‘Breathtaking:’ Umatilla High School gets a classroom makeover from Addition Financial

UMATILLA — Umatilla High School Principal Brent Frazier was speechless as he walked into the school’s newly renovated resource room Thursday, thanks to Addition Financial’s Renovate to Educate contest.

“Wow, this is just amazing,” Frazier said. “Thank you very much. It will be a special place for the children to come. This room will be used by many teachers and it will really make a difference.”

The resource room, with its new theme of “The Sun Will Rise Tomorrow,” is a place where UHS students in any grade can go to pick up personal care items, food and clothing. The room will also be used for breakout sessions to discuss social-emotional awareness and will be used when students need private help with the school’s mental health liaison.

“It’s amazing,” said teacher Amanda Carl. “I will be using this room for behavioral intervention and I love that this remodel provides a calming atmosphere for those interventions.”

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This is Addition Financial’s fourth year awarding one public school teacher from Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties with a free classroom makeover with up to $2,000 in renovations. Each winner is paired with a Seminole State College Interior Design student who works with the teacher and school to bring their dream classroom to life.

Senior Jordan Zaremba was chosen to design the resource room at Umatilla High.

“We talked about all the needs of this classroom and how it could be versatile,” Zaremba said. “I wanted to incorporate nature because it has been proven to relax people and help children with attention difficulties. The teacher also said that many of the students don’t have people in their lives who motivate them, so we incorporated motivational sayings on the walls to remind the children , that they are special.”

Zaremba also added a unique seating section for a more personal atmosphere for those one-on-one sessions with social workers or counselors.

“We are so excited to see the outcome of this wonderful partnership,” said Lake County Assistant Superintendent Amy Cockcraft. “Kids spend a lot of time in the classrooms and it’s exciting to see them excited to come in and learn.”

The room also came with all new desks, a teacher’s desk, school supplies and storage.

“At the end of the day, this is really an award for the kids,” said Addon Financial President and CEO Kevin Miller. “This is something they will experience for years to come.”