Some of the money that was awarded to Shane Thill earlier this year as the LifeChanger of the Year grand prize winner has gone toward sending drones into the sky over Mitchell, South Dakota.
Shane is the director of Second Chance Alternative High School in Mitchell. He won $10,000 from LifeChanger, half for himself personally and half for the school. And the school has used the money to start something new.
“We’re using the amount for the school for drone curriculum. They assemble drones, program them, and fly them,” Shane said. “It’s hands-on so some kids will enjoy the programming and others will enjoy the assembling.”
Shane said he enjoyed and was humbled by the overall experience with LifeChanger.
“I have a wonderful staff and wouldn’t be able to do that without them,” he said.
At Second Chance High, Shane and his colleagues work to help at-risk students seek a better future through education.
“I think (being an educator) begins with you have to have a heart and you have to care about children,” Shane said. “You have to understand the circumstances around these children and it’s not their fault. You also have to give them tough love and say enough is enough.”
Shane has helped students who have dealt with a range of challenges from drug abuse to committing crime to students just struggling to keep up with schoolwork.
“You also have to be able to listen or you won’t be able to understand their situation,” Shane said. “You have to be dedicated and have a sense of humor or you burn out pretty fast.”
“Sometimes in our world it is easy to focus on the negative but I think (National Life) has taken a different route and say, ‘Hey I want to celebrate the positives happening in the schools,'” Shane said. “It promotes the good teachers are doing.”
Shane has impacted the lives of hundreds of students through his work at Second Chance.
“If it wasn’t for Shane and Second Chance, I don’t know where I’d be. He helped me see life and see that if you truly want something in life try your hardest and the impossible is possible,” writes Jeremy Johnson. “I was failing so many classes I would have to graduate a year behind but I couldn’t do that. I had a goal to join the Marine Corps since I was in the sixth grade. I signed up for the Marine Corps at the age of 17 and had to graduate on time. If it wasn’t for Shane and Second Chance staff, I wouldn’t have graduated, traveled to seven countries, served two deployments and started a family.”
Over the years Shane has helped students both in school and after class.
“My first two years of high school were very difficult for me. … I found myself hanging out with the wrong crowd, getting into trouble, giving up on caring about my grades, and was also skipping classes because of being bullied. I just didn’t want to go to school anymore and on top of that I just really had a bad attitude,” writes Angela Andreas. “My time at Second Chance was the best two years of high school for me. Never did I think I was capable enough to receive all A’s and B’s, but I did it with a lot of hard work and the unending support of Mr. Thill.”
There are over one hundred stories similar to these shared on Shane Thill’s LifeChanger profile page.