Isaac Dismuke is well-traveled.
As a language expert compiling a multicultural background, he spent time abroad in Columbia and China. He’s lived and worked in Virginia and in Colorado last winter.
Now, as a student working on his master’s degree at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, he’s back home.
Following board approval by DeKalb County Schools last week, Dismuke returns to his alma mater at Crossville High School as a foreign language teacher and new head coach of the varsity boys soccer team.
“There are a lot of nerves, there’s excitement and I also know it’s going to be a lot of work,” Dismuke said. “It’s a great opportunity and I’m going to do the best I can for those students and the players.”
Dismuke graduated from Crossville in 2012 and after majoring in Spanish and minoring in Chinese at the University of Alabama he graduated in 2016.
He played basketball and soccer in high school, finding his natural love with soccer.
“I slowly started noticing where I was more happy,” Dismuke said during a reflection of his high school athletic career. “Even when it wasn’t soccer season, me and my friends would go to the field and play pickup; this was almost every day. Whenever soccer season rolled around and we were playing and practicing every day it didn’t feel like practice, we did that in our free time.
“With some of the other sports I played in the past, like football, it felt like a chore going to practice. But when you’re really loving the sport that you play you don’t even notice that you’re practicing and having to run sprints; it just became something to look forward to.”
Growing up with many Spanish-speaking classmates at Crossville, Dismuke developed a natural interest in learning the language. He started speaking Spanish as early as his elementary school years.
“I remember that I used to trade candy at break time to one of my friends named Jose, who would write me a list of Spanish words and I’d practice them,” Dismuke said. “It fascinated me so much that a group of my peers had a language they could speak that the rest of us couldn’t understand. I wanted to be a part of it. I worked and I’d speak only in Spanish to my Spanish-speaking friends for a while, and by the time I graduated I was to that point where I could speak with those friends and no one else could understand.”
Whereas he was struggling in math classes, Dismuke said he just seemed to have a natural talent for learning Spanish.
The combination of talent, exposure and interest led him to further his foreign language skills in college and beyond.
Dismuke lived in China for two years and brought his grasp of the language to an advanced level.
And although he isn’t fluent in Italian, he does has some knowledge of it.
“My Italian is a little rusty,” Dismuke joked.
Dismuke will assume leadership of the varsity boys soccer program from Sam Tidmore. The Crossville boys appeared in their first AHSAA semifinal round this spring. The Lions went 14-4 overall and 6-2 in Class 4A-5A’s Area 12. In their 2021 postseason run, they earned a 6-1 win against Oneonta, a 6-3 victory against Leeds and a 6-0 triumph against Carver-Birmingham before falling 3-2 in overtime to eventual-state runner-up Russellville in the semifinal round at Huntsville’s John Hunt Park.