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ALC students in running for "tech makeover"

Nov 06, 2014 | Community Relations

Changes 2

Caption: Billy Canipe, Shala Hoop and Da'Vonte Jones perform as part of “Changes 2,” a rap video that is a finalist in a nationwide contest.

The polls are not closed. One Lamar CISD classroom is seeking votes that could result in a “tech makeover” worth $70,000.

“Changes 2” is one of only five videos in the grades 9-12 category that still have a chance to win in the Classroom Refresh Contest, sponsored by Compass Learning.

The video highlights how technology is used to reach today’s “digital natives” in the classroom. One verse says:

It's time for us as educators

To start makin' some changes for our future leaders

The way they learn has changed

Let's change the way we teach

With tech in every class, everybody gets reached.

The rap video was written and directed by Kristina Acevedo and ShaLayla Simmons, who teach at Lamar CISD’s Alternative Learning Center (ALC.) ALC students are also featured as performers.

“Even though you only see five students and two teachers in the video, all students and staff were invested in the video in some way,” Acevedo said. “We couldn’t have done it without them.”

Simmons said it was ALC principal Randal Donnell who originally brought the idea to the teachers.

“The message is a strong one: technology is an essential component of learn in the 21st Century classroom,” she said. “And he knew we like to do creative activities with our students. The contest gave us creative freedom, allowing the students to come up with a concept that they could identify and make their own.”

Acevedo said that while the $70,000 grand prize would be extremely beneficial to ALC, it has already achieved some goals.

“First and foremost, our goal was to create a project that was engaging for the students, something that they were truly invested in,” she said. “Our second goal was for them to see it through to completion, to have a piece of work that which they could be proud of which showcases their talents and gets them noticed in a positive way.”

“Taking first prize was not our main focus,” Simmons said. “Win or lose, we can say we succeeded because we did exactly what we set out to do; give our students the opportunity to be proud of something they created.”

Voting ends Dec. 1.

To vote for “Changes 2”

  • Go to:;

  • Click on “View Entries” in the purple task bar;

  • Scroll down to “Finalists for Category Grade 9-12” and Click on “Changes 2” ; and

  • On the right, it says “Log in to Vote.”  If you have not created a FREE account, you will need to do this, which only takes a few minutes.

Using the Google Chrome web browser helps the voting process.