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CYPRESS — Three CFISD teachers were awarded hundreds of dollars to enhance their classrooms for their students as they were selected the three winners of Cy-Fair Federal Credit Union’s Extreme Classroom Makeover competition, Oct. 5, 2020.

The credit union, which was founded by 10 local educators and has historic ties to the school district, recognized a winning elementary, middle school and high school teacher, giving each the opportunity to reimagine their classrooms in creative ways to maximize learning.

Cypress Springs High School math teacher Tyran Alfred, Cook Middle School Spanish teacher Hector Veronica-Gutierrez and Holmsley Elementary School reading, language arts and social studies teacher Lorena Carter were chosen as the three $500 recipients.

For Alfred, the long-time CFISD teacher said the opportunity to redesign her classroom’s layout around her students’ diverse needs would go a long way to meeting the needs of the different learners and their styles. Her vision includes space for a group work station, digital station and “brain break” station among others.

“Having an opportunity to put into practice all I’ve stated will enable my school to participate in the 21st-century shift from teacher-focused space to a more student-focused one,” she said.

A year ago, a trailer containing Carter’s classroom supplies, decorations and personal photos was stolen from a storage facility, leaving her just a week’s time to get ready. She received assistance from a former co-worker to get started and has since slowly rebuilt her supply.

“Thank you for offering an opportunity to win a classroom makeover, so I can spoil my students with new items I could use to enrich their learning,” she said.

Veronica-Gutierrez has taught Spanish and bilingual classes since coming to the United States in 2007. One of his goals is to create passion for the language, and do so without creating hardships and financial burdens for students and their families.

“Most of these students will grow up here and supporting their awareness of different cultures in CFISD, Houston and the United States is crucial to understanding and valuing diversity and tolerance,” he said. “Thank you for the wonderful opportunity and the outstanding support give to our community.”

Cypress Lakes High School L.I.F.E. Skills teacher Cassandra Revella, Campbell Middle School sixth grade language arts and reading teacher Richarda Outley, and Reed Elementary School kindergarten teacher Liliana Orozco were recognized as runner-up honorees and each earned $150 for their classrooms.

“Each year, when we read the stories submitted by so many amazing teachers, we struggle to pick just three winners and three runners-up for our annual Classroom Makeover grants,” said Cameron Dickey, Cy-Fair Federal Credit Union president and CEO. “This year, with so many things that are different, harder or requiring reinvention, we are even more grateful to be able to help six CFISD teachers makeover their classrooms. With COVID-19 and distance learning, some of our winners have had to adjust their makeover plans for the money we awarded, but they have come up with some very creative solutions.”

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