Students at Danny Jones Middle School received quite the shock when they saw a very familiar face walking down the hallway on Monday.
Actress and singer Selena Gomez made a stop at her former school in the late afternoon to say hi to different classrooms and reconnect with past teachers.
The 27-year-old is filming a documentary about her childhood and hometown memories. She was passing by the area and decided to pop into the school.
“This trip, I wanted to take my best friend Courtney and also some of my people from my label just to show them where I grew up and how proud I am of where I’m from,” Gomez explained. “Some of my teachers I got to see again, and they were part of my life for so long.”
Teachers who had Gomez as a seventh-grader remember her as being kind, quiet and humble. Her coach at the time recalled when Gomez told her she was going to withdraw to move to Florida.
“She said, ‘Oh I’m just going to be in a little Disney film,’” said Stephani Gray, head girls basketball coach at Lake Ridge High School. “And I said, ‘Oh. Okay.’ Because sometimes middle school kids kind of exaggerate.”
Gray said Gomez’s name later scrolled by in the credits of a Disney movie, and she was excited to see that Gomez had accomplished her dream.
From the Disney television shows and movie roles, Gomez’s career took off. She has earned numerous awards throughout her career, including an American Music Award, an MTV Video Music Award, a People's Choice Award and multiple Teen Choice Awards.
Although her popularity continues to skyrocket, Gomez said it’s always good to come back home.
“I honestly didn’t know it’d go as well as it did,” she said, “I didn’t know I’d get to come and be a part of this, so I’m really happy.”
The Grand Prairie native said that Mansfield ISD has grown so much since she attended schools here. She said it was surreal to be back in the building and gave students some lasting advice.
“What I would tell them is that it’s really hard, but it’s worth it. I wasn’t a straight-A student by all means, but I think it’s really important, and I think it’s also important to be kind to someone,” Gomez said. “Just encourage them in their school work and know that anything is possible for them.”