BERGENFIELD, N.J. — Bergenfield teacher Jeannine Babino says she strives to make a connection with each and every one of her fifth-graders at Lincoln Elementary School.
They've repaid Babino by nominating her for a "LifeChanger Of The Year," award from the National Life Group.
"You are always hoping to make a difference in kids lives but to be nominated as a 'life-changer' is very humbling," said Babino, 41.
Her former students have sung Babino's praises on her "Life-Changer" profile page.
"Jeannine's enthusiasm, love, passion and positive attitude for teaching shines through to her students, as well as everyone she meets," wrote Carol Frizzola.
"Jeannine is without a doubt an inspiration to all her students and they are truly blessed to have a teacher like her," added Teresa Sentipal
A Bergenfield native, Babino graduated from Lincoln Elementary herself. The life-changing teachers of her youth have brought her to where she is today, she told Daily Voice.
"I had so many teachers growing up that had an impact on me and it made me want to do the same to others," she said.
For the last 17 years, Babino has been realizing that dream.
"There is no secret to what I do," she said. "I just make a point to ask every child how they are and try to find out what is going on in their lives."
Babino prides herself on the students who return.
"It always makes me happy when former students come back for a visit," she said. "It lets you know that you did something right."
The National Life Group uses community feedback to recognize exceptional K-12 educators around the country. It will begin announcing the LifeChanger recipients in April. Winners will receive a cash prize and a donation to their school.
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