Hidalgo Early College High School (HECHS) educator and yearbook advisor, Krystal Castellanos has gone above and beyond for her students while accommodating to their educational needs.
Castellanos submitted her classroom’s ‘Yearbook Dreamers’ project for three higher grade tech cameras through DonorsChoose, a nonprofit organization that helps public school teachers get resources for their classrooms.
For the past two years, the yearbook club had been working with only one point and shoot camera, however, Castellanos believed that the students deserved to have a better opportunity to work hands on with advanced equipment to gain the necessary tools and experiences.
It was essential for the yearbook club to have more than one camera with advanced settings since they are creating the school yearbook. The students often attend all the school and community events at multiple places and times. For Castellanos it was necessary to be assisted with such a huge expense that would benefit the club and the students.
At the beginning of March, Castellanos received an email about the ‘Yearbook Dreamers’ project being fully funded by an unidentified donor. “Give Ms. Castellanos a high five for going above and beyond for her students,” read the email from DonorsChoose. “Her classroom project ‘Yearbook Dreamers’ was recently funded through DonorsChoose.” She transiently learned that the classroom project was brought to life by Disney. The students and Castellanos were in awe when they came to the realization of who had fully funded their project.
Disney has a program called ‘Future Storytellers’ and their mission is to inspire and motivate high school students going into a career for media and entertainment. Disney’s ‘Future Storytellers’ funded the project through D23 expo, which is where they showcase all the future projects for their parks. There, Disney fans vote for what project the company should fund, and HECHS happened to be one of the few chosen ones.
“I’m very thankful for this new equipment because it allows us to be at different events at different times since we use to have a limited amount of equipment with multiple restrictions,” said freshman, Ricardo Hernandez.
The new equipment has encouraged the students to participate in more events perfecting their photography skills. “We have gained a better experience on taking higher quality pictures,” explained senior, Amara Pena.
“As the yearbook sponsor, I have seen the students demonstrate more of an interest in learning how to work the cameras,” added Castellanos. “Afterall, the students deserve to work with higher grade tech equipment.”
“I want to thank Ms. Castellanos for giving us this opportunity in sponsoring the yearbook club because without her help and resources there would be no club and no school yearbook,” expressed Hernandez.