POINT PLEASANT — Local high school teachers were recently nominated for the 2019-20 Life Changer of the Year Award.
Melissa Bledsoe and Maurice Alouf are both educators at Point Pleasant Junior/ Senior High School (PPJ/SHS).
Bledsoe, PPJ/SHS math instructor, was nominated by an anonymous colleague for her tireless dedication to providing learning opportunities for students. The colleague shared Bledsoe teaches a wide spectrum of students, from those who did not pass a class the previous year, to those taking college level classes for dual credit.
Bledsoe is also a sponsor and driving force behind her school’s recently implemented math honorary society, Mu Alpha Theta. Under Bledsoe’s leadership, Mu Alpha Theta instituted a mentoring program for members to tutor other students in mathematics.
“Mrs. Bledsoe is one of the hardest-working, most effective teachers I have ever known,” said her anonymous nominator. “She is not a teacher who goes home at the earliest opportunity, choosing instead to remain most days late into the evening working with students and planning her teaching strategies. She brings the highest standards of integrity and dedication to her calling as an educator.”
Alouf, who teaches digital photography, general art, and ceramics, was recognized as a “life changer” for his compassion and mentorship he offers to students. He was nominated by an anonymous student.
“Mr. Alouf is a great teacher and an amazing friend,” said his anonymous nominator. “He makes sure his students are doing well inside and outside his classroom at all times, and he gives great advice when students need it. If they having a rough day, students go to Mr. Alouf.”
Alouf has been teaching at PPJ/SHS for seven years now.
“I feel very honored to receive a nomination for the Life Changer of the Year Award,” said Alouf. “I try very hard to take of the students in my school. Sometimes their needs are academic, sometimes they have a social issue they need help with, and sometimes they just need someone to listen to them.
When Alouf graduated from Marshall University with his degree in graphic design, he did not set specific plans to become a teacher. He worked at his graphic design company for five years.
“The company I worked for was going out of business and an opportunity to continue my education and move into a new career presented itself. I took that opportunity and got a teaching degree from Marshall University and became a teacher,” said Alouf.
The Life Changer of the Year is sponsored by the National Life Group Foundation, Life Changer of the Year recognizes and rewards the very best K-12 educators and school district employees across the United States who are making a difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership.
Each school year, Life Changer of the Year receives hundreds of nominations from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Seventeen individual Life Changer of the Year Awards will be given during the 2019-2020 school year.
The grand prize winner will receive $10,000 to be shared with their school/district; four grand prize finalists will receive $5,000 to be shared with their school/district; 10 Life Changer Award winners will receive $3,000 to be shared with their school/district.
One Spirit Award winner will receive $5,000 to be shared with their school/district, this award is given to the nominee whose community demonstrates the most support for their nomination. One Spotlight Award winner will receive $5,000 to be shared with their school/district, this award is given to a nominee in a specific discipline each year, for 2019-20, the Spotlight Award will be given to a nominee who has made a proven impact on school safety.
Winners are announced via surprise award ceremonies held at their schools. The grand prize finalists will also be honored at a national awards ceremony in April 2020 in Florida, where the grand prize winner will be revealed.
Winners are chosen by a selection committee comprised of former winners and education professionals. Nominees must be d-12 teachers or school district employees. To be considered for an award, nominees must: make a positive impact in the lives of students; enhance their school or district’s atmosphere, culture and pride; demonstrate exemplary leadership at the school and/or district level; possess a proven record of professional excellence; show commitment to building a nurturing environment that supports learning; and adhere to the highest moral and ethical standards.
Erin Perkins Johnson contributed to this article.