Fifth-grader Diego Espinoza’s teacher stopped him one day and slipped a piece of paper to him.
The 10-year-old opened it, and the slip said he had been selected to be on Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker’s podcast. He had an inkling for why he was tapped.
“I’ve always been a very respectful and responsible (student),” the Christene C. Moss Elementary student said.
But it was more than just that. Diego and two other students, seventh-grader Cheyenne Busby and senior Trenton Gardner, were picked to be on “Go Time in Fort Worth” because they are standout students with their own set of accomplishments.
School: Christene C. Moss Elementary
Accomplishments: Gifted-and-talented student. Spelling and math bee champion.
Take Diego. He is a gifted-and-talented student who is a spelling and math bee champion.
Cheyenne, 12, attends Jean McClung Middle School. Like Diego, she is a gifted-and-talented student at the top of her class. She also plays the French horn, an instrument her mother and aunt performed when they were in school.
“I’m looking forward to being more out in public. Maybe a lot of people get to hear my voice, and know more about me. I might be famous at school,” Cheyenne said, giggling.
Trenton, 17, is an honor student at O.D. Wyatt High School. He plays football, basketball and track. He’s also student body vice president and takes college courses. Plus, he has a part-time job, fulfilling online grocery orders at Walmart.
“I’m just looking forward to meeting the mayor, and talking about school and stuff,” Trenton said. “I’ve never met somebody as important as a mayor before. I think it will be fun.”
School: Jean McClung Middle School
Accomplishments: Gifted-and-talented student at the top of her class. Favorite subject is math. Plays the french horn.
Parker decided to chat with the trio of students after Teach for America approached her with the idea. The mayor wants to highlight students’ success and what makes them successful.
Cheyenne and Diego attributed much of their success to their teachers, who have encouraged them to do new things. Trenton agreed, but added another pair of role models: his parents.
“They were supportive in pushing me to be the best I could at school and sports,” Trenton said.
Parker has prepared a list of questions that she is ready to ask the Fort Worth ISD students.
“No. 1, I want to talk to them about COVID and how that experience changed them academically and personally,” the mayor said. “We’ve been talking a lot about the impact of students, but very few people actually talk to the kids that are impacted.”
School: O.D. Wyatt High School
Accomplishments: Student athlete participating in football, basketball and track. Honor student on the dean’s list and National Honor Society. Student body vice president. Currently enrolled in college courses, and plans to major in robotics when he goes to college.
She also plans to ask the students about what they think of the future of education, how it needs to change and how this system should help prepare them for college and their eventual career. On top of that, Parker wants to hear their thoughts on how the city government can help young people realize their dreams and make Fort Worth the place where they become successful.
The students are excited to answer the mayor’s questions, they told the Fort Worth Report. However, they are planning on turning the table around and question Parker because all three students have never had the opportunity to talk to a mayor.
Trenton plans to ask Parker about her run for mayor. Campaigning is something he knows a thing or two about. He had a spirited race for student body vice president last year.
Diego and Cheyenne are still thinking of what to ask Parker ahead of the podcast recording on Thursday. Both are thrilled to talk with Parker and tell their stories.
“I’m very excited,” Diego said.
Cheyenne’s father, Billy Busby, thought it was great his daughter was going on the podcast.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to, at such a young age, be able to do something like this, to actually sit down and meet the mayor and be on podcast and get to tell a little bit about your story,” Busby said.
Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise journalist for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.