Farley teacher recognized with LifeChanger award nomination


Farley teacher recognized with LifeChanger award nomination
Lori Belcourt poses with her certificate.
(Photo/Courtesy Lori Belcourt)

HUDSON — When first grade teacher Lori Belcourt came home one day, a large box was waiting for her. Intrigued, she opened it up.

“I opened it and got so excited because there was this professionally framed certificate with my name on it,” said Belcourt.

Belcourt had received a certificate for being nominated for the LifeChanger of the Year award, a national recognition program that “honors K-12 public school educators and employees who are making a difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership,” according to Caitlin Sabourin, who works with the program.

Sabourin explained there is an opportunity to win a $3,000, $5,000 or $10,000 prize that is shared with the school district. A selection committee composed of education professionals and former recipients chooses the winners, who will be announced from March to May 2023.

There are hundreds of nominations from across the country, and 18 deserving teachers will be given a cash award to be shared with their respective school districts.

“I thought I had won,” Belcourt said. “I kept wondering when the flowers and the check was going to show up. Then I read it, and it said: Nominated certificate. There’s still time.”


Belcourt was nominated by her principal at C.A. Farley Elementary School, Rachel Scanlon. As noted in her nomination, Belcourt sends a handwritten letter every summer to former students of different ages, to encourage them and keep in touch. These letters can total 400.

In a press release, Scanlon said, “This is dedication. This is kindness. This is passion. This is how teachers make a difference. This is just one of the many reasons Lori is a LifeChanger.”

Scanlon has known Belcourt for nine years.

“As a veteran teacher myself with just about 20 years of experience, I have the opportunity to work with educators each and every day. Within minutes of working with Lori, I knew she was magical,” Scanlon said.

Belcourt was excited to find out about the nomination.

“I loved the name: LifeChanger,” she said. “I honestly feel that I have changed the lives of so many in my teaching career.”

The math works out to 35 years times 20 students, equaling 700 students.

Meet Lori Belcourt

Belcourt has taught first grade in the Hudson Public Schools at Farley Elementary School for 15 years. She began her career in Brookline, and this will be her 35th year teaching first grade.

She knew early on that teaching was something she wanted to pursue.

“I knew I wanted to help children learn lessons that would follow them for the rest of their lives,” Belcourt said.

She believes it is a profession “unlike any other.” She strives to make a difference in students’ lives and an impact on the community where she teaches.

For Belcourt, teaching goes both ways. She learns just as much as she teaches her students.

“Every year, my goal for all children is to be kind and respectful, try their best at all times and feel good about what they can do,” she added. “Students learn best and feel more comfortable taking risks when they feel safe, loved and cared for.”

For students to advance and learn, they need their social and emotional skills met, according to Belcourt.

In turn, she has “learned an incredible amount” from her students, such as to notice the little things and discover different cultures.

“Every student has taught me to become a better teacher,” she said. “They’ve taught me to be observant because they notice everything.”

Mostly, they have taught her “how important it is to laugh and enjoy life every day.”

She added, “A giggle goes a very long way!”

Belcourt believes she makes a positive impact on students and sets high standards by which to stick. Consistency is key because children need it in the classroom.

“I show kids that they deeply matter in this world. I consistently foster their self esteem and show student respect,” she said. “It is very important to teach students that respect is a two-way street.”

The most rewarding part of teaching for Belcourt is positively impacting her students.

“I get to pass a little bit of me to everyone I teach,” she said.

Belcourt gets much appreciation from former students, who share what is going on in their lives and can get a “pick-me-up” from her.

“Standing outside my door every morning, greeting students as they enter the classroom, I always have past students walk by (on purpose) to get a hug, pat on the back or smile from me to start their day,” she said.

Belcourt added, “This makes me smile to know that I made a difference in their lives.”

One way she makes a difference is through letters that she sends to her current and former students.

“During the school year, I write my students notes to their homes telling them something positive that they are doing or have done in class,” she said. “I know how important it is to make them feel good about what they can do. It makes them want to do more.”

Belcourt tries to send one letter a month to each student and before a new school year, she sends one to her former students wishing they have a great year and reminding them to try their best and be kind.

“I send out between 200 – 300 notes every August. I may need to start a Go Fund Me to purchase stamps if they keep going up,” Belcourt said.

Ultimately, she wanted to “thank them for teaching me, making me giggle and smile every single day.” She wanted all of her students to remember they can do anything they put their mind to and that mistakes help them to improve.

“Never give up trying, and if you make mistakes, it’s okay because we all do. Mistakes are for learning,” Belcourt said. “Most importantly believe in what you can do, and you will overcome hurdles in life.”

For Belcourt, there are countless wonderful reasons to go into teaching.

“I have made a difference; every day is different,” she said. “I’m constantly learning, I get to be creative and I get to impact the education system.”

In the end, changing students’ lives is her goal, as is seeing them grow and learn.

Belcourt said, “Seeing them through the grades makes all the difference for me. I could not ask for a better job to get up for every day.”

For more information about the LifeChanger program and support Lori, visit https://www.lifechangeroftheyear.com/


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