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Local Teacher Needs Votes To Win $50,000 Grant

Palm Desert High School teacher Zelda Thomas is “in it to win it.”

“Students have actually placed posters all over campus,” she said. “They’ve given out flyers. They’re spreading the word.”

The English teacher entered a national contest called the “Pepsi Refresh Project.” The soft drink company plans to give away ten $50,000 grants. Thomas says the money will be used to continue her classroom’s after school project: a travel and tourism magazine called “That’s Coachella Valley.”

Yolanda Velasquez worked on the first issue last year. “She [Miss Thomas] said, ‘What if we do something better? It’s fun, and you guys are going to learn.’ Let’s do that!”

Last year’s class had three months to produce the magazine. It helped shy students like Elizbeth Vasquez gain their self-confidence.

“I used to be shy,” she said. “When we heard we had to interview people we didn’t know, I was like ‘Um…what?!”

The class was divided into departments, and each department had a manager. Velazquez was one of those managers. She was able to use her managerial skills in her first real job.

“It’s really cool to know what I did and learned as a manager has helped me. I have the right attitude for my job,” she said.

In order to win the contest, Miss Thomas needs enough votes. There are two ways to vote for her:

1) Send a text to “73774” with the message “102435.” (102435 is Miss Thomas’ identification number.) Once you receive the “Thank you for voting” response, you have completed the process to vote. You may only vote once each day.

2) Go directly to This is Miss Thomas’ idea page. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “VOTE FOR THIS IDEA.”

The contest ends September 30.

KESQ News Team


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