The following was written by Alexis Ibarra, who graduated from Royal in 2022. Thanks to Alexis for sharing his thoughts on what being a Falcon means to him.
Royal ISD was the home of my primary and secondary education until I recently graduated with the Class of 2022. A majority of the classmates whom I graduated with were peers that I interchanged greetings from day to day, for over a decade. Royal was home because it was the place we made friendships that felt as if we were family. Even now that I am starting my journey in college life—being a couple hundred miles from home—I still stay in contact with friends and faculty that had a part in my life to make me the person I am today. Most of the faculty and community members in the Royal area are working tirelessly to improve the quality of education for every student. I witnessed it firsthand through my profound involvement with the district. The two departments that had an impact on my life were the CTE and Advanced Academics. I started off—similar to most of my friends—with the Advanced Academics department, in the fifth grade. At the time, it was a growing department with the potential that is witnessed today. Rooting from the GT (Gifted & Talented) program then into the newly established STEM Academy and Dual Enrollment, I knew that Royal was doing its best to provide an education that would change my future. When I started at Royal STEM Academy, I was introduced to what was considered to be the future of our world: the world of technology and engineering. I came to discover that I enjoyed these subjects, and I was happy to be in a place that encouraged me to learn about the world. I want to give my thanks to a couple of individuals that guided me here: Mrs. Ana Lopez, Mrs. Maria Vera and Mrs. KT Timber-Glenn. Although two of these wonderful people are no longer at Royal, Mrs. Lopez continues to provide for the students at STEM Academy in many incredible ways.
Following my time at STEM Academy, I continued on with advanced academics through dual enrollment in the Early College program—established three years prior to my attendance. Directed by Mrs. Melissa Baker, my time in this program is where I developed an interest in my intended major. By taking the general standard classes of most universities, I was able to go through an early college phase of deciding what to accomplish with my life. Although academics was a large part of my story at Royal, it is only half of who I became.
The other half came from the CTE department, which I was grateful of being a part of for nearly 6 years. I started with the FFA organization, which holds a tradition in our community. Later, I became a part of the SkillsUSA organization and the yearbook. Each organization provided a new interest that I came to love. FFA gave me the opportunity to public speak, while SkillsUSA gave me the opportunity to find my hobby in photography. The one thing that I learned in every organization and continue to carry with me every day is that no matter who we are, where we come from, anyone that displays the skills of a leader can become a leader. Every faculty member in the CTE department will provide every ounce of strength they have in creating a new generation of leaders. In my experience those were: Mr. Craig Melton, Mr. Jason Woods, and Mr. Chase Jacob. At the end of the day, the community at Royal will do anything in their power to provide for the students and make sure that they are prepared for what the world may throw at them.
Looking ahead: Before I left Royal, I witnessed the incoming growth and how everything that the faculty has been working for is being stretched on a thin line. My only hope is that our community can come together and do what is needed to ensure that the quality education provided at Royal ISD will continue for future Falcons.