Houston Texans honor Swenke ES teacher as Stars in the Classroom winner

CYPRESS — Swenke Elementary School fifth grade teacher Ellen Cummings was honored as a First Community Credit Union (FCCU) Texans Stars in the Classroom winner on Oct. 13. Cummings joins Farney Elementary School first grade teacher Dana Leasure as the second CFISD teacher to be recognized this year.

Cummings, who was nominated by former Swenke student Dreux Arrambide, earned a surprise visit from Houston Texans linebacker Brennan Scarlett via Zoom. Scarlett shared his education journey with Cummings and her students and answered student questions, including what inspired Scarlett to pursue football and what his favorite subject is.

In addition to the surprise visit, Cummings received a custom painted football, a yard sign, a $500 donation to the district in her name, a $200 H-E-B gift card, a $100 Uber Eats voucher and a Stars in the Classroom tote bag and water bottle.

“Students are the most important piece in this education puzzle,” Cummings said. “Nothing can compare to being recognized for our efforts by the students themselves. Knowing I made an impact on Dreux is heartwarming and makes me feel so special. This honor serves as a reminder that building relationships with our students is number one!”

Each year, FCCU teams up with the Houston Texans to help students thank 10 exceptional Houston-area teachers. Students can nominate teachers who have made an impact on them to show their appreciation. Students who nominate teachers chosen for the honor also receive an autographed football.

Houston Texans linebacker Brennan Scarlett, along with representatives from First Community Credit Union and the Texans, surprised Cummings and her students via Zoom. Scarlett shared his education story and answered student questions. (CFISD Communications)

“There is really nothing better than having a teacher recognized for their outstanding work by a student,” said Liz Miller, Swenke principal. “Mrs. Cummings is an exceptional teacher who makes magic happen in her classroom every day! But what makes her extraordinary is her ability to connect to the students who step foot into her room both physically and virtually. Being nominated by a former student is evidence of her commitment to her students, her love of her students and her relational capacity that allows her to connect to each student on an individual level. Swenke Elementary is a better place because of Mrs. Cummings.”

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