Elmwood Teacher Wins One Class At A Time

By Marc Strauss

March 23, 2011 Updated Mar 23, 2011 at 6:30 PM CDT

Science can be a complicated subject. But an Elmwood teacher makes it so much fun she's inspired one of her students to take that direction in college.

Cindy Alcaraz is teaching her third-hour science class at Elmwood Junior and Senior High School. She's especially fond of marine science. Sheeven spent some of her own money for an aquarium so students could observe a salt water community.

"I had the opportunity to go to several different workshops in the Florida Keys," said Alcaraz. "I became a certified scuba diver and enjoy the underwater ocean environment, so I thought I'd bring it back to my classroom and share those learning experiences with my class."

Raised in Elmwood, Cindy's passion for marine science comes from 14 years of teaching in Florida. She's inspired many students, including senior Korri Crawford.

"I didn't really have any interest in it honestly." said Crawford, "and then she told us what we were going to do that year and I became really involved in it and actually thought it was something I might do in college."

Elwmood Superintendent Roger Alvey nominated Cindy and calls her a deicated teacher.

"What makes this particular circumstance unique is what she's teaching," said Alvey.

"She's teaching marine science. Here we are in the heart if America, nowhere near an ocean ecosystem, but yet she's bringing it to her classroom and bringing it to our students."

Cindy hopes to use some of the $1,000 grant to get a larger aquarium for her classroom, as well as other supplies to fill and maintain it.