March is National Athletic Trainers Month, ironic that February is one of the busier times for an athletic trainer in the state of Texas. As it were with a really busy schedule, I reached out to Brandon Lewis, previous alumni watch recipient, and asked if he would be willing to help me out again. I gave him several ideas where the alumni watch for March could possibly go. He took those ideas and ran with them. I am thrilled Brandon had this great opportunity, as this is the field he wants to eventually get into. I give to you, the March Alumni Watch as to by Brandon Lewis, aspiring news reporter!
We are back for another Alumni Spotlight, and this month we feature Deborah Ferguson, Class of 1983. Ferguson is an award-winning news anchor/reporter for NBC 5.
As an inspiring reporter myself, it was a great opportunity to meet with her and get to hear about what it took to go from the halls of Green B. Trimble Technical High School to where she is now. I sat down with her for a one-on-one interview at The Studios at DFW in the CentrePort Business Park, just south of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
The conversation started with “What was one of your favorite memories from your time at Green B. Trimble Tech?” It took her just a minute to answer “walking through the main hallway and saying hello to people I knew.”
Ferguson met a lot of those fellow students from extracurricular activities like the Flag Corp, the Cheerleading Squad, Drama Club, Health Occupations Students of America, National Honor Society and the Varsity Tennis Team.
Ferguson had many teachers who impacted her along the way such as English teachers: Mrs. Maureen Baldock, Mrs. Elaine Beeman and Mr. Tim Lewelling. Mrs. Mildred Manning, Mrs. Shirlee Murphy, Mrs. Carol Mitchell, Ms. Carmen Poe, Ms. Christie Odman, Mrs. Phyllis Lee, and the principal Paul Galvan were also influential during her time at Tech.
There were two big factors in her decision early on to pursue a career in reporting. As a little girl in elementary school, Ferguson read the newspaper with her father. She loved to read and share information with people.
Then during her middle school years, she told me “I remember watching an evening newscast with a woman of color as the anchor.” That image pushed her to pursue broadcast journalism.
She attended Trimble Tech to major in dental assisting. College was not a given in her family. However, an acceptance letter from TCU along with scholarships and the help of financial aid made college a reality.
I asked if there was one thing she could change from her time at Tech what would it be? She replied, “I would have taken Spanish classes.”
Ferguson became a reporter for NBC 5 in 1991 and eventually was promoted to the anchor chair.
I asked her about some of her memories as a reporter and she said, “There are so many to choose from. It goes from the David Koresh Branch Davidian siege in Waco, the mass murder at Luby’s in Killeen, Texas, to the communities that come together after a tragedy to restore hope and rebuild.”
She also recalls her time as a health reporter and can still envision images of the children whom she interviewed or met as they endured major medical issues or underwent surgeries that required them to be brave beyond their years. There are also the children for whom no medicine or surgery could save them and their lives ended much too soon.
Ferguson also counts the Super Bowls, the State Fair of Texas and the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeos among her favorite assignments.
As we discussed her career, we touched base on the topic of hardships and accomplishments in her role as a reporter. The hardships she expressed were: times away from her family, outdoor assignments on cold mornings or in the hot Texas summers and getting up at one a.m. for her current job as co-anchor of NBC5 Today.
“However, I often say, ‘If getting up at one in the morning is the hardest thing I do, then my life is easy,” she smiled.
She’s especially proud of her staying power in a business that is more a lifestyle than the typical 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. She believes her longevity is fueled by the power of passion of what she does. She also credits success to hard work, curiosity, and a responsibility to tell the stories of our communities. Ferguson loves the job of getting information and sharing it with people. And, she admits, “I’m also a little competitive and wouldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
Ferguson shared some important advice and encouraging words for the students of Trimble Tech. “Get involved with campus activities; it will help you find your place on campus. Be organized; it will be up to you show up to class on time and do the work when you get to college. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. It may seem overwhelming and it may seem difficult but believe you can do it. This may mean distancing yourself from friends and past relationships, but never forget where you came from. It helps shape and mold you into the person you are and will guide you to the person you will be”.