On Tuesday, April 11, Melissa City Council voted unanimously to adopt multiple ordinances that will name two streets between Melissa High School and the Z-Plex after two individuals who have had a profound impact on the schools and the community.
J. ‘Whitey’ Gleason was a 4th grade teacher with Melissa ISD before Melissa High School ever existed. Gleason passed in 2007 just as the first high school class was getting ready to graduate. He was known for his ability to challenge students to learn while making it enjoyable. Gleason can also be credited for writing Melissa ISD’s original school song (prior to the high school).
“To be one of Mr. Gleason’s elementary students was to be so loved by him. Without hesitation I would not still have the love of learning, or be who I am today, if not for Mr. Gleason,” said a former student.
His street will be named Gleason Ave.
Duke Sparks, Director of Athletic Operations and Community Partnerships for Melissa ISD, was also honored with a street named after him. It is said that building lasting relationships and connecting with people are at the heart of who Sparks is. Sparks has a true passion for kids and their success is at the center of everything he does.
His street will be named Sparks Way.
Melissa Schools Superintendent Keith Murphy shares, "Duke Sparks is truly a beacon for each of us. He often tells us to not live in fear and that we can make it one-step at a time with a lamp and a little faith in the middle of the darkest hour. Duke always exhibits compassion for his fellow man, unyielding faith, and a genuine passion for the success of others. Duke makes us better and is relentless in his pursuit of bringing us together for the good of the cause. That is truly Sparks Way!"
Mayor Jay Northcut expressed his admiration for these two individuals who have made such an impact on the city of Melissa: “We are so appreciative of J. ‘Whitey’ Gleason and Duke Sparks for all that they have done for our community over the years, and it is an honor to be able to recognize them in this way.”