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20140627 MISSION Princesses-and-Divas 2149Tucked into a retail center at the corner of State Highway 495 and Taylor Road, Princesses and Divas not only fulfills Paul and Jessica Mason’s dream of owning a business, it also helps the couple put young high school graduates to work.

“It was a magical dream come true because being in the military myself and coming from a low migrant background, it’s a dream to able to come and teach not just in the classroom, but be able to create something that you can continue on giving in the community,” Paul Mason said at a ribbon cutting last month.

The Masons, who teach at Cantu Jr. High School for Mission CISD, said they were approached by former students looking for jobs to help them pay for college.

Princesses and Divas is a party place, decked in pink and full of bling, offering young girls the opportunity to throw theme parties like Hollywood Diva, a karaoke package, or tea with the queens or fashion diva. There’s also a lock-in pajama package for parents to drop off their children in the afternoon and pick them up at 11 p.m.

“What makes this place extra special is the fact that we as teachers get a chance to be able to still give an opportunity to our past students,” Paul Mason said.

A former student of the Masons created even the artwork on the wall depicting a fairytale castle and the Eiffel Tower.

Two other former students, Sara De Leon and Dannelle Cerroblanco, graduated from Veterans Memorial High School in 2013. Cerroblanco is attending South Texas College as an education major. She wants to be a kindergarten teacher, and she said the job is giving her experience working with children.

De Leon is going to the University of Texas-Pan American and majoring in political science. She wants to be a lawyer, and working at Princesses and Divas is a second job that helps her afford college.

Paul Mason was De Leon’s English teacher in junior high, and she said she highly regards him.

“This is something I’ve never done before, but I like communicating with the little girls and helping them have a good time,” De Leon said.

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