Pocomoke Middle Teacher Honored With ‘LifeChanger’ Award

Pocomoke Middle Teacher Honored With ‘LifeChanger’ Award

POCOMOKE – Cheering and applauding students lined the hallways of Pocomoke Middle School to celebrate math teacher Nikki Blake this week.

In a surprise presentation Wednesday, Blake received the LifeChanger of the Year Spirit Award from National Life Group.

“You exhibit kindness, compassion and hard work,” said Chris McLoota of Key Advisors Group, the local affiliate of National Life. “You serve as a role model to your students. National Life’s mission is to do good, be good and make good. You exemplify that.”

Blake, who’s been teaching at Pocomoke Middle for the past 11 years, was nominated for the LifeChanger of the Year award by colleague Brian Cook in late 2016. He described her leadership in the classroom as well as her efforts as a basketball coach. He wrote about the way he’d seen former students return to the school time and again to seek Blake’s advice, whether academic or personal.

The Pocomoke community was quick to rally behind Blake’s nomination, sharing her LifeChanger of the Year online profile, livestreaming a pep rally in honor of her nomination and expressing appreciation for her on social media. McLoota said the fact that her nomination profile was viewed thousands of times and shared heavily on social media sites illustrated the large amount of community support Blake had. Because of that, she was chosen as the LifeChanger of the Year Spirit Award winner from more than 720 nominees.

“It not only recognizes your efforts but it recognizes the community that supported you,” Principal Matthew Record said.

Several of those community members, including Pocomoke Mayor Bruce Morrison, Hardwire LLC founder George Tunis, a trio of Worcester County Commissioners and many others, were present for the announcement of Blake’s award.

“You did a great job,” Worcester County Commissioner Jim Bunting said. “We’re proud of you.”

Doug Dryden, vice president of the Worcester County Board of Education, praised Blake and her fellow teachers.

“People like you do such an outstanding job,” he said. “It’s not just the classroom instruction it’s all the extra things you do.”

Superintendent Lou Taylor pointed out Pocomoke area schools and teachers were consistently earning national recognitions. He thanked the county’s south end educators for their efforts.

“Nikki, you exemplify what we see in a lot of our teachers,” he said. “It’s important we connect with our kids.”

As the LifeChanger of the Year Spirit Award winner, Blake was presented with a $5,000 prize—a $2,500 cash award for herself and a $2,500 donation to her school.

National Life Group is in its sixth year of offering the LifeChanger of the Year award as a way to honor people making a difference in children’s lives. Curtis Macomber of Key Advisors Group said that because the company worked so often in schools, its officials constantly witnessed the tireless efforts of teachers.

“National Life has developed the program as a way to shine light on the good you do,” Macomber said.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.