1992 Paris High School graduate, Joey Cato, recently spoke to a group of Paris Junior High School (PJHS) STEM and Paris High School (PHS) engineering, robotics and Principals of AV students. Cato, currently employed by Netflix as a Senior User Interface (UI) Engineer, has held positions in the video gaming industry with Electronic Arts, commonly known as EA, as well as companies working with military clients.
Cato shared how his interest in computer programming was shaped during his time as a student in Paris ISD. Graduating in the early days of personal computers, he explained that having a computer at home was cost prohibitive for most. His first exposure to the technology was as a student at then Crockett Middle School. Curiosity about how the technology he was using worked lead him to explore the code that made up the software used in his classes. It wasn’t long before he was modifying and writing custom code. He wrote several text-based video games and other programs while attending Paris High School. After graduating from PHS, Cato continued his education at Paris Junior College and Texas A&M Commerce, ultimately securing a Masters Degree.
The students listened to Cato and followed along with his slide presentation that included several examples of his work, many that were recognizable to the students. He also told students of how he initially had to “stick-to-it” in order to get hired. He explained that making follow-up contacts to ask what kept him from being hired for some jobs was difficult and sometimes humbling. However, the effort allowed him to address issues and ultimately get the break he wanted.
Paris High School engineering and robotics instructor, Jodi Andoe, and Principals of AV teacher, Jon McFadden arranged for Cato’s presentation. Andoe explained that the goal was to allow students to learn about Cato’s career and how it might be a path they would like to consider. A plus to asking Cato was that he is a PHS graduate. Through Cato’s and other PHS graduates examples, today’s students can see that they aren’t limited by growing up in a small, rural community. With the education received at PISD as a base and a “stick-to-it” attitude, they can achieve their career goals.