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O.C. student essay wins new classroom

January 8, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Students at one Orange County High School have good reason to celebrate. Their broken-down classroom was completely remodeled. And that's because of a winning entry in an essay contest describing why it needed to be fixed up.More than 180 students from 36 high schools in Orange County applied to this contest. Thursday, students at the winning school got their first look at the extreme classroom makeover that included a celebrity guest.

At Santiago High School in Garden Grove Thursday, there was reason to celebrate. The school was the grand-prize winner of a $25,000 classroom makeover, part of a countywide contest sponsored by SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union.

Raul Gonzalez is the student who wrote the winning entry, nominating his Spanish teacher's classroom.

"It was in pretty bad shape," said Gonzalez. "We had holes in the walls, and he was pretty creative. He covered everything with our works and stuff, projects."

Over the Christmas break this classroom got a much-needed facelift that included new paint, desks and computers.

"It's amazing, I mean, we have technology," said Gonzalez. "Mr. Urzua has a desk now -- before, he didn't have one, so that's just great. It looks amazing."

Raul's teacher was equally grateful.

"I'm real excited to be able to have this from now on," said Santiago High School teacher Dante Urzua. "It's a great tool that we are going to put in practice for the students, and I think we're doing it for the benefit of the kids."

Eduardo Xol of ABC's "Extreme Makeover" television show was on hand to help celebrate the accomplishment.

"I want to thank the team of architects and construction personnel who have been working throughout the winter break to make this happen," said Xol. "We're talking just a few weeks here, so we know that they work really hard."


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