Good morning, young Rockets


Photo By: Liani Cheverez-Senquis

Dr. RJ greets students at the door on a rainy morning.

 As students, most of us start our day with a simple “good morning” and a fist bump from the tall gentleman by the front doors.

 This is Dr.LeRoy Fontenette Jr; you may know him as Dr. R.J.

For him, his morning routine starts with being grateful to have another day and saying a prayer for the students here at Judson High School. 

You may ask, who is Dr. LeRoy Fontenette Junior?

He is Judson High School’s greeter.

Beyond this, Dr. R.J. is a Marine who has also earned four college degrees.

When presented with the opportunity to guard these doors, Dr. R.J.’s reasoning behind it is “as a Marine I am used to guarding my post and with everything that has been going on in the continent of the United States with school shootings, they’ve asked me to do this, and put me on the payroll. But, it’s not about the pay, it’s about protecting the students and nobody is getting past my post.”

In addition prior to joining the Judson ISD family, Dr. R.J. and his family have owned a moving company for 40 years and also a healthy juice company; however he’s planning to sell it this year, Dr. R.J. also played semi-pro and pro football for the Southern California Rhinos and The Los Angeles Rams.

Being a Marine and the first line of duty, has prepared Dr. R.J. for many things he may encounter here at Judson.

‘’Being a Marine, we are the first line of defense. Being here for the Judson students and staff, if anything comes I am not going to run away from it. I am going to run towards it,” R.J said. “What the military has done for me is give me that discipline, as well as me playing semi pro and pro football”

One of Dr. R.J.’s favorite parts about working here at Judson is being able to constantly put a smile on students’ faces. 

“All the smiling faces of the students make me happy, especially those students who in the beginning didn’t look at me or gave me any eye contact, and now they look forward to a smile and a fist dump.” 

With the experiences that Dr. R.J . has lived through he wants to impact students in a positive way.

One piece of advice that Dr. R.J. gives to the students at Judson, is to “take each day one day at a time.” 

“You have a choice when you wake up in the morning, you can either be positive or negative. So if you get the opportunity to wake up, you have a chance to make a positive impact,” R.J said. 

Not only do the students interact with Dr. R.J., they also impact him also. He looks forward to greeting students and making sure they have an incredible morning. 

“My favorite part about Judson is the students. The students are my livelihood. I love being around them and seeing the change that has been made in a short period of time.”

Dr. R.J. favorite part of the day, and when he sees students the most are in the mornings. He enjoys being the first thing they encounter so that they have a positive start to the day no matter what background they’re coming from. 

“The biggest part is the beginning of the day.  When they first come in they have to say good morning. If the good morning is not strong enough I say ‘oh too weak’, you have to do it again. They usually smile and we laugh, and so that’s the first impact that I’ve made of the day.”

With Dr. R.J. constantly seeing students and getting to know them, there are some things he wishes to tell them about himself so that they know a little bit about him as well. 

“There are three things I want the students to know about me. Number one, anytime I wake up in the morning and I see the ceiling, that tells me I have another day to make a positive impact. Then I listen for my wife and if she’s breathing I know we have a chance to make a positive influence. The second thing is, I read scripture every morning and I pray for this school as well as others. And the third thing is, I don’t have any bad days, I have bad moments. Fifteen minutes max and then I clear my head and get back into it. If I can put that positive effect on each of these students there would be an amazing turn around here.”