Following the conclusion of Irving ISD’s 2022 Convocation event, it is safe to say that our special guest student emcees were both full of emotions.

“It was really inspiring seeing our own students who graduated from Irving ISD schools,” says Umayma Aamir, a senior at Singley Academy. “Hearing their stories, how empowered Irving ISD made them feel, and how it led them to their success today, I am so thankful that we were able to be in the presence of such great role models.”

“I feel really pumped!” says Emerson Cortez, a senior at Irving High School. “I thought I was going to be nervous to host, but that quickly went away when I saw and heard how supportive all the Irving ISD teachers and staff in attendance were.”

As the event progressed, both Umayma and Emerson fed off one another’s energy, seamlessly transitioning from one part of the show to the next. Although they may both attend different high schools in the district, their camaraderie and collaboration served as a great symbol of this year’s Convocation theme, The Power of Us.

“To me, The Power of Us means putting your all into everything you do as a student, and as a leader in your community,” says Umayma. “Having teachers, administrators, school board officials and city council members here to support us sends a strong message to our students, and it gives them the inspiration and drive to keep going.”

The Power of Us is how we can all come together,” says Emerson. “Yes, it’s one person teaching in the classroom, but it’s a collective force where everyone in Irving ISD comes together. By spreading positivity to all our teachers, they can, in turn, deliver that positivity and constructiveness to their students.”

While their time with Irving ISD may be drawing to a close, both Emerson and Umayma are looking forward to their respective futures, while taking a moment to reminisce on their past.

“As a dancer for the Toy Tigers drill team, my wonderful, amazing teacher has been such an inspiration for me,” said Emerson. “I really thought I was going to stick with athletics because I used to play football, but she helped me realize that I really had a passion for dancing.”

After taking a trip to Stephen F. Austin University, Emerson fell in love. He is looking forward to majoring in dance, minoring in business and trying out for the SFA dance team next year. But his dreams don’t stop there.

“I want to make it big, and one day become either a choreographer or be a part of a professional dance or drill team, hopefully in the NFL,” said Emerson.

Now in her second year as student council president at Singley Academy, Umayma is excited for what the future holds, even if she’s not necessarily sure what that may be just yet.

“Currently, I’m unsure as to what career path I want to pursue. However with all my experience in extracurricular activities and the opportunities that Irving ISD’s CTE programs have provided me, I find myself more and more developing a passion for the education field,” Umayma said. “Freshman year, I couldn’t talk to a room of 20 students. Since then, my confidence has grown tremendously, and I can proudly say I spoke at a venue in front of thousands of people who support and encourage students just like me.”

As Emerson and Umayma head off into their senior year, they close us out with some powerful words.

“To all my peers who are unsure of their future plans, remember that time will take you where you are meant to be,” Umayma says. “Always believe in yourself.”

“And, as we saw first-hand during Convocation, just a little bit of knowledge and a little bit of caring from a teacher can help our students go far,” Emerson says.