Dobie High School alum Javier Paredes (left) and Pasadena ISD’s Burnett Elementary teacher Jenny Gonzalez meet recording artist and actor Justin Timberlake at Trolls red carpet premiere.
By Reesha Brown
PASADENA, TX -- Strutting down the red carpet to meet Justin Timberlake at his Trolls movie premiere was Dobie High School alum Javier Paredes and Pasadena ISD’s Burnett Elementary teacher Jenny Gonzalez.
The duo experienced a once in a lifetime opportunity recently.
“The experience was so surreal,” Paredes said. “When we got the call, I couldn’t believe it. We booked the trip to California and it still seemed unbelievable. It wasn’t until we made it to the red carpet that we knew it was real.”
Through the artistic direction of Paredes and Gonzalez, Burnett Elementary submitted a lip dub video for the JT Radio Contest using his summer song Can’t Stop the Feeling back in May.
Their feature, which included the entire Burnett student body was among four videos nationwide to be chosen by JT himself as a winner.
Paredes and Gonzalez were elated as they met JT for the first time and watched the Trolls premiere in Hollywood.
“He was such a good guy,” Paredes said. “He was promoting the event on the red carpet while they set up the stage. With every media outlet there, he took the time to talk to us and take a picture. It felt awesome to get to introduce myself and shake his hand.”
Gonzalez echoed Paredes’ sentiments.
“It was fabulous for him [Timberlake] to really take the time to listen to us,” Gonzalez said.
The schoolwide project started as a going-away video for the summer and eventually went viral, garnering over 15,000 views from the public.
“I never in million years expected to win because there were so many people who entered the competition,” Gonzalez said.
About a month ago, Burnett Principal Jae Lee was contacted by JT’s record label and was informed that the campus was chosen to represent the Houston area at the red carpet premiere of Trolls.
“When I found out we won, I called a meeting,” Lee said. “Everyone was wondering what was going on. I recapped what happened and the staff was excited.”
Lee, who joined Burnett at the beginning of the school year, gave credit to Assistant Principal Esmerelda Paredes (Javier’s mother) who orchestrated the video in conjunction with her son and Gonzalez.
After attending the premiere, Javier Paredes, also an aspiring filmmaker, said this is a good time to continue to pursue his dreams.
“I always knew I had it in me,” said the former Dobie Longhorn. “Meeting Justin and walking the red carpet is more motivation for me to keep getting better and one day go back to L.A. to make films.