Alexandrea Cass is the January 2017 winner of the HUSD Governing Board Recognition of Excellence Award
■ Corey Evan / Reporter
Some of us dream about being Hollywood elite. But after getting a taste of reality, our dreams can sometimes take us elsewhere. That was the case for Hemet Unified School District Public Information Officer Alexandrea Cass.
Cass originally grew up in Beaumont. After spending some time working part-time Hollywood jobs, she decided to settle down in Hemet after obtaining her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Arizona State University. That was when the school district gave her the rare opportunity to create a job title from the ground up.
“When the position came up, I jumped at the chance to apply. It is brand new to Hemet Unified. I’ve had amazing support from our administration, just trial and error of what we want this position to be and where we want it to go,” said Cass. “The governing board has been extremely supportive of the role as well. I’ve been very fortunate.”
For Cass, it’s all just part of doing her job. “I can’t take the credit; it really was a lot of the people I work with.”
Governing Board Vice President Joe Wojcik nominated Cass for her efforts in assisting a student of the month nominee whose family was dealing with some financial difficulty.
“She shared her story… and it touched my heart. I reached out to [her] school and asked if there was anything I could do,” said Cass. “The staff said that they talked to her, and she said she needed groceries.”
From there, Cass networked with her coworkers and members of the Student of the Month program. This resulted in raising more than $900 for the family. The Hemet Lions Club donated a Thanksgiving meal to the student’s family, and Stater Bros. chipped in a few gift cards as well.
“It’s something I will always remember; it makes me tear up every time I think about this student’s struggle and everything she’s had to overcome, and the strength that she carries every day,” said Cass.
The Governing Board also gives each winner a $500 certificate to be used toward the district program of their choice. Cass will be applying hers toward the Student of the Month program.
“It’s something I look forward to every month; we get to hear from students in Hemet and San Jacinto,” she explained. “We get to hear about their struggles, their accomplishments and it really reiterates what we do as educators. And it just re-validates the connection teachers have with their students.”
Interesting to note is that Cass is planning to receive her master’s degree, and possibly a Ph.D! What an intrepid young lady…
Cass emphasized that every student’s story is important. “Every student has a different journey and their own struggles and it really re-validates the importance of reaching out to people,” she said. “If you have a passion for anything and you are willing to put in the hard work, go for it. I mean, to see students every day reach and really work so hard for a specific goal, it is the most inspiring thing you will ever encounter.”
Our congratulations go out to Cass on winning this award! And on her upcoming marriage, which is set to take place on June 17. One can assume she won’t be slowing down anytime soon…