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Wendy Peraza '10
Lauren Henderson

Wendy Peraza ’10 graduated from St. John's University in 2014, receiving her degree in Legal Studies.

Wendy Peraza '14 graduated from St. John's University in 2014, receiving her degree in Legal Studies.

Why did you pursue Legal Studies as a degree?

I majored in Legal Studies for a few reasons: 

1) I liked learning about the law in general and the different ways it can be interpreted

2) how I can use the law to my advantage and help others

3) I felt my personality would do well here as I am not shy, I am not afraid to ask questions, I am to the point, I like to find creative ways to get around hurtles, etc.

What are you currently doing professionally?

I am a Production Rights & Clearance Specialist at Facebook. I specifically work for the Facebook Watch Originals product advising on our original productions including for our original shows such as Red Table Talk with Jada Pinket Smith, Sorry for your loss starring Elizabeth Olsen and much more.

You can’t live without your….?

Family. Family is always on my mind and their support is what keeps me going.  On another note, I can't live without my noise canceling headphones. I need to always be listening to music it helps me zone in and cancel the noise around me.

Biggest accomplishment so far in your career or in college?

Having worked for some of the top companies in the world by the age of 26. Viacom, Google and now Facebook.

Favorite Memory at Parish?

Overnight school trips! Not all schools have those opportunities and those were awesome. I am thinking even in middle school when we went to Catalina Island and DC - very awesome.

Other stand out memories of Parish?

Football games!! Taste of college football I never had a chance to experience since St. John's didn't have a football team. 

What do you miss most about Parish?

Uniforms. Not having to think about what I have to wear everyday would be nice.

Would you like to give a shout out to a former Parish faculty/staff member?

Wow, my list can be long. They know who they are for the most part I am Facebook friends with them :)

Any advice to Parish Seniors or students?

Be organized! Organization helps in every aspect of your life and has really been the key to my success. Organization will help your schedules, your work, priorities, your mental health pretty much anything you can apply organizational skill and it helps.

What has brought you back to Parish as an alumna?

Some of the teachers I had throughout the years. Coming to see them so they know I haven't forgotten. As a reminder of how grateful I am for their support when it truly mattered as a teen looking for my place in this world and goals I wanted to achieve in life.

Biggest lesson learned to date in your career or in college?

Seize every opportunity no matter how small the task because every opportunity is an opportunity to learn so that you can excel.

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Sam Johnston '15
Lauren Henderson

Sam Johnston '15 graduated Belmont University in 2018. He majored in commercial music and has his minor in songwriting. “I chose to study music so I could pursue music in Nashville and improve on my craft.”

Sam Johnston '15 graduated Belmont University in 2018. He majored in Commercial Music and has his minor in Songwriting. “I chose to study music so I could pursue music in Nashville and improve on my craft.”

What position do you hold now?

I’m a full-time musician, planning on touring across the country this summer!

Biggest accomplishment so far in your career or in college?

Releasing my first single “The River” and having it climb to #2 on the iTunes blues charts was super cool!

Biggest lesson learned to date in your career or in college?

Don’t be comfortable doing the easy things. Take the time to truly find what you’re passionate about and just go for it.

Favorite memory at Parish?

Playing the national anthem on the guitar on football senior night in my shoulder pads. I’ll never forget it!

Other stand out memories of Parish?

I can’t live without my laptop. It essentially has every document I’ve ever written throughout my college career. I use it for hours every day to do homework, research, listen to music, etc.

Favorite memory of Parish?

Winning the TAPPS Division II State Football Championship in 2014; all of the amazing musicals I got to be a part of; going to the music room and learning from Dr. Steve Hendricks during lunch. So many great ones.

What do you miss most about Parish?

The teachers that really made an impact on me, believed in me and supported me from the moment I started playing music!

Would you like to give a shout out to a former Parish faculty/staff member?

Ahh so many. Two that truly stand out are Dr. Steve Hendricks and Jessica Barnett. The impact they had on me is irreplaceable!

Any advice to Parish Seniors or students?

Don’t be afraid to try something new. One audition, one tryout or one club you join could open a door to something you end up doing for the rest of your life.

What has brought you back to Parish as an alum?

Keeping in touch with old teachers and faculty. It’s always great to catch up with them!

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Matthew Willis '12
Lauren Henderson

Matthew Willis '12 graduated from Baylor University in 2016, with a B.S. Biology. He's currently attending UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Matthew Willis '12 graduated from Baylor University in 2016, with a B.S. Biology.

Biggest accomplishment so far?

I would have to say the biggest accomplishment would be getting into medical school. I am very proud to say I attend UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Biggest lesson learned in school?

Time management has probably been the biggest lesson for me. It can be quite the challenge juggling everything from academics, intramurals, extracurricular organizations, part time job, etc. all in the same semester. However, I know that learning to stay disciplined and diligent with my time will come in great use during medical school. I have learned a lot about how I operate and how I study. This allows me to make the most of my time. Additionally, if I use my time effectively, I open up more opportunities for more enjoyable activities. College has been a great experience for me because I have been able to enjoy my time with my friends. The relationships and memories that I have made while at Baylor have shaped me into a more mature individual, and I will carry those with me for the rest of my life. So the other lesson I learned was how to maintain a steady source of fun, and learn life skills outside the classroom by engaging in other activities.

You can't live without your…?

I can’t live without my laptop. It essentially has every document I’ve ever written throughout my college career. I use it for hours every day to do homework, research, listen to music, etc.

Favorite memory of Parish?

Some of my most fond memories came from my experiences with the soccer team. We had a pretty tight knit group, and knew how to make 6am soccer practices as enjoyable as possible.

What do you miss most about Parish?

The faculty and how close everyone is with each other.

Would you like to give a shout out to a former Parish faculty/staff member?

I would like to thank Coach Savage for mentorship. He has a unique passion for teaching (both science and life skills) and that passion certainly overflowed into my own life. He guided me through my time at Parish, and I am very grateful for all that he did to foster my love for science, which has now led me to achieving my dream job.

Any advice to Parish Seniors or students?

It is greatly important to recognize the value of education early on in your college career. Learning for the sake of learning is increasingly lost amongst our generation. Yes, grades will matter, but do not forget to challenge yourselves. Do hard things. Do not be afraid to fail. Maintain your focus and perform well on your studies- but above all, do not forget to enjoy your time in college. Those 4 years have the potential to be the best years of your life. Do not let the world pass you by while you have your nose in a book.

Leslie Briggs '07
Lauren Henderson

Leslie Briggs ‘07 graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2011, with a B.S. in Economics with Financial Applications and Minoring in Business.

Leslie Briggs ‘07 graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2011, with a B.S. in Economics with Financial Applications and Minoring in Business.

Where did you graduate from? Major/minor?

I started at the University of North Carolina but ended up graduating from Southern Methodist University in 2011 earning my B.S. in Economics with Financial Applications and Minoring in Business. I am a numbers person and Economics just made sense to me. I got the minor in Business to add to my resume to also broaden my set of choices for a career.

Position/ Company you are currently employed? 

I am currently employed at Door Texas Title, LLC. It is a startup company that thrives on customers experience in the home buying process. I am currently a backup assistant and funder for all files. They generally call me the utility player because I can do almost anything. We deal with both investment properties and first-time homebuyers.

Biggest accomplishment so far in college and your current career? 

1.      I was fortunate enough to play soccer at the University of North Carolina and win a Division 1 National Championship in soccer my sophomore year.

2.      The ability to graduate from SMU earning my bachelor’s degree and knowing that I can return to receive my Masters. Which I hope to in the next year.

Biggest lesson learned in college?

My freshman year I had mono which was very difficult because your freshman year at a top school is where you have your chance to prove yourself to the coaches. I was unable to play for most of the fall season. When I was cleared to play, I had lost all of my fitness. I was determined the 2nd year to get in shape, pass the test and play. My hard work and determination allowed me to become one of the quality players during the season and into the final four. We then won the NCAA Tournament in Soccer that year.

What do you remember about Parish graduation day in June 2007 and what is your memory of being the first to cross the stage?

I remember realizing that week that I was going to be the first ever graduate and boy did it hit me. My thoughts were don’t trip across the stage because I NEVER wear heels. I remember how we all just looked at one another knowing that we may never talk to some of our classmates again. From time to time, I talk to old friends to catch up. However, I look back at that pictures of when we graduated with 46 students and I just couldn’t imagine graduating with any other group of kids.

You can't live without your…?

Dogs. Family. Friends.

Favorite memory of Parish?

I would say my best memories are the ones with the faculty and friends.  We were so small then so I felt like I could go to each teacher at any given day and he or she would listen to me.

Other stand out memories at Parish?

1st- My favorite memory was when I was playing basketball (I am not a basketball player I am a soccer player). I was told by the coach to go foul them and I went and fouled like I would if it was soccer. I then received a Technical Flagrant foul and everyone who knew me just sat there and laughed.

2nd- When I was playing basketball the basketball bounced right at me and my initial reaction was to volley the ball to the wall and catch it. Unfortunately, the ref was close to me and said he didn’t know where the ball was going as he thought I was about to hit him. I mentioned I knew where it was going as I was a soccer player who has played at the top level. I still got a technical.

What do you miss most about Parish?

The faculty and how close everyone is with each other.

Would you like to give a shout out to a former Parish faculty/staff member?

Dr. Hotz and Mrs. Clay both inspired me and taught me a lot growing up.

Any advice to Parish Seniors or students?

Enjoy every moment and tradition we have because before you know Parish will be in your past. I would suggest to go to every event they can and enjoy the school pride that we have. The teachers are there for us, show them how much you appreciate everything they have done. I know I do not always tell my teachers but they taught me a lot and it was not just in the books, but how to be as a person.  When I look back, my best times were all the crazy days we got to dress up, the rivalries between classes, the pep rallies and events constantly going on.

What has brought you back to Parish as an alumna?

I honestly haven’t been back as much as I would like. Unfortunately, when you get out of school, work and other things tend to get in the way. I try to come back when I can and kick the ball around with some kids who think they have it 😉. I would love to inspire some kid that isn’t sure about going to college or help someone follow their dreams.  After all family takes care of each other.

 

Ford Noble '14
Lauren Henderson

Ford Noble '14 graduated the University of Southern California with a degree in petroleum engineering in May 2019.

Ford Noble '14 graduated the University of Southern California with a degree in petroleum engineering in May 2019.

Position/ Company you are currently employed? 

Noble Royalties, Inc.

What has brought you back to Parish as an alumnus?

Seeing Parish grow and change into what it is today has been great to see every time I return home. I really enjoy going back, talking to old teachers and friends and seeing how much the school has improved. The school has evolved incredibly since I began there in kindergarten, and it’s been a cool journey seeing it grow and improve over the last (nearly 20) years.

How did Parish prepare you for your time in college?

Parish gave the perfect foundation to shape my study skills and find a balance between school and social life. Beyond the fantastic teachers, the guidance in balancing after-school activities as well as my studies made me feel comfortable as I began college. Whether it be sports and academics, theatre and academics, or any combination of activities, Parish really does prepare its students for tackling the balance of life and studies as you venture away to college. I was initially worried about the larger scale classes coming into college, but Parish allowed me to keep myself in check and on schedule regardless of the amount of supervision by the professor. Though everyone’s college and college experience differs, Parish gives students the tools to make the most out of it and I will always appreciate that.

Five years from now where do you see yourself?

I hope to be moving up in the Acquisitions & Divestitures side of the Oil and Gas industry in five years and finding new ways to explore and do business within the industry.

Would you like to give a shout out to a specific Parish teacher you had?

Craig Savage (Upper School Science). It has been fun keeping in touch with him.

Any advice to Parish Seniors as they leave for college?

My biggest piece of advice would be to say ‘yes’ to as many opportunities as possible. Going out and experiencing wherever you attend college and taking advantage of your time is the best possible thing to really get a rewarding experience. There will be time to rest and relax eventually, but you only have a few years with your college friends; so anytime someone asks you to go somewhere, see something, join a club, or anything of that nature, try it out.