Photo Release -- Texas High School Custodian Named National 'LifeChanger of the Year' Grand Prize Winner

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MONTPELIER, Vt., March 12, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- National Life Group today announced that a Texas high school custodian has earned top honors in its annual program that recognizes and rewards outstanding K-12 educators and school district employees who make a difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership.

(L to R): Wade Mayo, Executive Leadership, National Life Group; Charles Clark, LifeChanger of the Year grand prize winner; Ellen Clark (Charles' wife); Tony Pavia, Agent, National Life Group; Ruth Smith, Executive Leadership, National Life Group; Mehran Assadi, President and CEO, National Life Group

A photo accompanying this release is available at

Charles Clark, head custodian at Trinity High School in Euless, TX, was selected as 2012-13 national LifeChanger of the Year Grand Prize Winner out of more than 400 nominations for teachers, administrators and school district employees from 33 states.

"Charles Clark is proof that every school employee can be a powerful mentor and role model for students," said Mehran Assadi, President and CEO, National Life Group. "The tremendous outpouring of support for Charles' nomination from current and former students, co-workers and school district administrators illustrates the positive impact he's had on students and the value of his contributions to his school community."

Clark took the job at Trinity High School more than 24 years ago and, at the time, believed he would move on to something 'better'. That never happened. Early on, Clark became aware that many Trinity students came from single-parent homes and realized that he could help make a difference in their lives.

"The most important thing is just talking to kids and getting them to understand what life is all about and to be responsible for themselves," says Clark. "What is rewarding is when they come back and tell me that something I said or did 17 or 18 years ago had a positive influence on their life."

While Trinity students all know Mr. Clark for his friendly smile, inspirational stories, and words of encouragement, his commitment to the school community goes much deeper. Over the years Clark has purchased clothing and shoes for needy students, provided transportation and has even taken students into his home when they needed a place to stay.

"It wasn't something I went looking for," says Clark. "It just happened and I ran with it."

As the National Grand Prize Winner, Clark receives a $10,000 cash award, which is split between a $5,000 individual award and a matching $5,000 contribution to Trinity High School.

"He's really made a difference in a lot of kids' lives," said Trinity's Principal, Mike Harris. "He helps them see where he came from, what he's become, that he has a positive attitude about life and that they can do that same thing as well, regardless of the circumstances they may be facing today."

In addition to Clark, individuals from nine other school districts around the country received LifeChanger of the Year awards:

First Runner-Up ($7,000 cash award split between the individual award and the school)
Scott Rossen
Fourth Grade Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Teacher
Edwin Rhodes Elementary School
Chino, CA
Second Runner-Up ($5,000 cash award split between the individual and the school)
Maureen Charon-Shea
Special Education Teacher
Harwood Union High School
Moretown, VT
LifeChangers ($3,000 cash award split between the individual and the school)
Dale Duncan
Chorus Teacher
Henderson Middle School
Chamblee, GA
Yvonne Garrison Edwards
James A. Foshay Learning Center
Los Angeles, CA
Dr. Terry Grier
Houston Independent School District
Houston, TX
Elizabeth Pesco
Fifth Grade Teacher
Ethel Station Elementary School
Las Vegas, NV
Brian Soash
Eighth Grade Science and Math Teacher
Crest Middle School
Shelby, NC
Susan Turner
Sixth Grade World History Teacher
Beachside Montessori Village
Hollywood, FL
Kiersten White
Honors and Advanced Placement Biology Teacher
West Orange High School
Winter Garden, FL

Award winners were selected based on the following criteria:

  • A proven ability to make a beneficial difference in the lives of students
  • An ability to positively add to the development of the school's atmosphere
  • A leader in his or her activities at the school and/or district level
  • A proven record of excellent performance at the professional level
  • A commitment to producing a nurturing atmosphere

"It was inspiring to see the many unique ways that this year's winners and nominees are making a difference in the lives of their students and in their communities," said Assadi. "Each and every one received strong support and praise from their school community and deserves to be called a LifeChanger."

To view a video profile of Charles Clark, visit:

To learn more about the 2012-13 award winners and nominees, visit: .

National Life Group will open nominations for the 2013-2014 LifeChanger of the Year program on April 1, 2013.

National Life Group® is a trade name of National Life Insurance Company, Montpelier, VT, Life Insurance Company of the Southwest (LSW), Addison, TX, and their affiliates. LSW is not an authorized insurer in New York and does not conduct insurance business in New York. Each company of the National Life Group is solely responsible for its own financial condition and contractual obligations.

The National Life Group logo is available at

CONTACT: For National Life Group Kevin Gould 774-545-5142

Source:National Life Group