Detroit teacher Amy Lazarowicz named a life changer for inspiring kids with science

A Detroit teacher who's credited with helping her students become stewards of the environment was named a "LifeChanger of the Year" during a surprise ceremony at Neinas Dual Language Learning Academy today.

Amy Lazarowicz, who was selected out of more than 720 teachers nationwide, is now a top-five finalist for a $10,000 grand prize. She was nominated by Alycia Meriweather, the interim superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

For now, though, she received a $5,000 award and the school received $2,500.

The district noted in an advisory that Lazarowicz and her students in grades 3-5 maintain an outdoor classroom at Neinas, growing and studying onions, cabbage and other vegetables that once grown are provided to students and neighborhood families. Her students have competed and won the district's RecycleBowl, collecting more than 300 pounds of recyclables. And she and her students recently gave a presentation on their work at a community forum, discussing they work they do to improve their neighborhood.

The LifeChanger program, run by the National Life Group and its foundation, annually recognizes educators who make a difference in the lives of children.

"Mrs. Lazarowicz is more than just a science teacher. She is the epitome of what it means to be a community educator and leader for her students," her profile on the award program's web site says.

"She has the ability to teach lessons that are both rigorous and engaging, with a strong focus on her students becoming stewards of the environment and their community."