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Three district staff nominated for 2016-2017 LifeChanger of the Year Award

Three district staff nominated for 2016-2017 LifeChanger of the Year Award
Posted on 02/02/2017

LifeChanger of the Year Award

Amy Denney from Point Loma High School and Terese Cowell and Irene Esper from Spreckels Elementary School have been nominated for a 2016-2017 LifeChanger of the Year Award.

National Life Group's LifeChanger of the Year is a nationwide program that annually recognizes individuals who make a positive difference in the lives of K-12 students.

The top 15 LifeChanger nominees receive cash awards and a matching donation for their schools, up to the $10,000 grand prize award. A committee of past award recipients will select the top candidates in the spring and surprise the winners at their schools. The 2016-2017 National LifeChanger of the Year Grand Prize Ceremony will be held in April 2017 in Naples, Fla.

Here is a little bit more about the nominees:

Amy Denney, ASB Advisor, Point Loma High School

Nominated by Tracy Beckhusen, Ms. Denney has served as the ASB Advisor for Point Loma High School for seven years. The moment you meet her, you can see that she has a passion for what she does and for who she serves. Her students adore her! As the ASB Advisor, she coordinates all Homecoming activities, pep rallies, dances, spirit weeks, food drives and blood drives. In addition, she is an iHigh teacher, where she supports students who are taking one or more classes online, either for the first time or to make up a low grade earned previously. She also serves as the site testing coordinator and runs the advisory program, where students can come to get additional academic support.

Regardless of any challenges, Ms. Denney pours her energy and excitement into everything she undertakes. When her school lost their beloved vice principal, Kevin Gormly, to cancer last year, she organized a Relay 4 Life team in his honor. Relay 4 Life is a fundraising event through the American Cancer Society that brings communities together to remember loved ones lost. The event honors cancer survivors and raises money to help make a global impact on cancer. Ms. Denney is one of those remarkable educators who inspire their students to achieve more, both academically and personally. She makes school not just a place to learn, but a place that feels like home. She is a LifeChanger in her community.

Terese Cowell, Transitional Kindergarten Teacher, Spreckels Elementary School

Terese Cowell is a perfect transitional kindergarten teacher because she is loving, warm and fun. She's the perfect teacher for a student who is just starting their journey into schooling. She knows how to make her students feel comfortable, but still pushes them to learn and grow. Ms. Cowell comes from a family that values education & she and her husband are both public school teachers.

Ms. Cowell makes her job as a teacher look effortless. She's also a loving mother to teenage twin daughters, a son who made the All American team for high school football and an adult daughter who is pursuing her dream job at Pixar. Mr. Comwell is a LifeChanger to her family and community.

Irene Esper, Fourth-Grade Teacher, Spreckels Elementary School

Irene Esper is a strong and loving teacher. She is so strong that while she battled cancer, she kept her students involved and used her ailment to teach her students tolerance, love, understanding and all other "curriculua." Ms. Esper always gives it her all. She tutors after school, brings students together for weekend events and simply gives more than she receives.

Each year, her number one goal is for her 32 students to come together and understand that we are all alike, and that it's our differences that make us special. She is originally from Uruguay, and she knows firsthand what it feels like to not be readily accepted. Because of her experiences, she has learned tolerance and how to understand differences, which she teaches her students to prepare them for experiencing intolerance in life. She makes her students feel special and cared for. Her nominator, who wishes to remain anonymous, believes that the work Ms. Esper does each year is astonishing and her genuine interest in students' development makes her a LifeChanger.