It’s been a busy year for U.S. Rep. Colin Allred. At 36, he’s been elected to Texas’ 32nd congressional district and become a father to Jordan. But no matter how far he’s come, his heart remains with Hillcrest High School. Born and raised in North Dallas by a single mom who taught in Texas public schools for nearly 30 years, Allred was an all-star athlete at Hillcrest. He then earned a full-ride football scholarship to Baylor University. Next, he deferred his acceptance to the University of California Berkeley School of Law to play for five seasons for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. After receiving his law degree from Cal in 2014, he served as special assistant in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of General Counsel. GQ magazine chronicled his first year in Congress. “I’ve found I enjoy the ceremonial role,” he wrote in GQ. “Today, I went to my old elementary school and made Valentines for veterans with the kids. It’s kind of fallen on hard times since I’ve been there, and I told them, ‘I was where you’re sitting right now, and I went to the same schools you’re going to go to. You have to work hard and stay focused. But you can do anything you want.’ And they listened. The principal told me afterward that some of the kids were crying, because they felt moved by what I had said. And I thought, ‘You never know — you might have changed a life there.’ ”
What are your memories of Hillcrest High School?
At Hillcrest, I had teachers, coaches and parents who cared about me and looked out for me. I was the kind of kid who did a bit of everything, and Hillcrest gave me the space and support to learn and grow into my own identity.
Why do you find it so important to keep coming back there?
I think we underestimate the importance of setting a positive example. I want the kids at Hillcrest to know that I am no different from them and that they can dream big. I also want to stress to the wider community the benefits of investing in schools like Hillcrest.
How did your time there help make you who you are today?
In addition to giving me room to figure out my own identity, Hillcrest gave me my first experiences with leadership. I was class president and captain of the football team. That taught me a lot about leadership early on.
Which teacher or coach inspired you the most at Hillcrest?
There are honestly too many to list, from my principal Vickie Richie, who was also my principal at Franklin Middle School, to my football coach Jeff Johnson and my history teacher Phillip Hearne. So many folks inspired me.
What is your advice for students who are currently studying at Hillcrest?
Study hard, work hard and dream big. You can be anything you want to be from Hillcrest. You may need a little luck, but I always found that the harder I work, the luckier I get.
How has the neighborhood and school changed since you were a student here?
The school is undergoing major changes to the building itself and to the school. I think they are on the right track. Hillcrest has always been a school that depended on an engaged PTA and parent group. I hope that continues.
What issues are most important to you? Did your experience at Hillcrest play a role in those issues?
I try to look for areas to create opportunity for folks who want to work hard. That means being able to see a doctor when you’re sick, go to a school that prepares you for the future and have a shot at a good job. I saw the importance of that firsthand at Hillcrest.
Where did you hang out when you went to Hillcrest?
There used to be a pizza place and arcade called Slider and Blues at Hillcrest and Northwest Highway. That was our favorite place to go after football games.
What was the school fight song back in the day?
Our band usually played the hits of the day.
If students are interested in pursuing politics, what is your advice?
Get involved now. Volunteer. Intern. Politics and government are all about who shows up.
How can your constituents in Dallas help?
I’m a person of faith and a new dad, so prayers are welcome. But stay in touch. Let me hear from you, not just when there’s a problem, but about what you believe. You can reach my office at 972.972.7949 or visit 100 North Central Expressway, Suite 602, Richardson, Texas.
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