Make-believe is a time for kids to explore, imagine and create. Some pretend to be bakers with little kitchen sets and oven mitts. Others dress themselves in superhero gear. 

Cristal Villatoro grew up “playing school.” At the age of five, Cristal’s parents recognized her love for imagery play and bought her a white board with colorful dry erase markers. Instead of teaching a classroom full of eager children, she had the attention of teddy bears and dolls. 

A passion that started in her playroom has turned into a career interest for the Irving High School senior. Having great teachers along the way definitely helped.

“I want to become a fourth-grade elementary school teacher because fourth grade was one of my best years. I struggled in math, and my teacher really helped me excel,” she says. “I want to help like she helped me.”

Thanks to the Signature Studies School of Education pathway, Cristal is getting exactly what she needs to become a teacher. From writing curriculum and planning activities to teaching small groups and spending four days a week at Barton Elementary, she will most certainly have an edge in college.

To afford these same opportunities to other students, Signature Studies announced North Lake College as a premier partner during a signing held Thursday.  This partnership will have an incredible impact on the schools that offer education pathways – Irving, Nimitz and MacArthur high schools. Starting August 2020, students will earn dual credit at the local college, establish mentoring relationships with current college students, visit the campus and much more. 

To access photos from the premier partner signing day, visit