First-generation college student Alyali Tovar will proudly walk across the stage at Tarleton State University on May 14, claiming his bachelor’s degree in agriculture education, thanks to his time in Irving ISD.

Growing up in Irving, Tovar began his education at Pierce Early Childhood School, transitioned to Lee Elementary and Bowie Middle School, and graduated from Nimitz High School in 2017. 

And there’s a long list of Irving ISD teachers that inspired him to dream big for his future. Those classroom instructors are now his friends, some of which he talks to on a regular basis.

“Irving ISD did a great job preparing me and other students because it implemented so many programs to prepare us for this idea of college readiness,” Tovar says. “So going into it, I am a first-generation college student, but I also understood what I was supposed to do because of the experiences I had at Irving ISD.”

While at Nimitz, Tovar joined FFA, an international agricultural student organization, and fell in love with the industry. Now that he’s in his final year at Tarleton, he’s looking forward to putting his knowledge to the test as an agriculture teacher. 

“There’s a lot of misconceptions about agriculture, and I think a large part of that is because we are not educated on the agriculture industry,” he says. “Becoming a teacher and being able to educate and fight those misconceptions is something that I’m looking forward to.” 

Along with educating the next generation about agriculture and its importance, Tovar is excited to show first-generation college students, just like him, that anything is possible, especially since he received that needed guidance and support while he was in school. 

“Whether I come to Irving ISD or go teach anywhere else, I think that if they see somebody that’s a first-generation college student, they can say, ‘If he made it, then I can do it,’” Tovar says. “I would like to be that role model, that figure, to the students to show that it’s really not that hard if you put your mind to it.”

In honor of future teachers like Alyali, Irving ISD is hosting I Am Next Pinning Ceremonies for each of the high schools with education pathways. The pinning ceremonies will celebrate seniors who are graduating with a focus in education. To sweeten the celebration, students will receive a certificate, a pin and several other goodies including a t-shirt, bag and notebook. Students who decide to come back to the district as a teacher receive a stipend and engage in ConnectEd, a program focused on supporting new teachers. 

For students interested in entering the education pathway, they can learn more about the district’s career and technical education initiative, Signature Studies, by visiting IrvingISD.netSignatureStudies.