Photography courtesy of Lisa Lopez.

Woodrow Wilson Class of 1989 and 1991

Salvador Lopez remembers his future wife Lisa giving him her phone number when they met as students at J.L. Long Middle School. When he never called, he told Lisa he lost it.

Whether he actually lost it or was saving face with a convenient excuse, Lisa may have harbored hard feelings. When they reconnected during Salvador’s senior year at Woodrow Wilson High School, he had to work to get back into her good graces.

“I wasn’t attracted to him at first,” Lisa says. “They put him in two of my classes, and he kept bugging me. He’d want to walk me from class to class. He would tell me I was pretty. In math, he would give me the answers.”

The students could not have been more different. Salvador was a member of ROTC, the soccer team and multiple clubs. He was voted Mr. Wildcat his senior year. Lisa just wanted to go to school. But Salvador’s persistence paid off, and Lisa agreed to give him another chance.

“We went for a ride in his car and haven’t been apart since then,” she says.

Just three months before her graduation, Lisa realized she was pregnant and dropped out of school. She delivered their first child, Jessica, in August and enrolled at Woodrow a month later to complete her senior year.

Salvador and Lisa dressed Jessica in a cheerleader’s uniform and took her to all the football games. She got ready with her mom on prom night, and she was in the audience when her mom received her high school diploma in 1991.

“She was the Wildcat baby,” Lisa says. “She got to experience all those things with us.”

The couple married in 1992 and had their second child in 1993. They now have four children ranging in age from 14 to 30. Three have graduated from Woodrow, and the youngest plans to attend next year when he graduates from J.L. Long.

“The experience made us the family we are today — our values and morals,” Lisa says. “They wanted to go to Woodrow because they knew what our experience was. We always talked and shared our story about how we met. They wanted to seek those [experiences] out.”

Salvador and Lisa raised their family in Mount Auburn, the same neighborhood where they grew up. Their house is just a short distance from Woodrow, and they like to walk around the school and talk about their memories. They still remember where Salvador parked his Chevy Chevette and the teacher who called them mom and pop.

“I loved walking the halls, holding his hand and stealing smooches behind the lockers,” Lisa says. “I’m glad they took them out since my kids went there.”

Their advice: Be open and honest. Talk and listen. Don’t judge when you have those conversations. Be compassionate.

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.