Dallas ISD Stories is a new Hub series where district students, teachers and staff share their own stories. This is the story of Constance Jawaid, the principal of Cedar Crest Elementary School who also attended the campus as a child.
I use to be a student here, so sometimes when I’m walking the halls today, it feels so surreal and I will play back scenes to when I was a kid here.
My aunt was a teacher at Cedar Crest for 28 years. After she died of breast cancer, they named a hallway after her. My aunt is the one who talked to me about the benefits of being a teacher. When I came back after high school and visited her in the classroom, I knew that being an educator was my calling. Now when I see my students in the halls, I wonder if I’m looking at a future principal of Cedar Crest.
When I was 38 and helping open Francisco “Pancho” Medrano Middle School as a founding principal, I found a lump on the side of my breast. My doctor dismissed it, so at first I dismissed it, too. But then I was persistent and insistent, went back to the doctor, and demanded a mammogram. That was when they found I had one of the most aggressive forms of cancer.
The chemo wiped me out at first. But having come out on this side as a cancer survivor, it is more validation to never give up and be persistent and insistent in my work every day.
Cedar Crest is not a top-rated campus. But I refuse to let this campus fail. My nephew and cousin attend this school today, and I will not stop until they-and every student here-get an outstanding education. This isn’t a job for me, it’s a passion. I want every kid to leave Cedar Crest to go into their future knowing that every professional in this building set them up to thrive. We want to change the trajectory of their lives and their community. It’s hard work, but more importantly, it’s heart work.