What are your memories of Thomas Jefferson High School?
The teachers there are a big reason I went on to become a successful professional. They helped me achieve the goals I set. I’m a proud product of the Dallas Independent School District. I have lots of great memories about T.J. The biggest memories were the extracurricular activities. Band, all the pep rallies, band trips, summer band, theater. Mr. Tom Woody was my band director. It was just a great experience at T.J.
What instrument did you play?
I played the flute, and I was drum major the last two years of high school.
What are your memories of growing up in that neighborhood?
I still remember the carnival that used to come every summer in the parking lot of Northtown Mall. I had a lot of friends who lived in the Walnut Hill area. We used to ride our bikes all over the place. My two girlfriends and I sit down and say, “What were we thinking? Why were we crossing Walnut Hill at the age of 11 on our bikes?” But that’s the way it was back then. It was a safe neighborhood that unfortunately got knocked down for real estate.
Tell me about your career now.
I am the co-anchor at WFAA-TV. It is a goal that I set when I was in middle school, and here I am today. I feel blessed to work at the station I grew up watching.
What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career?
Using my job to help foster children. I have a passion for helping people who don’t have a voice, and that’s the great thing about journalism. We can do that in our jobs. And what I have done, I feel is now a ministry.
Why that issue?
I feel I can understand the feeling of abandonment. My father was not with us for seven years of my life. We have since re-established a relationship, but for those seven years, being raised by a single mother, I realize now how much I needed a father and how much that impacted my life. I think that’s why I want to help children who don’t have either parent. I can help them when we’re doing a “Wednesday’s Child” report. Sometimes I’ll tell the children I can understand them because my father was gone, and I realize now how painful that was.
What’s the most challenging thing you’ve overcome in your career?
Dealing with the monstrosities that we cover. I have had to take measures to get all that negativity out of my head. I listen to audio books. Making sure that I work out is huge in staying healthy both physically and mentally. When Byron Harris, legendary journalist at WFAA, was leaving, I asked him for advice. He said, “No. 1, always make sure that you hold someone’s hands whom you love. And No. 2, exercise and keep yourself strong both physically and mentally.” And that was great advice.
What’s it like being on leave?
It’s been challenging because I had other issues pop up. I had an emergency hysterectomy a week into my adoption leave. Having a hysterectomy is no joke. I had severe endometriosis and didn’t even know it. Having a hysterectomy and young children in the house is challenging. You can’t hold them. I’m recovering, and I’m doing well. But there’s always that guilt that I’m not at work. We had midterm elections and the flooding. My instinct as a journalist is I’ve got to be at work. I’ve got to be with my team. I have had to pray over it and remind myself that family comes first.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t worry so much. There is nothing that worrying is going to add to your life.
Have you ever experienced discrimination?
No. Perhaps it’s because of the way I was raised. My mom’s strength is unbelievable. Both my parents immigrated here from Ecuador. My mom’s focus was always on working hard and raising her daughters. If discrimination did happen, she didn’t notice it. And if it did happen, I didn’t notice it either because I’ve always been focused on doing what my mom drilled into us every day: getting an education.
How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who cared.
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