Student, credit union team up for a teacher

Desert Vista High sophomore Gabriel Granillo is flanked by Christine Mijares, left, of Desert Financial Credit Union and history teacher Carly Kazanas after they presented her with a new laptop.(Special to AFN)

Sometimes teaching has rewards that money can’t buy.

Just ask Desert Vista High School AP World History teacher Carly Kazanas.

She recently received a new laptop after sophomore Gabriel Granillo launched a fund-raiser on – and Desert Financial Credit Union found out about it.

Recently, Gabriel posted a plea on, starting with the explanation that “I did not know what I was getting myself into signing up for AP World History.”

As hard as the subject matter was, he said, “One thing that made my year was my teacher, Mrs. Kazanas. Mrs. K gives all her attention and effort to every student she has. She has helped me grow as a person as well as a student. Her teaching is very good and she helped everyone grow skills for the AP exam and college too.”

But Gabriel thought she could do even more – if she had the right tools.

“One thing that holds her back though is the outdated computer she teaches from every day,” he wrote. “She’s had breakdowns over the age of her computer and how it affects her daily life. We, her students, would love to show our appreciation for her and buy her a new laptop. With your funds, you can help us gift our favorite teacher a gift she’ll remember for years to come.”

Gabriel had raised less than a fifth of his $1,800 goal when fate intervened.

Desert Financial Credit Union was alerted to the GoFundMe by a local branch employee.

As part of its Random Act of Kindness program, the credit union covered the entire cost of the laptop on behalf of all of the supporters – and gave Gabe with an iPad to recognize his act of kindness toward his teacher.

“We were so impressed with Gabriel’s effort to fund the laptop for Mrs. Kazanas, a teacher who clearly inspired him,” said Cathy Graham, senior vice president and chief marketing and strategy officer for Desert Financial.

“The 15 teachers who founded Desert School Credit Union 80 years ago did so with only $78.75,” Graham added. “With that small amount, they inspired who we are today. Though the credit union’s name has since changed, and membership opened to all Valley residents, we can honor our founders by continuing their legacy of supporting educators.”

Credit union officials, along with high school staff and students surprised Kazanas with the laptop. Even Gabriel’s parents came out to witness the event.

“I think it is amazing what Desert Financial is doing, recognizing random acts of kindness in the community,” Principal Christine Barela said. “Gabe recognizing Mrs. Kazanas is a really special thing – it shows that Desert Vista students care about their education and their teachers.”

Gabriel is just happy that his teacher has a much-needed tool. “Mrs. Kazanas gives her all into that class, and her students are very grateful to have her,” he said.

“Today’s generation will help pioneer the world of tomorrow, so I believe that it is essential to respect and embrace the teachers we have now. I see this gift as a great opportunity to show the well-deserved gratitude towards one of my favorite teachers,” he said.

“Whether in elementary, middle, high school or college,” he added, “a teacher means all the difference.”

(1) comment


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