Spotlight: David Roca, Irving ISD Alumn and 2022 ISF Scholarship Recipient
From Los Angeles, California, David Roca-Orellana moved to Irving when he was a fourth grader. Surrounded by new classmates and teachers, David worked his way through John Haley Elementary for the fourth grade, Otis Brown Elementary for fifth grade, Lamar Middle School, and finally Nimitz High School.
He describes his life outside of school to be very active, saying “I really just play volleyball and recently learned to detail cars with my dad.” Spending time with his family has made him the young man so many look up to today. He emphasizes that his greatest inspirations are his parents, who worked incredibly hard to support his well being.
David narrates the beginning of his infancy: “When I was a little baby, we didn’t even have a house or apartment to ourselves. We lived in my grandma’s laundry room and my parents worked long shifts everyday to get us to where we are now to owning our own house.”
His initial reaction to earning the Mary A. Richarte and J. Adrian Richarte-Alvarez Scholarship was of complete disbelief and shock because he had had no previous luck on prior scholarship applications. His Irving Schools Foundation scholarship was his first “yes”! This was when David realized that all of his hard work had paid off.
You may recognize David after his genuinely striking and memorable speech at Breakfast with the Stars, where he revealed that: “Since I was little, I didn’t know what I wanted to be… Everyone up here says president, lawyer, third in their class, but I am nowhere near that.”
“My experience at Breakfast with the Stars was truly remarkable. From the beginning, I was super nervous. I had signed up to give a speech, but I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to say, so I decided I was just going to speak from the heart.”
And that is exactly what he did.
“The food and conversations were amazing; I enjoyed the opportunity to meet my scholarship donor and I am truly grateful to her for blessing me with this opportunity. As names started to be called, with each one that went by, I knew my turn was getting closer and closer.”
When his name was called, David touched the hearts of many with these words: “Mrs. Hill has been there with me since the beginning… I didn’t even know if I wanted to go to college, but now I know I’m taking Mrs. Hill’s job one day.”
He wanted to thank his parents and Mrs. Iris Hill, his AVID teacher at Nimitz High School, who have played a key role in motivating David to be the best he can be.
She says, “I think one of the greatest assets that David has always had is his parents and the support from his parents. David has always been hardworking, and extremely friendly which is what makes him, David.”
After David was done with his speech on stage, an emotional audience of tears and smiles clapped for his success in joy! “After I gave my speech, everyone started congratulating me and shaking my hand. I didn’t even notice that almost everyone in the room was crying until my friend, Xavier, came up to me and goes ‘bro, you made everyone cry.’”
Sharing their support and kindness, people greeted David throughout the event and made it a memorable experience for him.
During his speech, David revealed his aspirations to become an AVID teacher one day and follow in the footsteps of Mrs. Hill. AVID stands for Advancement via Individual Determination and is a college readiness program that equips students with the rigor and challenges of college classes. The mission of the program is to “close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society.” With dreams to climb the ladder of AVID as far as he can, we know David will continue to inspire lives. When asked what he’d say to his middle school self, David said he’d motivate himself to work harder in school no matter the difficulties, because it gets better with time.
In his scholarship application, David said, “AVID gave me an opportunity to express myself not only academically but also emotionally. I want to be able to provide emotional support to future AVID students like the one I had during my high school years.”
David was accepted to his dream university, the University of North Texas, but has chosen to pursue his Associates degree first at Dallas College. He has plans to major in Education. Mrs. Hill says, “At the beginning of his senior year, college was something that was impossible. We had a few meetings with his parents and went through a few options of what I recommended. A few weeks later I received a call from David and his mom letting me know that he had been accepted to UNT. This was David’s dream school. I realized David had matured when he chose to go to Northlake over UNT due to his financial situation. I have seen him grow and mature over the years and I couldn’t be more proud of what he had accomplished. Earning an Irving School Foundation Scholarship really validated his hard work and made him realize that he did not always have to be perfect, but he did always have to try his best.”
The Irving Schools Foundation team is beyond proud of David and looks forward to his future endeavors wherever he goes. Congratulations, David!
His closing remarks on this interview were of his gratefulness. “I just want to say thank you to every person who’s helped me get where I am today but most importantly, my mom, dad, and Mrs. Hill. Thank you for everything.”