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Elementary teacher prioritizes hands-on education | EXCEL Award

With her big heart for children, Lorena Cantu, a small-town girl herself from Eagle Pass, fits right in at Somerset ISD. She always knew she had it in her.

SOMERSET, Texas — She moved to Somerset more than a decade ago and never looked back. Today, this 1st grade teacher is right where she belongs, among children in the classroom she considers her own. 

With every day that passes, she’s helping them succeed.

Eyewitness News Anchor Sarah Forgany introduces us to the KENS 5 EXCEL AWARD nominee for Somerset ISD.

“It is such a small town with a big heart,” Lorena Cantu said, referring to the City of Somerset.

With her big heart for children, Cantu, a small-town girl herself from Eagle Pass, fits right in at Somerset ISD. She always knew she had it in her.

“I knew I always wanted to help someone in some way make a difference in someone's life. “

Her way is to help children, and according to Barrera Veterans Elementary Principal Helen Ramos, it goes beyond the classroom. 

"When her children had to go out on illness, even though it was not a requirement, she still set up Zoom meetings for them because she wanted to make sure that they didn't miss any of their instruction," Ramos said. 

For 11 years now in the classroom, Cantu still enjoys teaching bilingual 1st grade classes. 

“It has to be hands-on. It has to be something that they're going to enjoy and be able to take with them and remember,” Cantu said. “I like to include baking or if it's fractions I include baking. They always love their food and they remember that.”

Her ability to connect their learning to real life experiences has helped her students succeed and got her noticed by school leadership, earning her a nomination for our KENS 5 EXCEL AWARD.

Somerset ISD Superintendent Saul Hinojosa was there when KENS 5 was honoring Cantu.

“She was selected from among 300 teachers here at the school. A big congratulations to her. We're really proud of her,” Hinojosa said. 

Cantu says she doesn’t consider this a job; the kids are her family.

“I love every minute of it, every second of it. I hope that my children continue to remember me throughout the years and that I made an impact on them, I'm pretty sure I have. I hear from them, but I really hope that that they remember that.”

Cantu is also the UIL Coach for grades 2 through 4 in writing and reading. As part of her reward, she received $1,000 from Credit Human.

For past EXCEL winners, click here.

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