Jonathan Cruz knows Irving well. He was born here and has spent his entire education journey in the district. 

He started at Pierce Early Childhood School, went to Lively Elementary and then de Zavala Middle School. In high school, he went to Irving High and transitioned to Cardwell Career Preparatory Center his sophomore year. 

As he reflects back, he looks fondly at his experience in the district. 

“I had a great experience at every campus and I appreciate each opportunity I had to learn and grow while I was there,” says Cruz. 

When Cruz came to Cardwell, he really learned to appreciate and enjoy the individual attention teachers provided their students. Because of small-class sizes, the personal connections between teachers and staff made learning more meaningful for him. 

In a week’s time, Cruz will walk across Globe Life Field’s home plate. For Cruz the walk across the mound symbolizes the finish line and he can’t wait. In fact, he’s the first in his family to go on to college.

“It feels good to make my family proud,” Cruz says. “I am a little sad because I am leaving behind friendships that are special to me and for so long I’ve always had the daily structure of school and the routine that was familiar. The future is always so uncertain, but I am willing to embrace whatever comes my way.”

After graduation Cruz will attend North Lake College for the first two years and then transfer to UTA to pursue a major in construction management with hopes of becoming a project manager.

Thanks to the Irving Schools Foundation (ISF), Cruz is also well on his way financially. ISF recently hosted its annual Breakfast with the Stars, handing out 223 scholarships worth more than $440,000. Cruz received not just one, but two scholarships at the event, including the Chandra Maxey Scholarship and the MacArthur OBGYN Scholarship in Memory of Dr. David Wollenman. 

In addition to the awarded scholarships, Cruz’s attitude and grit will keep him on the right track to succeed in life. He’s most proud of the fact that the majority of his high school years were spent in a pandemic. He now knows that no matter the obstacle, no matter how hard things can be, or how quickly things can change, he is resilient and can push through it.  

“I realized that life won’t always be easy, but I have enough drive and ambition to achieve my dreams,” says Cruz proudly. “I feel like my school experience was altered a little because of COVID, but truly the years I have spent at Cardwell have been the best experience I’ve had. I am so thankful for the opportunity to represent this campus because it means so much to me.”