Student Works to Give Back to the Teacher Who Inspired Him

TEMPE, AZ (APRIL 11, 2019) — Desert Vista High School Sophomore Gabriel Granillo knows the value of a good teacher.

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

This week, Gabriel took his appreciation for his education one step further. On April 10, Gabriel surprised his AP World History teacher, Mrs. Kazanas, with a new personal laptop to replace an old, dysfunctional one — in front of a classroom full of students and supporters.

“Mrs. Kazanas gives her all into that class, and her students are very grateful to have her,” continues Granillo.

The teacher’s surprise gift was the result of a GoFundMe Gabriel had decided to launch earlier this year. Desert Financial Credit Union was alerted to the GoFundMe by a local branch employee, and, 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 gifted 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, SVP, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, Desert Financial. “The fifteen teachers who founded Desert School Credit Union 80 years ago did so with only $78.75. 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.”

The surprise for Mrs. Kazanas fostered cheers and emotion from around the classroom, including Desert Financial team members and Gabriel’s family, who had come to the school to see the surprise. Desert Vista staff, including the school principal, joined in the fun, and were integral in helping facilitate the day’s events.

“I think it is amazing what Desert Financial is doing, recognizing Random Acts of Kindness in the community,” says Dr. Christine Barela, Principal at Desert Vista. “Gabe recognizing Mrs. Kazanas is a really special thing — it shows that Desert Vista students care about their education and their teachers.”

Gabriel continued, “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.”

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