Every year the National Life Group sponsors a LifeChanger of the Year Award to recognize and reward “K-12 school district educators and employers from around the [U.S.] who are making a significant difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership.”
The 2012-2013 LifeChanger of the Year is Charles Clark, custodian of Trinity High School in Euless, Texas. He took the job a quarter of a century ago, intending to move on when something better came along.
Support for his nomination came from staff, teachers and a lot of former students, who agreed with the application submitted for him. It said, in part:
When he sees someone who is struggling and needs help, he reaches out and gives them the support and encouragement they need, even taking some of the kids in and fostering them himself. He tells them to make good decisions and not let anyone else define who they are. He holds the students to very high standards and shows them that he genuinely cares, and is not there just for a paycheck. As a result, the students don’t want to disappoint him, work hard and eventually succeed.
I’ll bet everyone reading this remembers a Charles Clark, who came along when we needed him or her most. They helped us believe in ourselves when life tripped us. They expected the best of us, and because their opinion mattered, we lived up to their expectations. They were stones in the foundations we were building for the rest of our lives.
I had a chance to thank most of my Charles Clarks, and I’m glad I did since none of them is alive now. If yours are still around, they would be thrilled to hear from you. We become better people because of role models like this.