Made In Mesquite
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!¡Haz clic aquí para compartir tu historia Hecho en Mesquite!
- Class of 2013
Darnesha Moore graduated from Mesquite High School in 2013 and currently works as the national manager for education, training, and resources for the United States Tennis Association.
- Class of 2010
Meet Allan Alfaro, Class of 2010 North Mesquite High School graduate and professional pilot. Alfaro immigrated to the United States with his family in 2005 and enrolled at Mesquite ISD while in middle school. After learning a new language and familiarizing himself with a new culture, Alfaro had his heart set on pursuing a career in aviation.
- Class of 2014
Madelyn DeChant graduated in 2014 from Horn High School and now works as a Forensic Death Investigator for the Harris County Institute of Forensic Science.
- Class of 2008
Alanna Quillen is a 2008 graduate of Mesquite High School currently working as a TV news reporter covering the Dallas-Fort Worth area for NBC 5. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from UT Arlington.
- Class of 2011
JaCorey Shepherd, Class of 2011 Dr. John D. Horn High School graduate and current owner and head trainer at ShepUp Performance Center in Rockwall, Texas. Shepherd was an All-State wide receiver for the Jags and went on to play football at the University of Kansas and was drafted into the NFL in 2015.
Mesquite High School, Class of 2013
Meet Darnesha Moore, the national manager for education, training, and resources for the United States Tennis Association, at the national campus in Orlando, Florida. After graduating from Mesquite High School in 2013, she represented Southern University A&M College as a tennis student-athlete, where she earned her B.S. in Therapeutic Recreation & Leisure Studies. She continued her education at Alcorn State University and obtained an M.S. in Education Athletic Administration & Coaching.
Thriving in Tennis
While earning her undergraduate degree, Moore guided Southern to SWAC Championships in 2014 and 2015. She also served as the SAAC Vice President and as a Big Buddy Mentor for 2nd Graders. Upon graduation, she earned a Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) certification.
Moore is the founder and CEO of Moore Quality Tennis, LLC at Fennwood Hills Country Club. Her mission was to increase competitive culture for youth, provide parent information, and host community tennis events to grow the game. Moore taught group and private lessons to both youth and adults.
In 2018, she joined the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Player Development Professional Coaching Program. She traveled the country with mentors participating in the USTA High-Performance Coaching Program, followed by continuing education programs.
Moore was named men’s and women’s tennis coach at Alcorn State University in October 2019. Before joining Alcorn, she assisted with the LSU men’s tennis team.
Best high school memory
“Theater Class – I am naturally a drama queen, winning district in tennis and walking across the stage! I am just super thankful for the Mesquite community and how much they helped me when I attended Mesquite High School,” Moore concluded.
Advice from Darnesha to current students
“Life is a journey of evolution! Find ways to grow, feed your mind, and become the best version of yourself! My mantra is ‘live as if you were to die tomorrow but learn as if you would live forever.’ Be a lifetime learner. You are your biggest asset!
Poteet High School, Class of 1996
Meet Greg Gibbins, a 1996 graduate of Poteet High School. Gibbins has been part of the entertainment industry since his early days on KEOM, a local radio station operated by Mesquite ISD. The KEOM alum earned his degree at Stephen F. Austin State University and later worked as an on-air personality in multiple cities across Texas until eventually reaching international audiences. After two decades on the radio waves, he decided to try a different avenue as a businessman through Greg Jake Creative and is now a voice-over artist and on-camera model.
From KEOM student to On-Air Radio Personality
“The entertainment business was calling me at a very young age,” Gibbins remembers being seven years old spinning records, pretending to be a radio DJ in his room. Ten years later, he would enroll in KEOM Radio at Mesquite ISD, a decision he says would be a major turning point in his life. The experience he gained along with Dr. Griffin and Peggy Brooks would lead him to get a head start in his career. His first career milestone was becoming an intern for 106.1 Kiss FM where he was mentored by the legendary radio host Kidd Kraddick. With his sight set on becoming an on-air talent, Gibbins began applying to other radio stations. His perseverance led him to cities like Tyler, Baton Rouge, Pensacola, San Antonio and Dallas. While in San Antonio, Gibbins was named radio personality of the year.
New career, same voice
In the summer of 2017, Gibbins walked away from his long career in the radio business to become a self-employed voiceover artist and on-camera actor. Through Greg Jake Creative he has provided his voiceover services to different brands. His biggest challenge was transitioning in front of the camera as an actor but eventually conquered each audition leading him to earn a role in indie films and commercials. After stepping away from radio, he returned to his roots and now hosts Spinnin' Session once a week and Celebrate the Magic on Tomorrowland's One World Radio Monday through Thursday.
Favorite HS Memory
During high school, Gibbins was named Mr. Poteet and as an athlete, set a new school record in the 110 hurdles (the record was later broken in 2021). However, his favorite memory was winning the class presidency. “I say this with a big smile on my face because I literally ran as a joke and I won. I put up one sign next to the cafeteria door that simply said, ‘Don't be an Egg. Vote for Greg’ and it's been something that has caused much laughter over the years and a few headaches as well.”
Advice to current students:
“This time in your life is JUST the beginning of your awesome journey. You will face some hardships in your life. You will overcome them. You will have some amazing moments in your life. Cherish them. The person next to you is human. Have compassion for them. We are all uniquely different. We don't always have to agree but we should at least be understanding and compassionate towards each other. If we don't we are all lost. Oh! And eat your vegetables.”
West Mesquite High School, Class of 2008
Meet Déjà Rollins, a 2008 graduate of West Mesquite High School who is excelling as a communications professional. Déjà began her professional career as a TV and Radio multimedia journalist but found a bigger challenge in expanding her expertise and investigating issues that matter to her community.
Finding her voice
While Rollins worked towards earning her degree in journalism, she was getting valuable experience as a weeknight on-air radio personality. Once she graduated with her journalism degree in 2012, she broadened her journalism career as a news producer and multimedia journalist for Tyler’s local CBS affiliate. Once she realized her television career was not lighting her fire, she enrolled in grad school to pursue a Master’s in Emerging Media and Communication from the University of Texas at Dallas. While pursuing her master's degree, she served as a mentor and coach for Radio and Television students as the Assistant Director of Student Media.
Currently, Rollins is a first-generation Ph.D. student in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. There, she conducts research focusing on emerging media and experiences of the African American community. She recently used her expertise to speak on these topics as a TEDx speaker.
Favorite HS Memory :
Rollins tells us her favorite high school memories were on the field playing and practicing volleyball, basketball, track and field. She says “I believe it was during these practices that I cultivated the mindset that if you put in the work and you are persistent in life, you will receive your desired results.” Being in athletics and representing the Wranglers also taught Rollins a valuable lesson about teamwork, “working with my teammates also taught me that you need the right people around you (in life) while working toward your goals."
Advice from Déjà to current students:
Déjà lives by a Toni Morrison quote saying, “When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.”
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.
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 was featured on the premiere of ‘Kid Rodeo’ in September, 2021 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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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!”