Former Longhorn Graduated from Georgetown, Excels in Poetry

Glen Waters has lost count of how many poems he’s composed since the age of 10.

There are books full of poetry, from cover to cover. Then, there’s the plethora of poetry in Notes App on his iPhone.

Sometimes, it takes a month to write a poem. Other times, it will be completed in five minutes.

Waters, a Collegiate High School Class of 2017 Graduate, has a bright future as a poet and an educator. He recently graduated from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. with a double major – English, and African American Studies.

Waters' thesis was named the Best Creative Thesis in Georgetown's English Department.

He was accepted into the University of Iowa’s prestigious Masters of Fine Arts Program, with a focus on Poetry. He’ll start there in August.

“Pursuing Poetry as a career was a huge shift from what I was trying to do originally,” Waters said. “I had originally planned on Environmental Biology, but I changed my mind because poetry has been such a large part of my life for so long. The double major of English and African American Studies was so compelling to me, as I saw the intersection between the two majors.”

While at Collegiate, Waters was a member of the Poetry Club, the National Honor Society and Phi Theta Kappa (Dallas College-Cedar Valley’s Honor Society). He won a Collegiate talent show with one of his poems.

“Poetry is something I really enjoy – I started studying it, and it really propelled me to what I wanted to do,” Waters said. 

Dr. Airen Osaro was the Dean of Student Retention at Dallas College-Cedar Valley when Waters was a junior and senior in the Collegiate Program. 

“He worked with me as an intern, and then as an employee,” Osaro said. “He was one of the best scholars I’ve ever met and worked with. He’s mature beyond his age and highly intelligent. He just has an ability to just keep going. If he doesn’t understand something, he’s going to ask.”

When Waters began studying at Georgetown, he became more interested in history and politics and researching how slavery and institutionalized racism have impacted history, up to the present day. 

“I wrote 14 poems in two weeks and went through the process of the African American experience,” Waters said. “I called the group of sonnets, “Sonnets From A Past Life. I’m working on getting a book published within the next couple of years.”

Waters has also made the natural transition from poetry to musician, as a producer, audio engineer and performer.

Waters has worked with the National Black Workers Center in Washington D.C.

“When the COVID-19 Pandemic hit, it changed how we did advocacy work and awareness,” Waters said. “We were able to work outside of the status quo.”

‘ALWAYS A LONGHORN’

Waters grew up in Cedar Hill, starting at Bray Elementary. He attended multiple elementary campuses, because his mother was a teacher in the district.

At Permenter Middle School, JoLynn Maddox - a two-time Cedar Hill ISD Teacher of the Year who has worked in the district since the late 1980s - noticed something exceptional about Waters.

“I’ve taught over 3,000 scholars, and he reaches that one percent in terms of academics,” Maddox said

“He put effort into everything he did, on the field and in the classroom. Every single thing he did came with intent and purpose. He’s just an exceptionally kind, caring, sensitive, young man, and he was like that in eighth grade.”

After West Intermediate and Permenter, Waters had a decision to make – attend Cedar Hill High School or the relatively new Cedar Hill Collegiate High School.

“I really wanted to gain college experience early, and I was able to graduate with my Associate’s Degree,” Waters said.

Waters wondered if he could continue playing football if he attended Collegiate. At the time, CHISD had the Ninth Grade Center, so all freshmen traveled to the high school campus for practices and games.

“I knew it would be a challenge to attend Collegiate and play for Cedar Hill,” said Waters, who took his first college class as a freshman in 2013-14.

A handful of Collegiate classmates also played football, but by the time Collegiate scholars were attending Dallas College-Cedar Valley on a full time basis, the number of Collegiate varsity football players dwindled.

Waters made the switch from defensive lineman to offensive lineman several times, as the program’s needs changed. As a sophomore, he was on the roster of the 2014 State Championship Team.

He started a few games, sometimes on offense and sometimes on defense, during his junior and senior seasons of 2015 and 2016, respectively.

“Glen is an incredible person,” former Cedar Hill head football coach Joey McGuire said. “I am so proud of Glen. He is doing great things, and I am not surprised.”

Waters and his Collegiate football classmates had to take a bus from Cedar Valley – located in Lancaster – to Cedar Hill High School. One time, they arrived at football practice 90 minutes late, and McGuire wasn’t happy about it.

The reason why, at the moment, didn’t matter. But the legendary coach quickly made the adjustment, as he assigned an assistant coach to pick up the handful of Collegiate scholars in a van each afternoon.

Waters decided to continue his football career at Georgetown, a Football Championship Series (FCS) Program. He earned a full scholarship to the prestigious Washington D.C-based university, and most of it was for academics.

"It was a delight to have Glen in class," Georgetown English Professor Nathan Hensley said. "He's a really dynamic person, and I'm sure we'll be hearing more from Glen in the future."

Georgetown Literature Professor Mark McMorris agreed that Waters was a dedicated scholar.

"Over the course of the academic year, he and I would meet on Zoom every week to discuss what he'd written," McMorris said. "In the end, Glen distinguished himself by winning the prize for the best creative thesis this year. This made me happy, and I'm still happy--it's an extraordinary accomplishment."

Playing football at Georgetown – a school known for its excellent academics and its basketball tradition – was a culture shock. The Hoyas’ home stadium has a smaller capacity than Longhorn Stadium in Cedar Hill.

But one thing didn’t change, and that was Waters’ commitment to playing wherever the team needed him. Similar to his time at Cedar Hill, Waters shifted between the offensive and defensive lines, until a concussion ended his football career during his sophomore season.

Waters said being part of the Cedar Hill Football Program was an amazing experience that has made a large impact on his life.

“State-level success is the expectation,” Waters said. “It was an honor to be part of the ride and the journey. It was really a great journey , and it will always be in my memory.”