In August of 1974, I enlisted into the United States Marine Corps. I served for more than three years at Camp Pendleton, Calif. as a Para-Marine, completing 50 day-time parachute jumps and one nighttime jump.

After my discharge I started pursuing education using my GI Bill benefits. I earned an associate’s degree from El Centro, but I wanted more. In 2010, I attended Christ For the Nations Institute, where I earned another associate’s degree in Biblical Studies. I went on a 25-day mission trip to Southeast Asia in 2011 where we ministered to thousands of people in Bangkok and Khon Kaen, Thailand; Guam; and Penang Malaysia.

After all of those experiences, I still longed for more education.

Thankfully, UNT Dallas was in my neighborhood. This community is where I was raised from a boy into manhood. My family moved into this neighborhood in the early 1970's (one mile east of the present campus location), at Lancaster and Simpson Stuart Rd, in the Five Mile addition.  We attended J.N. Ervin School. Today I serve as senior pastor at Pleasant Grove Academy Church, just minutes from campus.

Coming to UNT Dallas just made sense.

As I near graduation, I look forward to using my bachelor’s degree in EC-6 education to make a difference in lives of students. I’ve worked for Dallas ISD for a combined 18 years at the middle school level, and seen firsthand how students are struggling academically. Thanks to my experience in UNT Dallas’ excellent teacher preparation program, I hope to reach students at the beginning of their education as a kindergarten teacher.