Archive for category: News

4th Dallas Youth Summit – How Can We Increase Understanding Between Police & Young People

Categories: News, Today Foundation News


By Jacob Ian Snyder
Mabank High School
TLF 2016
On January 8th, 2017, TLF hosted the 4th Annual Youth Summit. The purpose? To evaluate how to better the relationship between police and the community. TLF was honored to host the Dallas Youth Summit in partnership with Safer Dallas, Better Dallas, the Rotary Club of Dallas and the Dallas Police Department. Interim DPD Chief David Pughes opened the meeting, followed by our keynote speaker, Honorable Michael L. Williams.  Mr. Williams stressed how crucial this conversation was and urged students to stop and assess a situation before reacting.
We had eight panelists who gave their input on the issue at hand. The panel consisted of Eric Johnson, State Representative from District 100; Steve Pickett, reporter with CBS 11 for 21 years, covering issues such as gang violence, white supremacist groups and general assignments; Cristella Oviedo, TLF 2016, Irving High School; Detective Angela Garza, Senior Corporal with DPD; Vivian Nguyen, TLF 2016, Irving High School; Gary Tittle, Assistant Chief with the Dallas Police Department; Pastor Richie Butler, St. Paul United Methodist Church and Larry Terry, director of the SERCH Institute for the Improvement of the Community Through Education Research and Community Leadership at UNT Dallas.  Dallas District Attorney, Faith Johnson, also attended and expressed her support. 
With issues arising concerning a shooting in Ferguson, MO, the riots in Baltimore, and the most recent shootings in Dallas, TLF students wanted to start a grassroots movement with the hopes that it would evolve into something more and truly make a difference. The main ideas brought forth were that there must be an understanding among the community that the police have a job to do as public servants, but citizens are engendering fear of police in their children and the communication is lacking. We profile the police as bad individuals just as much as they profile us, and that’s where the level of understanding is lost. Police are citizens just like the rest of us. On the community level, there needs to be a balance. Police do not need to have any reason to use a weapon or excessive force in the first place.  If a situation seems to be escalating, it’s the true job of the police to deescalate that situation, but in an instance where control of the situation is lost, it becomes the job of the citizen to relax and bring control back into the picture. So, arising from this conversation were many great points for both sides, but the overall goal is to eliminate the very idea of “sides” between police and the community. We are all humans. We are all citizens. Now, it’s up to the community to take this conversation further and keep the fire blazing. TLF isn’t going to stop anytime soon, but we need YOU to get involved.

College Preparation

Categories: News, Today Foundation News

Allana Patterson did a great presentation for TLF students about what they should be doing right now as high school seniors. She discussed the importance of essays when completing your college applications and emphasized finding the college that is right for you.  She recommends all your college applications should be completed and submitted by Thanksgiving.  We really appreciate having Mrs. Patterson’s help with this important step in the future of TLF students.

Story of Luis Govea, TLF Member and Valedictorian at Irving High School

Categories: News, Today Foundation News

Luis Govea applied for the Texas Leadership Program in the spring of his junior year and became of a member of the Class of 2015-16.  Here is his story.

When he first arrived in the U.S. from Mexico, Luis Govea knew only a few English words, including redwhiteblue and apple.

Six years later, he’s been named Irving High School’s valedictorian and got to pick from full-ride scholarships from Yale, Harvard, Rice, Stanford, Dartmouth, the California Institute of Technology and Princeton.

“I applied and thought, ‘I got nothing to lose,’ ” said Luis, who will head to Stanford in the fall. “I never saw myself even last year choosing between those schools, and it’s a beautiful feeling.”

He won the scholarships through QuestBridge, a program that matches high-achieving students from low-income families with selective schools.

Gerardo Govea, Luis’ father, said he knew his family needed a better opportunity for education than what Mexico offered, so he and his wife legally moved their two children to Texas in 2010. They were legal residents and became U.S. citizens in 2015.

“He reaches things that a lot of kids can’t reach, and I feel lucky he has the opportunities at the biggest schools,” Gerardo said. “I only see those school names on TV. I didn’t think I would look at those right in front of my eyes.”

Luis’ aunt, Sarah Moreno, had a huge impact on his life, and he couldn’t thank her enough, he said. She took him for ice cream when he did well on his school work. At the end of the year, she’d buy him bigger things, such as a Game Boy Advance.

“I still have it. It’s a connection to my aunt even if it doesn’t work anymore,” Luis said. Moreno died of cancer at the age of 21 just six months after the Goveas moved to Texas.

His aunt was charismatic and humble, two traits Luis’ teachers say he has, as well.

Luis Govea, valedictorian of Irving High School, poses for a photograph at the school in Irving, Texas on May 26, 2016. (Rose Baca/The Dallas Morning News)

“I hope someone sees my story, and it pushes them to try even harder,” Luis said. “Do your best; even if you fail, at least you tried. That’s my motto.”

When he first arrived in the U.S., he attended Johnson Middle School and learned English primarily through Rosetta Stone programs on school computers.

He was shy because he was afraid others would make fun of him for his accent, he said.

Then one day he came home with scratches and marks on his body from another student.

“I told him, ‘We are all the same and we’re all humans, and I don’t want anyone to hurt you,’” Gerardo Govea said. “Keep going and keep looking forward. I’m going to work as hard as we can and do what we can do for him.”

Irving High counselor Laura Zimmer said Luis’ parents have been instrumental to his success.

“I’ve never seen a student like him, and I’ve been teaching for 13 years,” Zimmer said. “When he got the letter from QuestBridge that day, he just sat there and he just cried because he was so happy. He’s not afraid of anything.”

Zimmer first met Luis during his sophomore year when he asked her for a list of clubs. He joined 20, from French club to Keep Irving Beautiful.

“He wants to be a part of everything, but he doesn’t feel the need to be in the limelight,” Zimmer said. “He’s very genuine, and he’s always smiling.”

Luis was on the academic decathlon team, and he was the first in school history to make it to the state competition, coach James Newman said.