Celebrating LifeChangers In Our Schools

I’m sure all of us can think of someone from school who had a big effect on our lives, a teacher, a coach, a custodian.

I often think, for example, of my fifth-grade teacher. My handwriting was so bad that she taught me to type on an old manual typewriter. These computer keyboards are so much easier!

There are others, too, of course, who made a difference in how I learned or experienced the world.

Betty Chandler of Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, Fla., is one who has influenced countless lives in more than 50 years in public education.

Around here, we call people like Betty LifeChangers because exceptional educators really make a difference in how we learn.

Educators too often are taken for granted. So National Life sponsors the LifeChanger of the Year program to recognize excellence in our public schools.

We’ announced this year’s grand prize winner for this year just this week. Congratulations to Mike McEachern of Hargrave High School in Texas! Check out the finalists in this video.

But we also wanted to share what it means to be recognized. This is a letter-to-the-editor that Betty Chandler wrote to her local newspaper about her experience as last year’s LifeChanger of the Year grand prize winner.

My Year as a LifeChanger

This month marks the end of my year-long journey as the “National Life Changer of the Year.” On behalf of our students, staff, families, community partners, supporters and the Orange County Public School System, I say, “Thanks,” once again to you dear National Life Group representatives for your caring hearts, generous donation, and the insight to recognize individual educators and school district employees. I know there is a God who took time to establish the National Life Group Program. I pursue God’s Will daily to help his precious children, and I am honored that you were chosen to help me in my endeavor.

My “Thanks” includes everyone who has been led into my life along the way. You know who you are!  My appreciation goes to those who made my nomination possible and to all those who voted for me.  You trusted, encouraged, inspired, and supported my efforts; therefore, I accepted this honor on your behalf in the spirit of friendship and love! You have helped me provide food, uniforms, shoes, clothing, incentives, rewards, and HOPE to Eccleston’s Children of Promise, their families and community for years and years. Additionally, some of the prize money was used to make field trips affordable to all students at our Title I School.

This experience has strengthened me and made me wiser and an even better person. As I am always learning, I have seized this moment and will always cherish it. It is precious moments like these that I will embrace forever with love, hope, gratitude, faith and charity. “All Children Are Important!”

Betty D. Chandler

Eccleston Elementary School

Orlando, Fla.