Frisco is a town with great roots, great ideas, and really great people. The people, in particular, are doing many generous and impactful things for our community.
Things that should be shared, stories that should be told. After all, this year more than any other year, we could all use a hearty dose of goodness, right?
Case in point, allow me to introduce my high school classmate, Kevin Graham. We grew up together right here in Frisco and caught up recently to talk about his role as a Frisco ISD educator and his new YouTube channel, Perspective. He shared how Frisco has impacted his life, and what he’s doing to make an impact right back.
Lifestyle Frisco: Kevin, tell us about yourself and what you do.
Kevin Graham: I’m a high school basketball coach and English teacher at Wakeland High School. I graduated from Wakeland in 2011 and was more than excited to have the opportunity to come back and continue my teaching/coaching career at my alma mater.
LsF: How did growing up in Frisco have an impact on your life?
KG: I moved to Frisco my freshman year of high school and it was a culture shock from what I was accustomed to growing up. I grew up in Miami, Panama City, Atlanta, Fort Lee, Virginia, Scurry, Texas, and Dallas, Texas. Living in a suburb like Frisco was a new experience. I noticed right away how many opportunities and financial success there is in Frisco.
Frisco helped me realize that there’s a lot more to life than I could imagine for myself. It changed my perspective about what I felt like I could accomplish. However, being from so many other places I also realized that many aspects of Frisco were uninviting to “outsiders.” To put it simply, it felt like I had to make the adjustments to Frisco, but few things in Frisco were put in place to understand me or people like me. Whether that be socioeconomic background, life experience, or even hobbies, it felt like there was one way and one way only of doing things. I think this is why the term “Frisco Bubble” originated.
Frisco has many great things for families, individuals looking for job opportunities, and the best school system, in my opinion (I’m a bit biased). I wasn’t surprised to read an article that had Frisco as one of the top places to live in the United States. Frisco became a new home for me, and even as great a home as it is, there’s no such thing as perfect and that’s just fine. The goal must be progress, which I’m very happy to see in Frisco.
LsF: Why was it important to become an educator?
KG: I became an educator to be a champion of all students of all backgrounds. Rich, struggling, black, white, short, tall, athletic, gifted, etc. I wanted to be a person that students could feel like, regardless of their situation, that I had their best interest at heart.
This is my sixth year in education, and I feel I’ve been intentional about those relationships. I also know, however, that I’m not perfect and have come up short in reaching some students.
Missing the mark on even one student is what keeps me grounded in trying new ways to adapt my teaching/relationship skills and stay open-minded. As teachers, we don’t get to hand pick who enters our classrooms. I feel like it’s my job to learn about different cultures, experiences, and keep a growth mindset to help reach and relate to as many students as possible. Again, not perfect, but I think it has made a huge impact on my classrooms over the years.
LsF: You recently started a YouTube channel that tackles some important topics. Tell us about that. Why was it important to have these discussions in our community?
KG: Yes, Perspective. I started Perspective this summer as I noticed there was clearly a disconnect between people’s experiences, and why there’s such a lack of understanding between people as a whole. I felt like the longer we put off having tough conversations, the longer misunderstanding would linger, and the further people would get away from unity.
Unity doesn’t mean we all have to agree, it just means we all have an open mind to hear each other out, and even at times, stand with each other. Divisiveness is the biggest issue that I see in our society right now. There’s a lot of the “us vs. them” mentality and people are quick to put others in a box or give them a label without sitting down and talking. I wanted to start something that gave people a platform to discuss tough topics such as racial injustice, gender inequality, unfair stigmas of police officers, police brutality, etc. with the hopes that through these tough conversations, learning and understanding could take place.
LsF: What do you hope will come from leading these conversations?
KG: My overall hope is that it will help people be more open-minded, understanding that all of our experiences are different, and that is perfectly fine. I think when people feel like they haven’t seen or experienced something, they automatically write it off and/or get defensive. Nothing gets solved when we approach each other’s experiences in that manner.
The biggest issue in regard to communication at any level, in any type of relationship, is that we tend to listen to respond instead of listening to understand. When we genuinely feel like we’re being heard, and we approach a conversation with sincere intentions of learning a different side, that’s when we become more united and understanding.