LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Carissa James

Position: Mock Trial Team Coach / English Teacher
School: York Preparatory High School
School District: York Preparatory Academy
City, State: Rock Hill, SC

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Carissa James was nominated by an anonymous student.

Ms. James has been a dedicated teacher coach of York Preparatory Academy (YPA)’s mock trial team since it began six years ago. Over the past six years, she has helped the team grow from a six member team that did not have enough students to play all of the roles, to a commanding 16 member regional district winning team.

What is most impressive is that Ms. James gave the same amount of time, love, dedication and commitment for excellence to her first year team as she does to the current team. She consistently shows complete confidence in her team's ability. She has always been their number one cheerleader while teaching important law education skills that her students can not only use for mock trial, but that take with them through life, regardless of what professions they choose.

It does not take much time to see how greatly Ms. James cares for each and every member of YPA’s mock trial team. She cares about her students as individuals, not simply for what we might bring forth to the team. She conducts her classroom with this same level of care, compassion and dedication, which is one of the many reasons she was named 2018-2019 District Teacher of the Year and a contributor to York Preparatory Academy being named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2018.

"Ms. James helped to mold me from a shy, nervous person into a confident, outspoken young man who has volunteered for multiple local political campaigns," said her nominator. "I attribute this to Ms. James having me in one of her classes and telling me I should join the team. She saw something in me I didn’t know was there, and she does this for countless students, whether they're students in her mock trial team, students in her classes, or just students at the school. I believe that is a testament to her ability as a teacher. I know that she is a LifeChanger in our community."


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Comments (8)


Naiya Cherry Posted 15 days ago

She always shows her passion for teaching and always has a smile on her face. I’ve enjoyed her as my teacher this semester:)

Stephanie Balasco Posted 15 days ago

Mrs James there are amazing teachers and then there are teachers like you, Full on heart and soul. Your student or not Mrs. James is willing to take time for any student any way she can help or support them!! You are an exceptional teacher, we need more like you! You are truly a life changer, you changed my kids' life!!!!!

Martha Burton Posted 16 days ago

In ninth grade is when it started and when i meet Ms.James. If it wasn't for her i wouldn't have ever thought that i could have been a teacher. She believes in me no matter what every time i get nervous i go to her and she tells me that don't worry you got this. i am a Senior now and thanks to Ms.James for believing in me and telling me that i can do it if i put my mind to it. My Senior quote came from her because she always told me to "do my work and you will Succeed. i Love you Ms.James thank you for all your help. If it wasn't for you then i wouldn't have made it. i love you!!!!!!!!!!!

J.Wood Posted 16 days ago

Mrs. James is a fabulous teacher. Her students rave about her, and she's a wonderful colleague!!

Sydney Culver Posted 16 days ago

Congratulations, my friend! I'm not surprised at all! The students constantly tell me how wonderful you are.

R Bockian Posted 24 days ago

All I hear from my students is how amazing Ms. James is. She shows them how much she cares about each one of them. At the same she challenges them to be better writers; to be on the look out for evidence & details.

Sharon Black Posted 24 days ago

Carissa James is a wonderful teacher who gives countless hours to this team. I had the opportunity to watch them last year and they were amazing. Seeing YPA’s students speak with such professionalism was evident of the work they put in this team and showcases the effort and dedication that Carissa James gives this team as they spend many hours outside the classroom in preparation. She also taught my children in her English class and she was always available if they needed her help or guidance on an assignment. She is most definitely deserving of this award.

Brittany S. Pigford Posted 24 days ago

Ms. James is amazing! She has been such a positive influence on my son both in the classroom and as a mock trial coach. I can honestly say she was a Lifechanger for him and I think he would have been a different student had he not had her as a teacher. She instilled in him a level of confidence that was not there before. She made him reach for goals that he did not believe himself capable of achieving. I am so thankful to have her at York Preparatory Academy and I know that I am only one of many that have stories such as this and I know she will continue to change students lives in and out of the classroom . Way to go Ms. James, we are so proud of you!