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Football Playoffs Pay Off for Houston School Library

Ponderosa Elementary School library

Football fans across the U.S. cheered on their favorite teams on Monday during the College Football Playoffs in Houston, Texas. (Congrats to the Michigan Wolverines on their victory over the Washington Huskies!) And thanks to the playoffs, several schools in the Houston area received extra attention.

Each year, the College Football Playoff Foundation, a nonprofit committed to supporting education, teachers, and students, gives back to the community hosting the playoffs by investing in its teachers and schools. For this round, the foundation identified six Houston-area schools for a makeover, including Ponderosa Elementary which received a $50,000 grant to upgrade its library.

Built in 1971, Ponderosa Elementary is the third oldest school in the Spring Independent School District and serves approximately 785 students in Pre-K through grade 5. The grant breathed new life into the library and transformed it into a true media center with new furniture, a makerspace, and more.

“I’m excited and grateful,” said Ponderosa Principal Floralba Reyna upon learning that the school's library was to receive the upgrade. “The library is a space where we can empower our students and inspire them. It’s also a space for our teachers, where librarians and our teachers collaborate on special projects, so I’m excited for this, because we’re going to be able to help more teachers and more students.”

Ponderosa students were able to see and use their new library last week during an unveiling event with teachers, school district leaders, and representatives from the foundation. The experience left a lasting impression on all attendees.

“This was a day full of joy,” Britton Banowsky, executive director of the College Football Playoff Foundation, told KPRC2 Houston. “We were able to come here to Ponderosa Elementary and totally made over their library—completely fresh, new furniture, a maker space, a wonderful learning environment here now. And then we invited the students, on their first day back, to come experience it and the expressions on their faces said it all.”

The Ponderosa makeover is part of a larger school beautification initiative that includes 11 murals and six school makeovers, with most of the transformations being centered around libraries. The revitalizations align with the College Football Playoff Foundation’s Houston Loves Teachers campaign, which aims to revolutionize the educational landscape, from physical beautification endeavors to recruitment and retention efforts to bring more teachers into Houston classrooms.

More than $3 million was fundraised to support the campaign before the playoffs began, and events surrounding the championships contributed even more. Funded through at least the 2025 school year, the program’s legacy will live well beyond the football season.


Photo: Ponderosa Elementary School Library, via Click2Houston.

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