Monday, December 5, 2016

Ridgecrest Stars in the Classroom Award

Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing visited Ridgecrest Elementary to recognize First Community Credit Union Stars in the Classroom recipients Lorenza Garay and Danielle Potts.

A teacher librarian and kindergarten teacher at Ridgecrest Elementary School were both honored with Stars in the Classroom awards by an area credit union recently. Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing visited the campus and surprised the two instructors.

Honored with First Community Credit Union Stars in the Classroom recognitions were librarian Lorenza Garay and kindergarten teacher Danielle Potts. The Spring Branch ISD employees were nominated by students and received prizes, including autographed Houston Texans footballs.

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Stars in the Classroom is an ongoing partnership between First Community Credit Union and the Houston Texans. The recognition program honors 10 instructors all over the Houston area for the difference they make at their schools. Students nominate teachers during an annual campaign. At present, the nomination process is closed.

“I was very surprised,” said Mrs. Potts, who is teaching kindergarten for the first time. She was a third-grade teacher for five years, and also taught fifth grade a year. She has taught in SBISD for three years, and she also taught in Spring ISD.

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Ridgecrest fourth-grader Arianna Flores nominated her. Mrs. Potts' family was at the school to surprise her on Nov. 29, too.

“I’ve been nominated as Teacher of the Year several times, and that is great. Being nominated by a student for me is a great honor because that truly is why we’re here – to help students learn and grow,” she said.

Campus librarian Lorenza Garay was totally surprised when her name was announced. Officials with the school, credit union and Houston Texans had set up for the recognition event inside her library without ever letting on that she was one of the Stars in the Classroom award winners.

She was anxious, in fact, that her husband Julio had stopped by to drop off a set of household keys, but didn’t appear to want to leave. “I really thought that he might get me in trouble,” she recalls, laughing.

Mrs. Garay taught Ridgecrest fourth- and fifth-graders for five years before taking on library instructional and regular duties. Before joining the school staff, she worked at Neighborhood Centers Inc. for eight years.

She favors teaching and the classroom over administrative duties, which led her to Ridgecrest. She was nominated by first-grader Nydia Perez.

“I do feel that it was a calling for me to be here. I think that the excitement and curiosity of kids is just so empowering. I love to see students have that moment in life when they get it, and when someone believes in them. I don’t get that from working with adults,” she said.


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