LifeChanger of the Year is an annual program sponsored by National Life Group that recognizes and rewards K-12 educators and school employees across the country. The program celebrates those who are making a significant difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership. Nominations for the 2017-2018 LifeChanger of the Year Program are now open. Currently, there are over 400 nominations nationwide, with ten from New Jersey, one of whom is Laura Durso, a history teacher at Hackensack High School.
Ms. Durso is the perfect example of an individual who constantly seeks to change the lives of her students. She has worked in the inner city her entire teaching career, specifically because she feels it provides the greatest opportunity to do the most good. She pours herself into her education and connects with students on an emotional level. Ms. Durso helps them as much as is possible, not only based on a commitment to educational advancement, but also by helping them through the difficulties of their environment. She takes time out of her normal teaching duties to dedicate herself to her students outside of the classroom. She has helped start a Model UN club, volunteered to lead the Academic Decathalon team and is the co-advisor for the student council. She has also coached basketball, track and field and cross country throughout her career.