Position: JROTC Instructor
School: Cape Henlopen High School
School District: Cape Henlopen School District
City, State: Lewes, Delaware
About the Nominee: Any educator worth their weight in salt is an on-going LifeChanger. Sergeant Richard Hurt is the perfect example of on-going LifeChanger. Based on the sheer number of lives he has changed for the better and the degree to which he changed them, he is worth his weight in gold. Sergeant Hurt is a JROTC instructor for 9th graders. In this capacity, he has been, and continues to be, a positive influence on hundreds of young men and women. When these 9th graders move on to higher grades, they still seek out “Sarge” as a mentor, confidant and life advisor. His relationship with most of these students continues into adulthood, where “Sarge” is still checking in on them and pushing them to be better.
Sergeant Hurt has a larger than life personality, and all of his students respond to his guidance and positive, "anything is possible" attitude. He is the coach and advisor for a variety of after school activities such as Drill Team, Raider Team, Color Guard and an Academic/ Leadership Challenge Team. All of these teams are regularly awarded for their excellence or winning major competitions. Sergeant Hurt spends countless hours after school working with these students to pursue excellence. At the same time, he mentors them to help improve their self-image and beliefs about their prospects for the future. His students perform a tremendous amount of community service, and on every occasion, Sarge is always the first one there, modeling his positive, highly contagious attitude. His students were recently awarded a National Jefferson Award for community service for the 5th year in a row.
Sergeant Hurt definitely has an impact on all students who come into contact with him, but there are certain stories in particular that make him a LifeChanger.
One student came back to Cape Henlopen High School from juvenile detention, and Sarge immediately took that student under his wing. The student believed his life was ruined and could find no hope for the future. Sarge mentored him and worked with him for four years, and upon graduation, the student was accepted into the Army, where he continues to gain rank and flourish. Other students have thought that their only life path was to join the military, but Sarge guided them down a path that led to college, where they are now extremely successful. Sarge also works with his school's AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program, and last year, he insisted that a student apply for a scholarship sponsored by Dell. This student dragged her feet, but Sergeant Hurt kept insisting that she was good enough and convinced her to complete the application. Unsurprisingly, she won a $20,000 scholarship from Dell to attend college, where she is now working on a degree in international affairs. Additionally, Sarge has purchased more food and clothes for students than can be calculated, as well as a handsome suit for a student who was trying to attend prom.
The bottom line is that Sergeant Richard Hurt has been, and continues to be, the epitome of a LifeChanger. There are so many students who come back to visit him, share their successes and show off their families to him. He changes the lives of everyone he comes into contact with, and the students are proud to come back and let him know and thank him. Sarge changes lives for the better with his positive attitude and his focus on what can be done, rather than what can’t be done. A one-page nomination does not do him justice, according to his nominator, but his students can tell the whole story.