonstrate the core values of passion, fun, positive energy and perseverance.

Professional Background

Prior to founding GRIT Fitness, Brittani was Manager at Deloitte Consulting, LLC and IBM Global Business Services. She earned her undergraduate degree from Cornell University where she was captain of the women's varsity basketball team and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. She's also a recent graduate of the Dallas Regional Chamber's Leadership Dallas Class of 2020.

Remember When

Brittani says her favorite memory of high school is her time playing varsity basketball and volleyball for the district and regional champion Poteet Lady Pirates! She wants to tell current MISD students that they are stronger than their circumstances! “Starting training yourself at a very young age to get comfortable being uncomfortable,” Brittani said.  “As long as you are willing to keep going, you will always succeed. Your grit is your superpower!”

Keep Up with Brit

Follow her blog: GRIT by Brit for healthy cooking tips, workout plans, goal setting and much more!

"Authoring this blog, teaching fitness classes and leading my organization keeps me accountable for living a healthy lifestyle and positive attitude – I have to practice what I preach.  Over the years I’ve learned that pushing myself through intense physical fitness makes me better in all aspects of my life – my corporate career, relationships, spirituality and mental health."

Check out her YouTube channel and press coverage!

 

Michael White
North Mesquite High School, Class of 2012

Where It All Started

Meet Michael White, 2012 graduate of North Mesquite High School and proud member of the Big Blue Band. Michael’s journey to a successful career in the fast-growing esports industry started right here in Mesquite ISD.

Like many teenagers, Michael and a group of friends played Call of Duty almost every day after school and band practice. At that time Mesquite ISD did not offer esports, so the group decided to form their own team to participate in local gaming tournaments.

After graduation, the team continued to grow and expand its tournament experience eventually launching a YouTube channel that garnered over 100K views. Just one year after graduating high school, Michael joined the professional esports organization vVv Gaming. 

Professional Career

Over the next several years, Michael gained valuable experience with other Dallas esports organizations. As the esports director for Versus Gameplay in Dallas, he helped team owners oversee multiple events including the Choctaw Festival of Gaming and Absolute Battle. As Michael built relationships with local developers and networked with industry professionals, he quickly earned a reputation as a leader in the Dallas esports industry. And in 2016, a local professional sports investor came calling for his expertise. In 2017, Michael was named senior operations and IT coordinator for the startup Infinite Esports & Entertainment. By 2019, Infinite Esports & Entertainment became the first esports organization to sell for $100 million, which provided Michael the opportunity to land with the Houston Outlaws of the Overwatch League. In April of 2020, Michael was promoted to operations director for the Houston Outlaws where he has played a key role in helping the organization and industry adapt to the challenge of hosting esports competitions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Then and Now

With a decade of professional experience under his belt, Michael credits his time at North Mesquite High School for launching him into a career he couldn’t have imagined. “Back then the school motto was Dream. Believe. Achieve.” Michael told us. “I really took that motto to heart.” We asked Michael about his favorite memories from his time in Mesquite ISD and he said, “Being a part of the Big Blue Band and knowing that I was a part of excellence.”

Unlike when Michael graduated from North Mesquite, esports is now a sanctioned high school sport. Four of the five Mesquite ISD high schools have officially organized esports programs, including at NMHS where the Stallion esports teams recently competed in the national EGF (Electronic Gaming Foundation) and ranked in the top three of its division. Mesquite ISD is proud to offer the opportunity for our students to participate in electronic gaming, and we believe that many will be inspired to pursue a career in esports like Michael White.