LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Julio Vega

Position: Sixth Grade Science Teacher
School: Watson B. Duncan Middle School
School District: Palm Beach County Public Schools
City, State: Palm Beach Gardens, FL

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Julio Vega was nominated by a colleague, Nicole Freseman.

Mr. Vega is the kind of teacher who is sincerely concerned with his students as whole beings. He gets to know his students in an effort to show that he truly cares above and beyond their school lives. Besides teaching engaging lessons, you can find him at almost every function at school in support of his students. He even takes personal time to attend events that are not school related just to cheer on a student or show support.

"He takes time to get to know his students on a deeper, personal level than just what is seen in class," Freseman said. "If that is not enough, he is in the process of donating one of his kidneys for a young person! Overall, I believe his students know he cares about them more than just as a student in his classroom."

Comments (260)

Hanne-Mette Posted over a year ago

Julio is a wonderful person with a generous heart and care for others - an inspiration and a true Hero.

Charlene Tello Posted over a year ago

Julio is a True Example of Love and Sacrafice, He is Truly a life Changer. Wish my kids could get the opportunity to have him as there Teacher! ??

Amy Schmidt Posted over a year ago

What an amazing person and selfless act. Thank you Julio!

Kristen LeBlanc Posted over a year ago

Such a selfless act of love! We need more people like Julio in the world.

Matt Sherman Posted over a year ago

Thanks for your example of love and self-sacrifice!

Melanie Heisick Posted over a year ago

So inspired by your story. I'm glad our products are helping you with recovery and on your wellness journey. Thank you so much for sharing your story. The world needs more Julios!

Lisa Gallo Posted over a year ago

Julio lives and breathes kindness, generosity and care. He is so deserving of this award!

Austin Hartley Posted over a year ago

I recently heard Julio speak at a conference that I attended, and WOW! What a self-less individual to go through what he did in order to save a student's life, who wasn't even a part of his class! In a self-centered culture such as ours, it's so important to reward those who are doing great things out of the goodness of their hearts. God bless!

Arkel Washington Posted over a year ago

You're such an inspiration! Keep sharing your positivity and selflessness with the world!

joe dascenzo Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is a true inspiration and shows us what true LOVE is...

Kelly Posted over a year ago

Bringing hope to those who need it most, thank you for being an inspiration!

Ryan Cornett Posted over a year ago

The standards of empathy, sacrifice, altruism, and integrity have been redefined after hearing Mr. Vega's story. Truth is, he's as authentic in person as he appears in his videos. A TRUE hero. Someone who compels us to do more for others.

Kadi Posted over a year ago

So inspiring!

Karen Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega truly has a heart for others, that is apparent in his words and actions. He not only talks the talk, he walks the walk. Thank you for being an example of what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. You are a wonderful, caring and inspirational human being!

Trudie Burrell Posted over a year ago

I had the opportunity to hear Julio Vega's amazing story! Ha has my vote for life changer of the year.

Matt Posted over a year ago

What an act of generosity and selflessness. What Julio Vega did will change more than just the life of Bobby Seelman. People who take action like this will impact others to do the same and will change the lives of many. I couldn't think of anymore more deserving of this award.

Amy Martin Posted over a year ago

An amazing story that restores faith in humanity. He didn’t give a second thought about a major surgery changing his life, but more what the result would bring, saving a life.

April Workman Posted over a year ago

I love when you said... if it’s important to you, it’s important to me. That’s truly loving your neighbor and such a selfless act!

Andrew Somjak Posted over a year ago

Meeting Julio recently, hearing his story, seeing his passion for his students and his efforts in making positive, lasting impacts on their lives was incredibly humbling and inspiring. Julio has a heart full of love and it is evident in his speech and action. He is obviously filled with and led by a deep compassion for children and at-risk youth. I cannot think of a more Christ-like, laudable, and admirable quality that should make Julio Vega a shoo-in for this award given his career of selfless, love-borne acts for kids like the incredible sacrifice he made for this young man, without hesitation. He deserves this award and I think we are obligated, as fellow travelers in The Way of Love, to honor and exemplify positive role-models like Julio.

Jonathan Mariner Posted over a year ago

I had the pleasure of listening to Julio speak and all I can say is the man is absolutely selfless. The health and well being of those in need is of utmost importance to Julio. He is a genuinely sincere individual who everyone can learn and adopt habits from.

Kimberly Whitney Posted over a year ago

What amazing story. Mr Vega deserves the best for helping the boy have a life to live. Wow True generosity from the heart .

Carrie Bertram Posted over a year ago

Thank You Julio for being a true inspiration and for sharing the joy given and received when serving others!

Tara Church Posted over a year ago

We should all take a lesson from Mr. Vega. Give what you can to those in need. Well deserved recognition!

Aimee Sorensen Posted over a year ago

Thank you for inspiring us all!!

Frenchy Rivera Posted over a year ago

Selflessness invisioned. A true warrior in the fight for a better world.

Marty Barrett Posted over a year ago

Just heard him speak at an event...what a true example of selflessness...I try to imagine a world filled w/such people...thinking of others always before self...being a support to kids who have none...advocating for his students day after day...simply mindblowing...I was in tears...

Laura Hughes Posted over a year ago

Mr Vega is such an inspiration to us all! We need more people like Mr. Vega in this world. I was deeply touched by his story. He deserves the Life Changer of the Year Award!

Nick Norley Posted over a year ago

Julio’s story is an amazing example of doing something nice for someone and expecting nothing in return.

Nicole Posted over a year ago

Amazing and incredible selfless human!

Lisa Posted over a year ago

A true inspiration!

Dawn Jarvis Posted over a year ago

Julio is an incredible person and an amazing ambassador for human kindness and generosity. He is truly dedicated to helping others. He unselfishly gave his kidney, the gift of life,to a student he didn’t even know because it was the right thing to do. We are honored to know him and this award would be a wonderful way to honor him and maybe even encourage others to follow his example and get tested to become a potential kidney donor.

john Posted over a year ago

he gave a kidney, give him an award! :)

Stephen Treasure Posted over a year ago

Such an inspiration and making a commitment in making a difference.

Lori Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is an inspiration to all. We may not all be able to donate a kidney but we are able to give more. Thank you Julio for your humanity and generosity.

Oceanna Faget Posted over a year ago

You deserve all the good that life has to offer! Thank you for being such an inspiration!

Day Tomko Posted over a year ago

You have a beautiful heart! Thank you for everything that you do.

Kate Thomas Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is a person I admire tremendously. He is the quintessential teacher and father, and it would be very pleasing to see him win this award. I am very thankful he was able to help the person in need of a kidney, as it restores lost faith in people and shows there is goodness still around. ??

Mary Ann Barnes Posted over a year ago

I can think of no one who deserves the lifechanger of the year award more than Julio Vegas. Our granddaughter had him in her 6th grade science class and loved him. He not only cares about his students in class but is interested in their whole being. She was at Christ Fellowships summer camp last summer and he was always encouraging and checking on all his students. He has the joy of the Lord in him and shares his light with the world. He definitely changes students lives in school, after school, at church activities and to all of us adults who know him. He is such a witness and inspiration to everyone who knows and loves him. But to give his organs for another who he had never met at the time...Julio definitely deserves this wonderful award. May God continue to bless him and work thru him.

Myriam DeSantis Posted over a year ago

Julio has loved, encouraged and been a mentor to my sons, Corrado and Dante for several years. We meet Julio at Christfellowship Church. Since then he has been their group leader at CF Students and has even gone on a mission trip to Belle Glade with my sons where they worked and helped the community of Belle Glade. When we heard Julio was in the hospital because he was donating a kidney, we were surprised because he is so humble, he didn’t tell us. We wondered how we could help this AWESOME man, but his family was there with him every step of the way and informed us of Bobby and his progressed. We prayed, kept I touch. Then, the week he was OUT of the hospital, Julio came to see both Corrado and Dante at there Mustangs Tackle Football Game! Slowly but surely, Julio came to the fields and watched as both my sons played. Corrado and Dante were so happy and encouraged. He was here supporting them right after donating a kidney. Julio derserves this award for all the ways he is willing to grow, lead, love, encourage every young person he comes in contact with...even if it means giving a part of his body away. He is amazing and an inspiration to us all! We love you Julio! The DeSantis Family

Shayna Posted over a year ago

Wow!! Such an amazing person

Salvador Magallanes Posted over a year ago

Julio is the most deserving of all of your candidates. He's truly a genuine good person, and an incredible teacher. He creates these amazing props for his classes, and his students love it. He takes even time out of his lunch to interact with his middle school students too. Then you have him donating a kidney to an unknown person... Stuff that dreams are made of! And he had his calling during his volunteer week in the summer. You cannot make this up. Julio is a great person, teacher and I'm proud to know him also as a friend. I hope you select him Sal

Sarah M Posted over a year ago

Julio Vega is such a giving and loving human. I am very lucky to know him. He is a true role model and has such a giving soul. Mr. Vega is a truly amazing person.

Alex Magallanes Posted over a year ago

Mr Vega totally deserves this award. I have the honor of personally knowing him and getting to spend time with him and his amazing daughters. He has such a kind and caring heart and is always there to help. When my father fell ill for a year he was always there to help when no one else was, here and ready to support him and our family. He is so selfless and I couldn’t think of a man more deserving for this award

Emily MacLaren Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is an amazing teacher and is the most generous person I’ve ever met. He saved the life of a former student all out of the kindness of his heart. He deserves this award!

Jen Posted over a year ago

Our family is so blessed to call Julio our friend. He is always thinking of others and he is one of the most humble people we know. My husband and I are were at our daughters school softball game and our teenage son needed to get to work during the game. Julio overhead my husband and I discuss which one of us would stay at the game and which one of us would take our son to work. He so kindly, so humbly offered to take our son to work so we could both stay at the game. It was so unexpected and so kind! That’s just one way Julio has touched our lives personally with his humble, kind ways. He is absolutely a life changer! Peoples lives are changed for the better when Julio is a part of their lives.

Daymar Sanchez-Flores Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is one of the nicest humans beings and he deserves everything good in this world. Mr. Vega was my teacher in sixth grade and he is such a sweet and caring person inside and out. He was actually the first academic teacher who really made it exciting for me to learn and kept me engaged through everything he did. I never once saw him stop caring about his students and he's gone as far as donating his kidney to a former Duncan student. Not only that but he took time and came to my Quince and that meant a lot and I just appreciate everything he's done for me. I still keep in touch with him and I'm glad that I, as well as my family, can count on him for anything. Truly one of the greatest souls out there.

Marcy Kriege Posted over a year ago

Many of us give, when it is convenient. Often, when we have extra funds or at Christmas time. Usually it entails something in our comfort level. When I heard of Teacher Vega it helped me realize True Generosity is when one gives when it is uncomfortable, when it will be painful to give it up, and when we do it for a stranger. It is clear to see Mr. Vega heard of this need and his instinct led him to answer the call for help. I know he must not be comfortable with this attention for he gives of the heart with no thought of reward or recognition. That is why my vote is for Teacher Vega as Life Changer of the Year. I hope he receives this honor so that people hear of this deed; in turn propel others into further acts of generosity and kindness that change lives forever. He has inspired me greatly. Stats from shows in August 2017: 114,00 men, women, and children were on the national transplant waiting list with 20 people dying each day while waiting for a transplant.

Sandra Flores Posted over a year ago

We are honored to have Julio in our lives. Julio is an outstanding human being, always going above and beyond in everything he does. He is a beloved teacher and community member. When somebody ask me or my husband "Are you friends with Julio?" and we say "yes" the response we get is "he is a super nice guy, and indeed he is. We always hear stories about Julio's kindness, and we have recipients of his kindness in multiple ocassions, from help organizing a party for our kids to help our family while my husband was severely ill. I'm positive Julio is a great and positive influence for all his students, he deserves our recognition.

Brittany Paiva Posted over a year ago

Such an amazing and selfless act of kindness that, I'm sure, means more than the world to Bobby and his family. Giving the gift of life to someone on the brink of death is one of the most amazing things Mr. Vega could ever do. I have never met him, however he is an angel on earth. I had the pleasure of taking care of Bobby in the hospital, and the organ donation was Bobby's second chance at life, allowing him to be a normal 20-year-old and experience new memories and moments with his friends and family at the young age. Bobby is an amazing, spunky, genuine good person. Not many people get that second chance, as Bobby knows. Thank you for giving Bobby back his life.

Maddi Hurley Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is one of the kindest people I have ever met in my entire life. He was a teacher in 6th grade. I’m now in my second year of high school and I have not lost touch with Mr. Vega. He is a person I know I could go to with any problem and he would lead me into the right direction. I look up to him and always will.

Stacy Hatcher Posted over a year ago

Thank you to Mr. Vega for being so selfless and making such a difference in the lives of so many.

Carmen Presti Posted over a year ago

What you did was so selfless and giving, you changed many lives in one moment!

Donna Minotti Posted over a year ago

After attending the Special Olympics of Palm Beach Appreciation Dinner this weekend we learned of the efforts that Mr. Vega has put forth. WOW! This man in my (and my husband's) opinion deserves the Life Changer of the Year Award. To give "literally" a part of yourself in addition to you talents, skills, and compassion is above and beyond what most even consider these days. This world needs more like Julio and this county is lucky to have him. Best of Luck!

Karen Vaughn Posted over a year ago

I cannot imagine a greater life changer than someone who literally risked his life to save a former student. This man is a hero in every way.

Beatriz Beltrán Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is an exceptional human being. He is willing to help anyone he can, although he doesn't know him, as Bobby's case.He doesn't mind having to do extra work if this is going to help his students, friends, family or people around him. He is generous, kind, committed and hardworking. If all of us resembled him a little bit we would live in a better world.

Meg Posted over a year ago

Truly a life changer and blessing to Bobby and all who love him!

Michael James Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Mr Vega on your nomination! You are a true life changer! It is a great pleasure to see how you work in the lives of your students and helping them realized just how special they are and how much God loves each and every one of them. You have given of yourself in many ways and now you have given a kidney to help one of your former students. Students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Now you have shown in such a personal way just how much you truly care.

Shirley C VanWanderham Posted over a year ago

I highly recommend that Julio Vega be considered !! He is a true hero. He gave a kidney for a young friend of mine and saved his life !! To give up a part of your body to someone that you don't even know shows how huge Julio's heart is. He is a man of God and felt compelled to offer his kidney to Bobby Seelmam !! Please consider him.

Derek Posted over a year ago

So thankful for Julio’s courage to do something so selfless! God bless!

Stacy Posted over a year ago

What an amazing selfless man! We need more people like this in our world!

Kathy Rapp Posted over a year ago

Mr Vega is a life saver- no one changes a life more than someone who literally gives of himself to save another’s life. He is an angel and inspiration. I am in awe of his selflessness.

Rosa Guzman Posted over a year ago

I am in awe of what Julio has done for a stranger. Sacrificing a real piece of himself for another,saving a life , making a long lasting impact on that young man ,and all of us who have heard of his amazing and selfless deed. He is a true teacher and leader ,leading by example . I am inspired by his spirit and good news, thankful that there are people like him .He is no stranger to doing for others . He is a teacher ,an educator making a difference everyday. So glad he may be honored with a prize that can raise awareness for organ donation and demonstrate for his students the positive ripple effects of a good deed in these difficult times. Teachers have your back in more ways than students could ever imagine. What a beautiful tribute to an amazing teacher in school and in life.

Danielle Hayden Posted over a year ago

He definitely deserves this award!

Katie Posted over a year ago

He has such a big heart and does so much for so many.

Meghan varner Posted over a year ago

What a hero. So privileged to have met this man. Wish our world was full of people like Julio??

Victoria Kanevsky Posted over a year ago

Amazing human being

Lucy Posted over a year ago

Incredible asset to society!!!! Thank you for you! You deserve this!

Teddi Thrush Posted over a year ago

Unfortunately my two children have not been lucky enough to have Mr. Vega as a teach, but I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him when he would come after a long days work to cheer on the Duncan baseball team. He never missed a game and I thought of him as a good luck charm. I wasn’t surprised when I heard he was donating his kidney to a student he never even knew. I’ve never requested a teacher in all my years, but I am going to do everything I can to have him teach my youngest son when he attends Duncan. All the kids gravitate to him and to see the love he has for each and every one of them is inspirational. I can’t think of a more deserving teacher for this award ??!!!!!

Bailey Hughes Posted over a year ago

I’ve met Julio once but his character and demeanor with our foster children was amazing. He has a heart of gold and I have seen it time and time again with Silvia’s children and her family. What an amazing man!

Adrienne Woodard Posted over a year ago

What an amazing person! I've met him once and he is so nice and genuine. I know him through stories I hear a d they are always nothing short of amazing. He's prayed for me and my family and that was such a blessing to us and a honor for him to intercede on our behalf. He is a blessing to many and answered prayers for others. ??????????????????

Danny Ingram Posted over a year ago

Mr. Julio Vega is Life Changer of the Year. I have had the opportunity to know Julio for the past two years. He is always an encouragement and an inspiration to those around him. Julio, Thank you for being genuine and a man of integrity. Thank you for caring for others and making a difference in our community!!! You rock!

Joshua Garcia Posted over a year ago

Simply a hero. Thanks for your act of selflessness. You’ve made the world a better place.

Desiree Posted over a year ago

Truly what a blessing. Asking Creator to continue to guide you both on this new together. A'ho

Laurie Swoboda Posted over a year ago

We need more people like Julio Vega in this world!

Linsey Harris Smith Posted over a year ago

What a honor it was to meet this incredible hero last night when he was honored at Special Olympics Florida - Palm Beach County’s Awards Banquet. There are not many people in the world who would donate their kidney to somebody they never met. His donation - to an incredible Special Olympics athlete - is truly inspiring!

Joe Posted over a year ago

Above and beyond, Mr. Vega deserves this award like no other!

Adriana S Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega Very well deserves to win ! I don’t know Mr. Vega Personally, but His Actions speak loud ... he is truly a Angel of God that was sent on Earth ... God Bless you .

Malikah Posted over a year ago

My daughter is in his class now and she has been ill and he reached out to check up on her multiple times. He truly cares about the mental and physical well being of all his students. He's A Great teacher and a great human being!

Keith Alexander Posted over a year ago

This is the most amazing story I have heard in years. Brought me to tears. This man is an inspiration to us all

Josue Vital guzman Posted over a year ago

This is an amazing story!

Elishama Posted over a year ago

May God continue to bless you abundantly!!

Angela Posted over a year ago

Amazing story! Thank you Julio Vega and family!

Heather and Jonathan Woolf Posted over a year ago

Julio is a kind and giving spirit ! God bless you Julio!

Tezza Posted over a year ago

Thank you for being one of “those teachers”. I am talking about the ones that kids remember and come back to visit as they start THEIR lives as adults. Giving an organ makes you even more special...I am not sure if you would be a “new Uncle, brother, or Angel”. Thank you! Tezza

Maria-Danielle White Posted over a year ago


Shari Posted over a year ago

What a true hero! If he doesn't deserve to win who does?

REBECCA Posted over a year ago


Kerry Murray Posted over a year ago

I know Julio Vega because my son had the extreme privelege of having Mr. Vega as his 6th grade Advanced Science teacher. He is by far the best teacher my son has ever had, and my son loved his class and couldn’t say enough great things about him. Mr. Vega is the kind of teacher who gives students someone to trust and look up to. He inspires kids to learn and do their best. He is encouraging, engaging in his teaching, and beyond caring. When our community suffered one of the most horrific tragedies and my son and his fellow Duncan students lost their treasured and very loved friend, Mr. Vega came to the funeral to honor and remember Jiovanni Sierra. It was not only clear to anyone in attendance on that day how much Mr. Vega cares for his students and members of his church, but it was heartwarming and comforting to witness how much his students respect and love him too. Grief stricken student after grief stricken student went up to Mr. Vega to seek his comfort. As a parent, it was wonderful to see that our kids have someone they can trust and rely on for guidance, caring, and love in an often difficult and scary world. Many have mentioned the fact that Mr. Vega donated his kidney to a well deserving former Panther student. What is beyond obviously amazing in that act of selflessness and kindness is that Mr. Vega never even had the opportunity to have this student in his class. It didn’t matter to him that he may not have personally known this young man in need. What mattered was that a member of his community and a fellow human being was in need. That speaks volumes as to who this man is. The world needs many, many more like him. It’s a great privilege to have someone of Mr. Vega’s caliber to be an influence in the lives of our children. I can think of no one who better deserves to receive this honor. God bless you, Mr. Vega, and a personal thank you for the role model you have been for my son.

Amber Rutter Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is a truly self-less teacher. From his warm, welcoming smile & comments to students going above and beyond to help a former student! Watson B. Duncan Middle School is better for having him!

Shannon Posted over a year ago

This man is a hero!! Definitely deserves recognition

Jairo Leiva Posted over a year ago

what a great person and teacher a good example for all of us God bless u two

Liz Van Auken Posted over a year ago

The world truly needs more people like you!! You're an absolute inspiration, and I wish you only the very best!!

Marsha Ewing Posted over a year ago

Julio’s gift of his kidney touched Bobby’s life. His act touched my heart. God bless you for being such a blessing.

Sophie Nguyen Posted over a year ago

I’m truly so lucky to have Mr. Vega as my teacher! He has the most amazing heart in the world! He’s so kind hearted, and the best role model! Love you Mr.Vega (I’m awesome because I have you)

Mark Haley Posted over a year ago

I first met Julio Vega many years ago back when I was on tour with the Kinks in the USA. Julio has gone onto change many lives for the better not only as an outstanding teacher but as an outstanding person as well. Recently a student at his school required a kidney transplant. Even though Bobby Seelman wasn't a student in his class Julio agreed to donate one of his kidney immediately when it was discovered he was a suitable match. The good news is, after several weeks recuperating, the transplant is deemed to be a success. Proud to know you Julio.

Jan carey Posted over a year ago

What a wonderful person!!!

Donna Posted over a year ago

I know your sister and I envy your parents who obviously did a wonderful job in raising such caring adults in a difficult world. I thank God for people of your caliber and use you as an example for my grandson.

Pete Curcio Posted over a year ago

Julio is my brother-in-law, and I feel blessed to be a part of his life. I have been amazed at how Julio has handled any adversity in his life and how he somehow always seems to find a way to look past his own wants or needs in favor of making someone else’s day a little better. He was destined to be an educator and I’m glad he found his calling and has been able to impact the lives of so many young children. I wish I had more teachers like Julio when I was in school. His selfless act of donating a vital organ to a boy that he really did not know is just a glimpse into the caring and dynamic person that he is. There are very few people that I can honestly say that I admire and strive to be more like, but Julio is one of those people. Not a lot of people can say they have found their calling in life, but I believe Julie truly has. I joke around with my wife and call him Saint Julio from time to time, but after seeing him perform one selfless act after another, and how he genuinely treats others with such care and respect (especially his students), I can’t help but believe he might in fact be a Saint after all. I think the “Life Changer of the Year” award winner should be clear, Julio is your man! Get to know him and you will see him just as I and so many others do.

Karen Sanders Posted over a year ago

Julio is an example of selfless Christian love and his students are all better for having known him.

Ashley Carroll Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is what every man and every educator should strive to be. He is very dedicated to his school and those students in it. You can always find Mr. Vega cheering his students on at a baseball game and encouraging them in the classroom. He is always smiling and the kids light up when they see him. In this ever changing and challenging world we are living in now a days, it is encouraging to see such a kind hearted soul like Mr. Vega. He is truly showing our next generation what a real man looks and acts like. Thank you for all you do Mr. Vega!!

Heather Mastropieri Posted over a year ago

Amazing and Inspiring! This is the type of action that helps restore my faith in humanity! Thank You :)

Carissa Gonzalez Posted over a year ago

Julio is amazing! A mutual friend of ours introduced us when I announced my kidney donation coming up. He made me so much more confident in the process and reminded me why I was doing it. He is the perfect picture of grace and selflessness. He is an incredible person who is more than deserving of this award. I am honored to know him. ??

Michelle Reynolds Posted over a year ago

This story is the true definition of a selfless act. We need more people like Julio in this world!!??

Julio and Vilma Vega Posted over a year ago

Julio is a great son! He is a very happy man who is always ready to help those in need. As a teenager, he finished his Eagle Scout, and was a Best Buddy in college. He is a wonderful father of two beautiful girls--one who is in 8th grade and another who is a Sophomore in college. He is a great brother, uncle, friend, and an overall good man. He was an athlete--wrestling, track and field, soccer, and more. He was a strong student and is always a hard worker in everything he does. Our son has has always been respectful and polite. He always went with us to Lions Club and Knights of Columbus events. He was an altar boy when he was a child, and helped care for children of racetrack workers as a teenager. Everyone who meets him sees an inner joy that is not seen in everyone. He has collected baseball cards since he was a little boy and is an avid Cubs fan. We love to think about all the ways we are proud of him and funny memories we have of him growing up. All of his life, he has been focused on others. It doesn't surprise us that he is up for this award. He is very deserving of it. We are very proud of him and love him a lot. We hope he gets this award. It would mean so much to him and his family who loves him.

Laura Kenter Posted over a year ago

I don’t know Julio, but I know his sisters. It’s obvious he is just like them. Always looking for ways to spread joy, healing and light. We need more people like him, especially as teachers!

Kathy Hanahan Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega's selflessness and concern for others is a welcome respite from the all of the negative news we are bombarded with everyday. His dedication and concern for his students, and especially his amazing gift to Bobby, are to be admired.

Patricia Kirkpatrick Posted over a year ago

What a wonderful giving man,Julio Vega is. May he blessed for doing this great sacrifice of his own body to help Bobby live.

Sally Hoelterhoff Posted over a year ago

What an amazing man and self-less act! Such an inspiration!

Tricia Rowe Posted over a year ago

Julio not only saved Bobby's life but he saved Bobby's family too. They have been through so much heartbreak that they really needed this miracle. Thank you Julio for being their Miracle!

Todd Watson Posted over a year ago

I have known and worked with Mr. Vega for many years at Duncan Middle School. He is an outstanding teacher. The students love his science class as he brings a lot of energy and excitement to the classroom!! Mr. Vega also works with our students in the First Priority Club. He spends a lot of extra time both before, during and after school working with students on learning, leadership, self esteem and many other social issues. Mr. Vega also takes time to attend many of the Duncan Middle Sporting events after school. Also he attends the dances, theater events, and club activities at Duncan Middle as well. Mr. Vega is also involved in the activities and events his daughter attends. He also takes an active role at Christ Fellowship. The number of lives he has changed is no doubt equal to the number of the stars in the sky. In my opinion this makes Mr. Vega an excellent choice for this Life Changer Award!!

Angela DeStefano Posted over a year ago

I am not surprised at all that Julio is nominated for this award. He is a wonderful man of God. My family has volunteered with him at church and he was my son's group leader for a while. He is always thinking of others, and this is no exception.

Hunter Crompton Posted over a year ago

Teachers are people who shape the minds of people forever. Everyone has had one before entering whatever career they choose. The fact that he would go so far for a student is something that is just so special to see. Teachers give enough as is but the fact that he gave his kidney shows his dedication! Please honor him with this award! It is well deserved!

Haylee Gero Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is the most selfless person you will ever meet. Every week he comes in to church with a huge smile ready to pray or just talk with you or even play four square with you. He makes everyone feel loved and welcomed no matter how well he knows you! If anyone deserves this award it is Mr. Vega. I’m so proud to know him!

Larry Wrye Posted over a year ago

I am in a men’s ministry group called the MOTH (Men of the Hourglass). Julio and I met there and I have had a short few months getting to know each other. After I witnessed what he had done I really knew God was working in him. He is a true Man of God that puts others needs before his own. He is the definition of Christlike. We could all learn something from him. I am very impressed that he is a Public School Teacher and has the opportunity to pour Gods love into the lives of so many impressionable kids. If anyone deserves to be noticed for this heroic action, it is Julio. I am sure that God has more in store for Julio in the future. He will be a Patriarch. We need more men like him.

Leilani Yan Posted over a year ago

Julio Vega is incredibly deserving of this recognition. Julio has made a positive impact in the lives of all around him, and he also seeks out those in need. He is genuine and caring, and an amazing father. His priorities are in the right place, and that inspires many who have been blessed to know him.

Midge Posted over a year ago

I wasn’t surprised to hear Julio was donating a kidney because he is always willing to go above and beyond for his students. He is an amazing human being.

Sarah Hall Posted over a year ago

Mr.Vega is a teacher the students love because he cares about them on a personal level and the teachers love him because he is always there with support and encouragement when anyone needs help. As a Science teacher he makes his class very interactive and is also on campus as the leader of First Priority Club. His faith drives his life. Students know he cares for them and will help them out however he can. He has made a difference in many children's lives.

Marijo Dulay Posted over a year ago

Though I am not close to Julio as his students and colleagues, my friend's FB posts about him, and his recent kidney donation are inspiring! Then reading everyone's comments below are uplifting/moving. His 2018 life-giving adventures, seem definitely deserving of this life changer award of the year.

Kristin Day Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega has a wonderful rapport with all of his students. He cares not only about the grades they make in his class, but their overall well-being. My son also says, “Mr. Vega truly deserves this award and he has awesome hair!”

Jackie lambert Posted over a year ago

Julio is an amazing father and teacher. Even though Julio is a family friend technically, the way he treats us is like his own family. He’s an amazing, kind, and loving person.

David Picchietti Posted over a year ago

As a fellow teacher I have seen Julio demonstrate great concern for being the best teacher he can be. Julio and I have discussed the teaching strategies and philosophies that will best serve the educational needs of our students. Julio doesn't just talk about teaching theories; he puts them to practice. He consistently makes learning engaging and relevant to his students. For Juio education happens in and out of the classroom. He routinely teaches science outside, giving the students hands-on science experiments on the kinetic energy of bowling balls, the chemical reaction and energy of rockets, and the law of inertia using an egg drop. Besides being an awesome science teacher, Julio also teachers a leadership class, helping students to grow as mature citizens through teamwork and to develop their leadership skills. Julio truly cares about his students as whole people. Furthermore, Julio is a fellow teacher who contributes to the professional development of his colleagues. He readily shares resources, teaching methods and strategies to help his fellow teachers learn, and Julio is always seeking new things he can learn as well. Our profession is fortunate to have Julio Vega as a model member, and I believe he is worthy of being recognized for this honor.

Katie Andrews Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega does so much for the church, community outreach and his students! I wonder how he has the time to do all that he does. Maybe the clock just stops for him momentarily to allow him to do all the wonderful things he does. A heart worth it’s weight in gold.

Seth Ray Posted over a year ago

Julio is a second mile friend. He loves and leads like no other and is faithful no matter what.

Monica Menezes Posted over a year ago

Mr Vega is a true life changer!! He cares about others in big situations, like donating a Kidney to a former student, or in not so big situations, like cheering for his student on a soccer game as he did for our son, when he still recovering from a kidney donation surgery. His attention to his students in class and out of class is for itself a life changing. He knows how to guide these kids and he is a role model for them. We thank God for having Mr Vega as a teacher, example and friend of our son and ours. He is a Hero for us.

Michelle Robinson Posted over a year ago

Mr.Vega is such a great human being. He has impacted my daughter in such a positive way . What a great person that puts everyone first . He really cares about his students and supports each and everyone of them .

Sarah Smith Posted over a year ago

This man is the real deal. His life is an amazing example to so many. He is a true inspiration.

Marissa Kunda Posted over a year ago

Julio is an amazing dad to my best friend Isabella and a friend to all of her friends too!! he is such a caring and giving person and always thinks about others before himself. There is no one more deserving than him!!

Vicki Febres Cordero Posted over a year ago

I have known julio for the better part of 25 years. He was a great and caring person back then and he continues to live by example to others. Great caring and compassionate about his fellow man. He inspires ppl to want to be better human beings. When I saw pics of him in the hospital on fb I thought “oh no, what happened”? He’s a hot young man, then I read that he was donating a kidney and I was blown Suzy but I could see him doing something like that. I strongly believe Mr Julio Vega deserves this award.

Jorge Valle Posted over a year ago

He is an amazing human being! He gave a kidney to a student, he put shoes into a homeless person, he spoke words of encouragement into people’s lives, he cares about others, etc...those are just single actions out of his big heart. His love and passion for students and people is something to be admired and to be copied. He is doing a huge impact not only in students but in everyone around him. It’s a blessing to know him and to have him around.

Laura Smith Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is an incredible human being. He acts by putting others first and by giving constant encouragement and uplifting messages. He values each and every student at school and at church. He takes the time to truly get to know people and brings their value to the front. I am so grateful that my children have all been impacted by his selfless generosity and kindness. I am also very grateful that I have had the opportunity to know him as well. I’ve seen him in action with his positive greetings and genuine comments on asking children about how they are doing and supporting them in all of their activities by showing up and cheering and inquiring about how they are. The students know that if it’s something that matters to them it matters to him. I have seen the students and staff all send outpouring messages of love and support- they care so much about him because he cares for them. Words cannot express enough how amazing of a person Julio is.

Patricia Jones Posted over a year ago

There are many reasons Julio deserves The Life Changer of the Year award here some testaments to his outstanding character: Julio has been a pillar in our christian youth group because he shines from the inside and those around him grow as a result. He has a generous, compassionate spirit - he’s always the first to reach out to help others in need - as a result of his humble spirit.

Irene Parker Posted over a year ago

Julio loves his job and it shows.

Marsha Matthews Posted over a year ago

Life changer for sure. I mean come on he gave a kidney to save a former students life, it doesn’t get more life changing than that.

April Posted over a year ago

I’m so proud of Julio for who he has become in Christ. It’s so awesome to see what the Lord has done in His life. Can’t wait to see what else the Lord has planned for Julio’s Life.

Kimberly Griesemer Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is such an inspiration. He is so caring towards all of his student's well being and genuinely stands beside them to help them grow and learn. He takes the time to really get to know his student's and to learn things about them. My son just loves to be in his class and everyday he comes home and tells me about the things he has learned or how much fun he has had in Mr. Vega's class. He is such an amazing person!!!

Megan LaVogue Posted over a year ago

It speaks to the incredible teacher that Julio is that not everyone is mentioning the fact that Julio donated his kidney to a student. Julio went through this grueling process because he is the kind of teacher and person that puts others’ happiness and wellbeing first. Donating a kidney is just one reason why Julio should win the Lifechanger of the Year award. When an exchange teacher came from China, Julio was one of the first to welcome him to the country. Transition to a vastly different culture can be scary, but when you have a new friend to help you through, scary changes to exciting and powerful. They shared best teaching practices from their cultures and remain connected long after the teacher returned to China. I have the privilege of knowing Julio from when he was a PTO parent in our local elementary school. He attended every event, volunteering his time and talents to ensuring our school had the resources to help every student succeed. I currently follow Julio on Twitter to be inspired by his dynamic hands-on science activities. His students learn rigorous standards not through boring lectures, but by doing, interacting, and experiencing science. Julio is THE Lifechanger of the Year.

Lisa Small Posted over a year ago

Teachers play such a vital role in our children’s lives. That is why I feel so fortunate that my daughter had the privilege to learn from one of the very best. Mr. Vega is one remarkable young man. His passion for teaching only begins in the classroom and doesn’t end just because the school year does. Mr. Vega makes a positive difference in the lives of everyone he comes across. When I hear my daughter and her friends talk about the teachers at school the one thing they all agree on is their appreciation for Mr. Vega. My Vega gives his all everyday and we are so lucky to have him in our lives. There is no one more deserving of this award.

Alyssa Giarrusso Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega deserves this award! I am in his science class, and every day he greets anyone that walks into his classroom with a high five and a smile. Mr. Vega is always standing outside his class,smiling and talking to students. When I pass his class to go to a different class he always says, “ Hey Alyssa! Can’t wait to see you next period!”, This always makes me smile no matter what. Once the bell rings, Mr. Vega walks into the classroom and says, “Good afternoon!” And the rest of the class says back, “Good afternoon Mr. Vega!” He takes the time to tell us how much he loves and cares for all of us. Mr. Vega goes to school and outside of school events to cheer students on. He is not just a teacher, but a role model to everyone he meets. I really hope Mr. Vega gets this award, but even if he doesn’t he already has it in my mind.

Eric Posted over a year ago

Julio is an incredible individual who has donated a kidney to a young man who he did not know. He willingly accepted the lifestyle change that accompanies an organ donation. His courageous donation was a selfless act of humanity that will forever change the lives of many individuals and more impactfully affect his organ donation’s recipient. Julio is an inspirational individual who I have known for over 15 years. I greatly admire what he has done for this young man with the donation of his kidney. Julio has always been a kind and generous person. He is proud to be a teacher and enjoys sharing his love of science with his students. He adores his two daughters and delights in talking about them. He is an excellent candidate for this award, but win or lose, he is an inspiration to all.

Maria White Posted over a year ago

Julio is an amazing person. I have known him for over 15 years and he is one of the kindest people I know. He is a caring father to his two girls. He is hardworking and goes out of his way to help everyone. He deserves this award.

Yassine Family Posted over a year ago

Julio is truly an example and an inspiration to all who cross his path. His kindness and generosity has touched so many lives, and we are positive that he will continue to do so in the future. We are truly blessed that one of our sons have received him as a science teacher. He always speaks of how interactive and fun the class is. If anyone is truly deserving of this award, it’s Mr. Julio Vega!

Noelle Watt Posted over a year ago

The moment I met Mr Vega. I immediately felt his kind energy. I kiddingly told my son I wanted to be friends with him. He seems to genuinely care about these children as humans, not just a job. He is my son’s favorite teacher. We appreciate all he does for his students.

Lisa Brezak Posted over a year ago

Outstanding person & teacher. Keep up the outstanding work!

Krista Nasse Posted over a year ago

Thank you for everything you do??

Alexis Cinotti Posted over a year ago

Go Julio!! That was an amazing thing to do!

Ann Wark Posted over a year ago

Julio lives his life changing others for the better! He doesn’t just say the words, he puts action behind each and every one of them. He’s an excellent teacher and role model for everyone he meets. Well deserving of this award!

Soria Talbot Posted over a year ago

Julio leads by example and inspires his students to become everything God made them to be. He is a living example of servant leadership. Bobby received a kidney from Julio, which is just a smidgen of a picture of the many many lives that Julio touches day in and day out with his compassion, his care, his kindness, his joy, and his love.

Kevin Martínez Posted over a year ago

A school teacher donated his own kindey to a student, wow, that’s an amazing act of kindness, selfless, gracefulness that I don’t think nobody has ever done this type of act in history. Julio Vega it’s great brother in our lord and savior Jesus Christ

Georgene Brown Posted over a year ago

Truly one of the nicest people you will ever meet! Julio has a heart of gold and a faithful servant to the lord. He is a blessing to many.

Todd LaVogue Posted over a year ago

Julio is the teacher every student should have. He has a selfless, kids first philosophy in the classroom and out. He is at every after school activity that his students participate in. He has really engaging, hands-on activities in the classroom. He is the total teacher package and deserving of every accolade that comes his way. He has and will continue to change lives.

Lauren Posted over a year ago

In case you haven’t been able to tell by now, Mr. Vega is EXTRAORDINARY. The respect, dedication, kindness, and commitment he has as an educator and a person go far beyond what is expected of a person. He is seriously a one of a kind individual who deserves the world for giving it to everyone else.

Addison Small Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had! He always explained what we learned in class and supports everything his students do. He has a big impact on every one of his students, especially me. He really cares about making a difference. I’ll always remember his class (it was one of my favorites)!

Kelly Barber Posted over a year ago

Met Julio in the spring of 2018 when he was the group leader for my daughter and the other 6th graders heading to serve in the Belle Glade community over the summer. We got to see firsthand how impactful he was with the students guiding them and being an example of selfless love for others. Since the time in Belle Glade we have had the pleasure of getting to know him even more and he not only talks the talk but walks the walk. You can see in all he does he truly is changing the lives of those around him, kids and adults everywhere in our community.

Mollie Lazo Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega has been a very great influence in my son’s love for science and in education in general. He still is appraised by my son to this day, mostly because of his enthusiasm for his students to do their best even outside of his classroom. To this day, I still recall his drive and determination to motivate students (as per described from my son), even if it’s as small as a brief greeting when a student walks by his classroom or as meaningful as an enjoyable conversation about a student’s day. A great thing everyone loves about him is he willingly shows up to his students events, whether it be sports, or of the arts, and he even went as far as watching my son’s second degree black belt testing, four years after having him as a teacher. He radiates the positivity I strive to emit, and is a really faith-driven, and compassionate man inside and out of the classroom.

Vicente Marquez Posted over a year ago

I have known Julio for many years. One of the many things I have learned about Julio is that he always puts others ahead of himself. He is a very wonderful human being who is very deserving of this award.

Leanne Johnson Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is by far the most caring, supportive teacher my girls have had! He is a true inspiration to all that know him and what an awsome example he sets for our children!

Nancy Smith Posted over a year ago

What a gift Julio is to everyone! Several of my grandchildren have been blessed to have him as a teacher, so I’ve heard their love of him for years. I’ve personally gotten to know him as well, and can’t say enough what an incredible person he is in all ways! So happy he has been nominated. Truly deserving!!

Steve Scalici Posted over a year ago

Julio is one of the best men I know. He loves his wife, his children, and his students. He is so selfless he donated his kidney to a former student. Who does that? Oh yeah, Julio Vega does.

Katelyn Smith Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is one of if not the best teacher that I’ve ever known. He loves each of his students and is always very cheerful when welcoming people in the halls with high fives before class and smiling all the time. I am so grateful for him because he is also the teacher sponsor for the club that me and my brother started at Duncan taking time out of his Thursday mornings to come and help First Priority club. He is the most generous person I know and is more than worthy of his nomination thank you for being such a fantastic teacher Mr. Vega!!!!

Drew Mydock Posted over a year ago

Julio.One of the most authentic servant leaders that I know. He has pioneered an inspirational path for several generations and is one of a kind. Thanks for leading a charge.

James Davisson Posted over a year ago

Julio is one of the most intentional people I have ever met. The way he loves people truly inspires me. He goes above & beyond for all of his students each and every day. Mr. Vega truly changes the lives of his students and every person he comes into contact with!

Weitz Family Posted over a year ago

We were truly blessed that our daughter and son had Mr. Vega as a teacher. My daughter had Mr. Vega for science and she loved how interactive the class was. My son had Mr. Vega for Leadership and was able to use the tools he learned when he became patrol leader in Boy Scouts. Mr. Vega is one of those teachers that goes above and beyond for every student and parents really appreciate him. I know he will be the teacher my kids tell there kids about.

Quintanilla Family Posted over a year ago

We are so blessed to have Mr. Vega as our daughters and sons 6th grade science teacher. Mr. Vega has a true passion for teaching and his students. Mr. Vega builds his students up and teaching them good character. He is dedicated to each student and uses multiply modalities to reach each students' learning style.

Xia Zhi Posted over a year ago

I am pretty honored to work with Mr. Vega in Watson B. Duncan Middle school during the 2015-2016 school year. In his mind are always God, students, his family, his buddies and all the people in need. He takes in all the nice things and transform them into his big smiles at the world and care for others. Although busy every day, he used to create chances for us to talk when I felt upset in trouble. He told me to be strong and devoted. "God please use me, however you want to use me". Every time I share his words with my students and my colleagues in China, they all feel incredible and thumb up for his selfless donation. I was impressed by his great energy on work and passion for life. Never does he try to change other people. However, a lot of people have been changed in a positive way thanks to him.Sincerely wish Mr. Vega good health and blessed all the time!

Madison Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is a light in many peoples lives. His spirit and outgoing personality are hard to come by these days. Working for Mr. Vega as a substitute teacher was an amazing experience for me because I got to see how he ran his classroom and all the students he got to influence. Each day I was there, the students were curious about how he was after his surgery and when he was coming back because they missed him so much. It proved to me that Mr. Vega really does touch every single persons life. His heart is so pure and he is a great role model to each student/person that he comes across.

Sullivan Family Posted over a year ago

One AMAZING human being! This award should be NAMED after him!! The Julio Vega Life Changer of the Year Award ????

sophia demario Posted over a year ago

mr vega has been my group leader on a mission trip for 2 years in a row he has influenced my life in so many positive ways. one specific example is when we were in belle glade and we were passing out food and water to the people in need when we saw this man sitting in a folding chair on the sid of the road. he started talking to us and he said his name was patrick, he basically lived in this chair, and everything he owned was in the small backpack in his lap. it was heart breaking . mr vega noticed that patrick was wearing these flip flops that were practically falling apart. he didn’t even think about it he just automatically offered the sneakers that he was wearing to patrick. patrick was hesitant at first but then mr vega reasurred patrick that it was ok to take them. as soon as patrick put in the sneakers on he had a huge smile on his face and started tapping his feet. this just really put life into perspective and made me realize that by doing the littlest thing you make someone so happy. mr. vega also really cares about each individual person and finds time to talk to them if they need it. he has been so positive through anything and everything no matter what happens you always see a smile on his face.

Nile M. Khanfar Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is a rare person to find! He is like a family member. He taught and mentored one of my sons four years ago and currently teaches my youngest sons. Both of my sons admire and look up to him. His dedication to the profession, students and the community is exemplary and he deserves recognition to encourage people to follow his steps. We need more people like him.......

Brenda Jaramillo Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is a true inspiration. He has taught 2 of my children and makes it clear that he is not only concerned about grades but about the whole child. He takes time to attend sports events or other activities that his students are involved in. He is the kind of teacher and person you feel blessed to have met.

Kyle Gero Posted over a year ago

Julio Vega is a life changer!!! He lives his life to serve others.... Putting others first, even those he does not know. I can think of no one better than Julio to represent the Life Changer of the Year Award. There is honestly not enough time or words to express what Julio means to those he has come in contact with. He is a blessings beyond words......

Maryse Joly-Touron Posted over a year ago

***Mr. Vega*** He's a gem. Humble, Caring, Respectful, Inspiring, Life Changer... He's one of a kind and treats students that way everyday. He teaches with such ability and commitment, he's dedicated not only in class but before/after school as well. And if you happen to see him at a soccer field or in a parking lot he takes time to chat and makes sure to sincerely ask how everyone is doing. He really cares about people. He sets up such a wonderful example. What a great leader for our kids... and a phenomenal/inspiring human being. I don't know if any award is big enough to recognize someone as remarkable as him. Everyone should have a Mr. Vega in their life.

Zobeida Olivera Posted over a year ago

Julio is a great example to follow. I served by his side during the summer in Belle Glade and he always did everything with a great attitude and love for the students and the community. I remember seeing him take off his shoes to give them to a guy that was barefoot. Julio also changes the life of many students every Wednesday when he serves the students, including my kids, at Christ Fellowship. And a few month ago Julio did an act of compassion when he donated a kidney to a student. The life of this kid and many others that have been touched by Julio will never be the same. Julio is a great example of love, compassion, and hard work. I’m so blessed to know him.

Emma Stacy Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is one person I will never forget. I will never forget his kindness and his love for teaching, he has taught some very important things for my life, like his saying "if it matters to you, it matters to me." Is one thing I will never forget. Along with all of our projects and labs, those were so much fun! I loved his class in sixth grade and I still continue to visit his class before first hour almost everyday, I'm going to miss him so much when I go off to high school. Thank you so much Mr. Vega for everything!

Jazmina Posted over a year ago

Julio is a great example for young kids as a teacher and as a youth leader at church and the community. I can see his dedication and love when he serve others. He is a great example for us as a family and as leaders. We are so blessed to know Julio and to have him as part of our lives.

Dina Stacy Posted over a year ago

You can not say enough about mr vega he is amazing , what a inspiration to my grand daughter . There is no one I know who could even come close to him or the type of person he is . We are all blessed to have him in our school , and our lives . Thank god for him .??

Susan MacFarquhar Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega was the shining light in my son's first year of middle school. He really takes the time to get to know his kids and what motivates them. He's always positive with the parents and doesn't let the political grind get him down. I've told all of the students I know who leave our elementary school to make sure they get Mr. Vega as a teacher. He truly changes the way students look at school, science, and learning. I couldn't think of a more deserving teacher than Mr. Vega!!

Jen Walker Posted over a year ago

Julio, you touch so many lives in your years now as a teacher, in the community, at church and now offering continued life through your kidney donation to a very lucky and blessed young man! I don’t know a soul out there that is more of an inspiration than you!!! We are all blessed to have you in our lives and in our children’s lives!

Patricia Simpson Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega makes a difference in children's lives every day. My son had the privilege of having him as his Science teacher in 6th grade. His learning style is engaging, relevant, informational and fun. My son looked forward to Mr. Vega's classes every day and he was key in his success. He truly cares about the kids, not just the grades or schooling, but the person. He sparked my son to be a better student and person. My son is now in 8th grade and still looks forward to seeing Mr. Vega every day. Mr. Vega is a stellar teacher, mentor and person and I will be forever grateful for him. He's one in a million!

Sean Bohne Posted over a year ago

Julio is very inspirational for everyone on our campus. The students love his class and work hard daily. He works with his co-workers diligently and takes time out to help everyone. He is a great leader, mentor, and friend. I've worked with him for roughly 8 years and have enjoyed his friendship every minute. He truly is one of a kind.

Derik Hudak Posted over a year ago

Julio has made a great impact since being at Duncan Middle School. He is constantly engaging students in the hallway and has built positive relationships with his students. If you have ever worked with Julio you know he is a very selfless person and always takes time to get to know everyone he works with. It is a pleasure to know and work with him!

Joshua Wade Posted over a year ago

Julio is more than a game changing teacher, he is the kind of leader and man that our young students should aspire to be. Knowing that he is in the classroom every day, living out his calling, is a reminder that there is hope for our future. Julio leads with a servant's heart, both in and out of the classroom. He is selfless, giving, and a true advocate for his students. I am lucky to enough to know Julio both personally and professionally, and he is most certainly a life changer! Julio is a true blessing!

Jaclyn Posted over a year ago

Julio is an inspiration to his students and the staff at our school. I have worked with Mr. Vega for the past five years and have always looked to him for advice and motivation. His positive relationships with everyone that he encounters is contagious. Julio is a life changer in many ways and deserves this award.

Doug Posted over a year ago

Julio Vega is an invaluable teacher at our school. He has a great repoir with his students, and really all the students at our school. He is always there to support student activities such as sports teams, band and chorus performances, and our theatre productions. And the fact that he donated his kidney to a former student is incredible. He is worthy of all the praise and recognition coming to him!!

Abriel Arnel Posted over a year ago

Julio is an incredible leader for our middle & high school students in our youth group! Julio is a great example to students, leaders, and staff by how he humbly serves others & puts them first. He always goes out of his way to reach others and meet their needs, even to the point of donating his kidney to someone. I am blessed to know Julio and have him in my life because he has made on impact on so many, including my life personally!

Christopher Bauer Posted over a year ago

Many of the comments supporting Julio Vega as a nominee for the Life Change of the Year have focused on his impact from the perspective of an educator, colleague, volunteer, friend, mentor, student, leader, father and as a loving sibling. When there is no doubt that Julio has had such a deep impact on a variety of people at all levels of academia and within all levels of his life, there is no doubt that with or without the nomination, Julio Vega is a life changer. For anyone who does not know Julio personally or who has the daunting task of comparing his lifelong dedication with those of his fellow Nominee's, has a very difficult decision. One can never truly gauge or experience the depth of the contributions Julio has made to his community, his students, his friends, his co-workers, his faith, his children and his family... even after reviewing the glowing comments written here. You have to KNOW Julio. His impact is (and has been) unparalleled. He has had a positive long-term impact on every single person he has come into contact with, including me. My personal perspective has come from a lifelong association with Julio, through the up's and downs, ebbs, and flows and the triumphs and tragedies. I have had the distinct pleasure of being able to call Julio a friend since the first grade. After attending High School together and over the subsequent adult years of life, I have also had the honor of getting to know the Vega family. For the greater part of my entire life, I have never felt more accepted, cared for and loved by any family outside of my own. It is because of what I have experienced, Julio graciously accepted my families invitation to be the Godfather to my daughter. I have constantly marveled at his continuous contributions to everyone and everything he engages in. He exemplifies the qualities that most could only strive to emulate. He lives by example, he loves unconditionally, he instructs students as the future leaders they are and he makes the world better... he makes all of us better... simply by knowing him and being a part of HIS life. For these reasons, and many more, Julio Vega is not only just a nominee, but will no doubt be this years recipient of the Life Chager of the Year award.

Gary Bass Posted over a year ago

I've know Juilo for a few years now and he is as real as a person can get. He is always thinking of others sacrificing his needs for others. Its evident with his latest act of kindness with donating a kidney to a child in need. Julio serves as a lifestyle, pouring not only into his students in school but also the church. He walks the talk and is an inspiration to so many. I'm grateful to have Julio as a friend and would consider him a brother. You can always count on him being there for you however he can, physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

Halley Kunda Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is one of the most down to earth and caring people I know. He always has a positive attitude and lights up the room. His outlook on life is amazing and he truly makes a huge impact on everyone he meets. He truly deserves this nomination and to win this award.

Aubrie Parker Posted over a year ago

Julio’s daughter is one of my very best friends. I hold their family close to my heart. Julio has always been a person who I knew would be there for me, no matter the circumstances. He was there to encourage me during my running and still continues to today! He has helped me develop a stronger relationship with God and a love for life. Watching him give his kidney, to a student in need was amazing but did not come to my surprise. For as long as I have know him, he has been selfless and caring for all! There is no one like him! He gives the world and deserves it back! Thank you for being you Mr. Vega!

Lauren Schulker Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is kind and caring in all aspects of his life and goes well out of his way to help those around him! His positive attitude reflects on his students and family and makes a difference everywhere! He deserves this award!

Davina Delgado Posted over a year ago

Julio is the most generous kind hearted person i have ever met. I’m so blessed to have him and his family in my life. Anyone that knows Julio knows the extent of him kindness.

Alex Dinnocenzo Posted over a year ago

I’ve known Mr Vega for a long time, and ever since I’ve met him, he’s always been an influential person. He’s very passionate about anything that he puts his mind to. Mr Vega defintely sees the good in everything, and deserves this because he’s an incredible man who cares about others, and does great things to Change the world in a better place.

Angela Clarity Posted over a year ago

What can you say about a person who comes into your life at the exact moment of need and offers to save your sons life with one of his kidneys? An angel? A Godsend? A Life Changer!! That is exactly what Julio did for my son. We had never met, my son had attended Duncan Middle School and simply because my son is a kind, caring person he made such an impression on the staff at Duncan that when a local news program ran a segment we had taped on the need for a kidney transplant and how much longer we would have to wait because Bobby was O+ a teacher went to get tested. She was not a match but put out an email that Julio saw and that moment he decided to get tested. Julio was a perfect match and he spent all summer getting tested, praying for my family (although we had not yet met),and making lesson plans for his class for the substitute teacher while he rested following surgery. We met Julio in his beautiful classroom one week before the surgery. We had no words because thank you does not cover the gift he was giving our family. Julio is a very kind, caring man, we felt like we had been friends forever after just meeting. He is so proud of his students both in his sixth grade Science class and his Leadership class that he teaches. He also makes it a point to tell his class they are important to him and he backs that up by attending their extra curricular activities when he can. One week after surgery he attended a baseball game at school where the boys won and gave the credit to him. He is such a positive example of just the sort of Life Changers we need teaching our young people. He is smart,kind, caring, an excellent person who truly loves what he does and truly loves his students. He teaches sixth grade on purpose so he can follow his students throughout middle school and be there for them at any time during the school day. In my humble opinion Julio Vega is the Life Changer of the Year!!! He has changed the life of my family and my son, with the totally unexpected and humbling gift that will keep my son alive he has shown by his actions to his students, to his school, to our community how much of a difference one person can make. He lives by the motto, It is truly better to give than to receive, but in this case he deserves to receive this award.

Mary Jane DeShon Posted over a year ago

I am Julio's first grade teacher! Even at this tender age he was a sweet, caring, respectful student who always had a smile on his face. I am so proud of him and that I had the honor of teaching him in his formative years. Good job Julio!

Addison Johnson Posted over a year ago

Mr.Vega is an amazing person. When i met him I was in 4th grade . Mr.Vega taught both my two older sisters . When they were in his class they used to come home everyday with a funny story about him.And now i have the pleasure of being in his class this year. And now i come home everyday with funny story's also. Sometimes I am in his class and he will call me one of the names of my older sisters names . Mr. Vega in am outstanding person and I think he deserves this award.

Omar Gaballa Posted over a year ago

Mr.Vega is my Teen leadership class teacher and he is so far my favorite teacher of mine in my whole life. He has taught like he wants teach the whole world . He is one of the few teachers that have showed that he really loves us young kids . One way he shows it is by giving us a handshake before we go in the class . He gives us eye contact and we give him eye contact everyday. When In say this but he is the only teacher who has showed that he really liked us . Duncan Middle School and all of the children there are all proud to have him. He is really loved by all of the school that everyone wanted to either have him as their science teacher or their teen leadership class .

Ava Posted over a year ago

Mr.Vega is a great teacher.He makes sure that he gives the pleasure of teaching his class the fun way to learn.Mr.Vega is amazing teacher even when he is hurting he makes sure his students still feel love he shows support even when he doesn't have to like he goes to students events that are not apart of school,some teachers don't even give the time to do anything Mr.Vega does.I have Mr.Vega for science and leadership and it's my joy of the day.

Magnus Griesemer Posted over a year ago

Mr.Vega is one of the most humble person I have ever met in my school career. Since I walked into his classroom I felt loved like I was apart of his family. I have been in his class for almost 2 months now and this has been the best 2 months that I have had during my middle school career. I have walked into his class more than 100 times and he never has a frown on his face. He always has a big smile on his face which makes everyone in his class have a big smile. Sincerely, Magnus Griesemer.

Lily Clark Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is one of the most amazing human being ever to walk the face of Earth!! He is currently my Teen Leadership teacher but also my idol! I look up to Mr. Vega because of his faith, his relationship with basically everyone at school,and most importantly his kindness! Mr. Vega just recently donated his kidney to a former student at Watson B Duncan Middle School. Everyday when we arrive at class he greets each and everyone with a handshake and a positive thing about them. For example when I walk in everyday he shakes my hand and tells me how happy he is to see me!! Julio Vega deserves this award more than anyone!!

acaria higgins Posted over a year ago

Mr.Vega is awesome he has impacted me is so many ways.for instance he made this speech and he said that what what ever is important. I am also apart of First Priority because he takes his faith very seriously he has literally made me a better person in less than a month i've learned that you have to care about other people you can't just not care.I love how follow his saying a student just like me was dealing with kidney failure and you know what he did his gave away a piece of himself dear acaria

Tasnia Mahmud Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is one of the best teacher I ever had. He is very nice to all of as. I am very glad to have him as a Teen Leadership teacher. He never got mad at anyone in class, also he is positive all the time. I am so lucky to have a teacher like Mr. Vega. Mr.Vega is a great person.

Donald Burney Posted over a year ago

Mr.Vega is a very good teacher and I feel that he really deserved that reward. He benefits my education by adding what matters and what he believes we should know in our lives.I really enjoy his class.(He is my favorite class.) What I personally like about him is his thinking and how he shares it. I learn new things everyday from his class and I'm happy that I do. I use the knowledge he shares with the class and I. Great job, Donald Burney

Matthew Day Posted over a year ago

Julio Vega is a great teacher! As you might know by reading some of the comments, he teaches science. The science class is great! Julio Vega makes sure we are happy every day! Not the way you think however... When we enter the room he will always try and shake our hands. Julio Vega always asks us in the afternoon how we are doing. He is a great teacher! Julio Vega understand us better then we could ever understand us. All of us treat each other with as equals and we treat him the same way as he treats us!

Spencer Posted over a year ago

My teacher Mr. Vega is an amazing person you can probably tell by the other comments. He is a science teacher at Watson B. Duncan Middle School. He is very appreciative of others and will help other people or students whenever he can. Every time you walk into his class he shakes your hand. He is also always positive.

villads gudbrand Posted over a year ago

Julio Vega is the nicest teacher ever. He will help you if you are sad, mad, and even depressed. He's always there for you, he treats everyone equally. Over all he's a really good teacher. He could never ever think of saying bad stuff to someone. He's full of positivity, he can really make someone happy with a smile, look, and even a hand shake. When you see him he's so happy to see his students. You just get a really good feeling inside and that feeling is enjoyment, happy, and like welcome. He's the best teacher ever. If you had him you would understand how welcoming he is. HE'S A GREAT TEACHER.

Ryan Posted over a year ago

Mr. vega is my science and team leadership teacher. He is always welcoming me. He always has a smile on and is always tries to keep his class happy. He cares about his students very much and never lets them down. He is always caring to the whole class, and I'm very grateful to have him as my teacher.

Pim Yamsiriwong Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is the best teacher in the world. He would always come into the classroom with a happy mood and i would always feel welcome. Mr. Vega cares for everyone. He makes everyone feel like they are welcome. He donated his kidney to a former student and i think that he is such a great influence. I really love him and whoever has Mr. Vega as a teacher. I don't know what i would do without him. My sister had Mr. Vega as a teacher and she loved Mr. Vega. I probably love Mr. Vega more than she does. I really appreciate Mr. Vega and he is a amazing teacher. He makes me smile every time I enter his classroom. He treats everyone with respect and I just love that about Mr. Vega. He is a amazing leader. Mr. Vega encourage my sister and I to follow what we think is right. Mr. Vega made me achieve my goals.

Ashley Dieujuste Posted over a year ago

Mr.vega is an awesome teacher. He is the first teacher that i ever meet that greets his students everyday. He also calls us his family! He influences kids to always be happy and have a great mind set. He didn't donate his kidney for the fame, he did it because he cared about the child.

Abdul-Aziz Khanfar Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is without a doubt the most deserving person for this award. My parents knew him for several years before and you could already tell he was a great teacher and overall person. This year I was fortunate enough to be added in his teen-leadership class. He made me feel very welcome and happy to be in his class since day 1 and when I heard about his kidney donation, I knew he was 100% committed to it. He treats us like we are his own children and everyone in this classroom has utmost for him. I believe Mr. Vega deserves this award more than anyone.

Ashley Van Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is my teacher and he is a amazing teacher! He's always greeting us to the class and were called a family! i really love this class i'm always glad to be in this class! To describe how he is he is very respectful and kind & supports us no matter what! I'll always support him! Even though we are not a full year class, im always happy no matter what!

Bob Miller Posted over a year ago

Julio was respectful of others and family members when I first met him as a 7th grader. He continues to care for everyone around him. Supporting his students inside and outside of the classroom, sharing his faith with those around him, and giving a part of himself to help a former student shows that he has not changed his values. Those students who have him as a teacher are fortunate to have a teacher who loves his profession and displays it on a daily basis.

Tracy Slatoff Posted over a year ago

I have known Julio Vega for approximately eight years. He and I both made the choice to go back to school to become teachers so that we could fufil our goals of helping others. In every aspect of his life, Julio hit that target. As a teacher, parent, friend and community member he is always looking to do better, be better and give more. He makes an impact in a positive way and everyone he meets. No one is more deserving of this award.

Rob Potempa Posted over a year ago

I’ve known Julio back while we were in diapers together and neighbors. Growing up with Julio, I always knew he would grow up and do great things! It did not surprise me at all when I heard he was giving up a kidney for a former student at his school! Since I can remember, Julio has always gone above and beyond for his family, friends and strangers alike! I’m extremely proud to call Julio a friend forever and always! Besides changing the life of one person, being an educator, Julio has had the great opportunity to touch the lives of many other young students he teaches. Keep up doing God’s work my brother!!

Kristine Hedke Posted over a year ago

While I don't know Julio personally I did go to school with his sister. The fact that this man put his life on the line for one of his students is absolutely selfless and amazing! He definitely deserves this award!

Julie Vega-Curcio Posted over a year ago

My brother, Julio Vega, is an amazing, selfless person full of love for others that he is a constant reminder that people can be good. His energy is infectious and his capacity for kindness is boundless. He impresses me every day with all the things he does from the many organizations he volunteers with, the countless people he helps, all the selfless acts of kindness he does, and the amazing teacher he is. Julio makes me a better person because he has such a good heart. He does so much for others without even thinking twice. Most recently he donated a kidney to a former student of the school, but was never his student. I’m proud to call him my brother and my friend.

Brandi Hendrix Posted over a year ago

I know of Julio through his sister, Sandra. Julio can only be described as a hero & clearly impacted & changed the lives of so many with his selfless organ donation! An inspiration and example for us all!

The Thibault Family Posted over a year ago

Words cannot describe how beautiful this man is! He taught our daughter 6th grade science and has become a part of our family ever since. Chloe has Down Syndrome and Julio made it a point to not only get her interested in science but also make her feel included in the school and community. Then in 7th and 8th grade, even though he did not have her in his class, he sang with Chloe every morning before school started, as this is her favorite thing to do. Julio has supported Chloe and all children and adults with Down Syndrome by walking along side Chloe and her team at the annual Gold Coast Down Syndrome Buddy Walk for the past

Jen Posted over a year ago

Julio lives the Gospel of Jesus... "To love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." Julio's life is an inspiration and I can think of no one more deserving of the LifeChanger of the Year Award!

MAUREEN BARBER Posted over a year ago

Julio Vega is truly ONE OF A KIND. I am writing this having met Mr. Vega only 5 times in 5 years. He attends an annual event that I participate in every October. The event is The Buddy Walk which is a walk / fundraiser for Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization. My Chloe, who calls me Auntie Maureen, has Down Syndrome. She was in Mr. Vega's science class in the 6th grade. She is now in the 11th grade. Mr. Vega comes to the walk EVERY YEAR to support Chloe and her cause. She lights up when she see's him as do any and all of his students. I am told that Mr. Vega makes an effort to support each and every one of his students by attending whatever after school activity they participate in. This is a very special man who not only teaches his students in class but shows his love and support by supporting them outside of the class room as well. COMPLETELY UNRELATED..... A dear friend of mine of 20+ years has a "special needs son" whose kidneys are failing. He is on dialysis 15 hours a day, 6 days a week for the past two years. The local news did a story on him and reported of his need for an ANGEL DONOR. His blood type is rare and they need an exact match. Hi mother calls me, elated, "they have a match and we have a date"! This is all taking place in Miami at Jackson Memorial Hospital. She asked, what can we do for the donor? How do you thank someone for saving your child's life? She believed that the donor would remain anonymous. Fast forward...I am away on vacation and I see a Facebook post of a news story of Bobby meeting his ANGEL DONOR and I can't believe my eyes! I immediately recognize our ANGEL DONOR from the BUDDY WALK, Its Mr. Vega! A former teacher of Bobby's who saw the news story reached out to all the teachers at the school. Julio Vega said he felt called to do this so on his summer break he made multiple trips to Miami (not an easy run) and underwent multiple tests/scans/x-rays etc. to determine that he was an EXACT match. On September 10th Julio Vega selflessly donated his left kidney (which Bobby now affectionately refers to as "Lefty") to this young man to save his life. So, here is a man that has now personally touched my life in two profound ways and until now I only have seen him once a year. Julio is not only an ANGEL DONOR but he is a true ANGEL! A devout man of GOD, a volunteer at his Church and and inspiration to each and every one of his students! Since the surgery I have gotten to know Julio Vega and his sister Sandra via our FACEBOOK chats, surgery updates, etc. From an outsiders perspective who has been "touched by this ANGEL" in two extraordinary ways I believe Mr. Julio Vega is not only The LIFECHANGER of the YEAR but a true LIFESAVER as well. I believe he changes lives forever..... not only by way of donating his kidney to Bobby but also by how important he makes his students feel by attending events such as The BUDDY WALK 5 years after this student (Chloe) left his class!

Jen Kothe Posted over a year ago

Jim and I are lucky to know Julio Vega and have been blessed by his kindness over the years. Last year before Hurricane Matthew I had a possible last-minute emergency and he was more than willing and enthusiastic to be able to help if needed, while juggling the needs of many others! He leads by example and we have been inspired by him SO many times over the years. Donating his kidney brought him into a limelight that he has never sought - but now that it's out there, if you know him and have been blessed by him, please help him get Lifechanger of the Year #LCOY ??

Joanne Meyerhoff Posted over a year ago

Julio Vega is a shining example of how a teacher can change the life of a student. He comes from a family of caring people and he has set the bar very high for the test of us. His unselfish gift of his kidney is amazing. I wish that every student could be able to see the wonderful example of unselfishness.

David Tenan Posted over a year ago

Great person!

Ms Tanya Posted over a year ago

Your the best. May God continue to bless your life ??

Katie Posted over a year ago

He is a great guy. With a big heart.

Kevin Posted over a year ago

He is amazing person by actions. Donating a body part for a students. That’s is something unheard in u.s. history!

Tanya Mendoza Posted over a year ago

Julio definitely deserves this award. He has gone above and beyond to touch the lives of many!

Julie Jenkins Posted over a year ago

ADDITIONALLY! Julio is a leader of the middle school boys at our church and he cares for those boys like none other! As an example, hile Julio was recovering from his kidney removal, he wrote a letter to my son telling him how special HE is!

Patty Maine Posted over a year ago

Julio is an amazing person with a heart of goal.

Isabella Vega Posted over a year ago

Each and every day I get to follow the amazing example my dad sets for me. His students always come up to me whether I’m at the mall, at work, or really anywhere and tell me how much they love my dad and live being in his class. He is a blessing to everyone.

Sandra Vega-Picchietti Posted over a year ago

Julio has always had a servant’s heart, even from a very young age. I’m so very proud of him. I’ve witnessed firsthand the love he gives to all around him. His students excel because they know he cares about them. I have written down some of the great things he’s done. Here is my write up: My brother is a HERO to many, and a hero to one special family. On September 10, my selfless, servant-hearted, humble, loving, inspirational, and faithful brother donated one of his kidneys to a former student of Duncan Middle School, the school at which my brother teaches Science. His teaching motto is "If it's important to you, it's important to me." If you speak to anyone about him--students, teachers, parents, administrators, his children, neighbors, family, etc.--you will only find grateful people who love him and are not surprised by this latest act of kindness. He has touched so many lives. At school, he welcomes each student into his class, spends his lunch periods playing basketball or eating with at-risk students, teaches a leadership class and supervises a Christian club, called Priority. He spends quality time with students outside of class, attending several events that his students participate in, and takes time to know their parents. He is a mentor and an example for every child he meets. My brother has always been grateful and was deeply impacted by the generosity and dedication his grade-school teacher, Mr. Bob Miller, had on him as a teen. Mr. Miller went out of his way to make sure my brother would graduate from his grade school, even after we moved far away. My brother has said, "I want to give my students a Bob Miller story." He has been nominated twice for Teacher of the Year. He was offered a much bigger classroom with lots of storage, but he declined (even though he could have definitely used it) because it would be farther away from the main area and he wanted to be accessible to his students. He knows students often want time to talk to him during their lunch or Julio's free period. Julio gets very little money for teaching supplies and, as a science teacher, that doesn’t go far. Therefore, he buys his classroom supplies on a limited income. Parents are forever grateful that their children had Julio as a teacher. Also, · He volunteers at & supports the Special Olympics every year. · Even to the last minute, he helps his neighbors prepare their homes for active hurricanes. · He volunteers as a leader in the children’s ministry at his church, & mentors the children in his free time. · He gave clothing he was wearing to a child in need when he was in his 20s, gave the gym shoes he was wearing to a homeless man last year, and often feeds the homeless people in his community. · Every year, he goes on a 1-2 week mission trip w/middle & high school students to the poverty & violence-stricken city of Belle Glade. He co-leads and sets an example for students to help the community and to give to others. · He is kind and encouraging to everyone, giving props to other deserving people. · He is a role model to his children, and a strong loving father. · AND he is the best brother/son his sisters/parents could ask for! He inspires me to be a better me! There is so much more I could say, but these are the first to come to mind.

Vicki Febres-Cordero Posted over a year ago

I've known Julio the early 1990's. We went to school at st Thomas university. I knew he was a good friend and a decent human being even back then, I joined an organization called best buddies because of Julio. When I saw pics in fb of julio in the hospital, I naturally thought he posssible had an accident, but then when I learned it was because he donated a kidney! Wow what an incredible, kind, selfless human being. Julio you are incredible .

Lisa Sullivan Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega makes Science fun for his students with hands on projects . He is not only his students’ teacher but he is also their biggest sports fan. He comes to many baseball games to watch his students play baseball and cheer them on. Having their teacher there means a lot to his students . Mr. Vega recently donated his kidney to a prior student. This was a huge sacrifice he made for a student. Mr. Vega is a very caring, dedicated teacher . Mr. Vega an inspiration to all of us!

Erin Keane Posted over a year ago

Julio is very deserving of this award because he is selfless to others! He is a wonderful role model and a generous person!

Stacy Taylor Posted over a year ago

Mr Vega is an impressive teacher. He remains our daughter’s favorite teacher. Not only did she enjoy all of the classroom experiments, she formed a bond with Mr.Vega that expanded past the classroom into community events as we saw him around town. He is selfless and a great example to our children as a community leader and mentor. My children love hearing about all of his good deeds. Our school and town are lucky to have Mr. Vega.

Julie Trujillo Posted over a year ago

In a dark world, it is always refreshing to come across someone who, because they possess it, shares light with others. Julio genuinely cares about people and is a natural encourager. As his colleague, I can say that he was there for me, carrying his light, on some pretty rough first-year-teaching-days. I am not surprised by his recent selfless act, for Julio truly lives his faith. He is very deserving of the Lifechanger of the Year award; he changed Bobby's life, but he's changes many others' lives, too.

Martha Griffith Posted over a year ago

Julio Vega is the teacher we all strive to be like. He's kind, caring, empathetic, FUN, and truly invested in his students' lives - academically and also their all around well being. His students trust him and respect him. So do his peers, by the way, and community. He's a great mentor and collaborator. He always finds ways to build people up; he's always positive. He's a cheerleader for all and always an ear when you need one. He is a man of great faith and I admire him for that. Most recently he gave the ultimate gift, his kidney to a former student of our school. Who does that? Not most people. The gift of life. He is a true life changer and very deserving of this prestigious award.

Miguel Elias Posted over a year ago

Brother, I am so proud of you. You are a true example of servant of Christ.

Matt Banaszynsk Posted over a year ago

It is difficult to find the right words to describe someone like Julio. Extraordinary is an understatement. He is one of the most selfless people that I have ever had the privilege of working with. He not only exemplifies what an amazing teacher is, but he is what other teachers strive to be like. I’ve watched his journey from a distance and I can still hear him telling people that he’s not doing anything that anyone else would do, which just isn’t true. When he gives himself to his students, he truly gives himself to his students.

Sharon Leon Posted over a year ago

Mr.Vega is undoubtedly a teacher who goes above and beyond. Apart from commanding the utmost respect from both his colleagues and students, he recently donated a kidney to a former student at Duncan Middle School, in need of that life-saving act. This is a most giving and remarkable thing any human being can do for another.

Pamela Posted over a year ago

Julio is one of the most caring persons I have ever met. He treats all of his students as if they were his own children. He is the best.

Jamie Moyeno Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is a very gracious person. We first met when I walked onto campus as a new teacher and I found a new friend. He welcomed me on board with copy paper and kind words of encouragement. He is such a wonderful person and I am so proud to be on staff with Mr. Vega.

Claudia Sever Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega has a very generous heart. He pretends like he is not doing anything extraordinary, but the truth is that he is saving a kids' life and touching the hearts and souls of his family and friends and the whole community.

Midge Posted over a year ago

Not only is Julio Vega a fantastic teacher he always goes above and beyond for his students. His donation of a kidney to a student he never knew is no surprise to me. He surely is one of the best human beings I've had the privilege of knowing.

Patricia McClung Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is an inspiration to all who have the pleasure of knowing him! He is an amazing man with a servants heart! I am blessed to work with him and call him a friend.

Andrew Kornfeld Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega has always been an inspirational teacher and leader at our school but now he has taken it a step further. Many, many people talk it but Julio is one of the very few who walk it. He has done something extraordinary in donating a kidney to a former student who was in a life or death situation. Talk about 'life changing'. Had he not done so he might still have qualified for this reward because of his selfless, charitable and determined effort to impact students' lives in a positive way but this miracle of medicine and faith sets him apart.

Shelly d Moore Posted over a year ago

Such an Amazing teacher and person! We are so fortunate to have him at WBDMS!!

Casey Runner Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is one AMAZING man! The support he has for our students goes way beyond the classroom. As the girls’ basketball coach, he has attended countless basketball games to support our students; traveling to Wellington, Boca Raton, and many other schools after a long day in school, just to be there for our students. However, it's not just basketball it is ALL of our school's sports that run all year long. You can also find him on the football field on Saturday's supporting our students that play Pop Warner Football for the Jupiter Mustangs and Palm Beach Gardens Gators. Having a son that plays in the league and often seeing him and many of our students at the fields, it never fails I see a student that says "Mrs. Runner, did you see Mr. Vega here too?" There is always so much excitement in their voice that he is there watching them. Mr. Vega has a quote after his signature on his email, “If it’s important to you, it’s important to me.” Without a doubt he lives by this quote and strives to be a life changer to all students he comes into contact with!

Victoria Truman Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega leads by example, showing fellow teachers (like me) how making lasting connections with students is SO beneficial... not just academically, but also personally. His caring and concern come across to his students (current, former, and just 'hallway' students) and they feel almost a part of his family. What an impact on a child's life - having someone outside their family (someone who doesn't 'have to') actually caring about them as individuals.

Susan Green Posted over a year ago

Julio Vega has demonstrated to all of us the importance of getting to know our students and have a connection with them before learning can even take place. He cheers them on, whether it be in their sport or activity, or any other successes they have. He makes each student feel like they count. He also makes science fun, and I hear about his inspiring activities from my own students. He is truly an inspiration to his students and colleagues alike.

Carrie Barresi Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is just flat out an amazing human being. Around campus, he is always so positive and giving. I know him as a colleague and as a parent of a child who went through middle school here at Duncan. He never taught my daughter but still managed to influence her by his caring attitude towards all students, not just ones in his classes. Now he has truly given part of himself to save someone else. What he has done is courageous, selfless and extraordinary. He didn't donate his kidney to his child or another family member - he donated his kidney to student. Julio - you are an exemplary human being if everyone could be just a bit more like you - our world's problems would cease to exists.

Yamile Coughlin Posted over a year ago

Mr Vega is not only an amazing teacher but one of the most altruistic persons I have ever met. His heart is committed to his profession as he molds the minds of young science learners AND he has now undergone surgery to save the life of a young man. Up until recently Mr Vega had not met Robert but destiny brought them together and this will hopefully be the beginning of a lifelong friendship. Thank you Mr Vega!

Nicole Childs Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is always going out of his way to greet students and make them feel welcome. He genuinely cares about them and their lives outside of school! I know that he changes the lives of everyone he touches on campus everyday. It is a pleasure to be on the same team as Mr. Vega!

Eileen Chatfield Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is an outstanding educator. He takes the time to get to know his own students, and our special needs students too. While SM is not one of his students, he enjoys greeting Mr. Vega daily. Mr. Vega has given up his planning time to eat lunch with this student. Also, when I put a call out that one of our former special needs student needed a kidney transplant, he was quick to answer the call and get tested, even though he never met this student. Yesterday, Mr. Vega donated that kidney, and is giving that student a chance for a real life away from the dialysis machines. He truly exemplifies a teacher that gives his all, and makes big changes in the lives of our students at Duncan Middle.

Miss. Wallace Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is a stand-up guy! I’ve worked with him for the past three years. He pours his heart and soul into his students every day. This heroic act is a testament to his dedication to making a difference in the lives of young people. We're proud to call him a Panther!

Kim Kinggard Posted over a year ago

Mr Vega is an exceptional colleague. He is always willing to go above and beyond for everyone he comes in contact with. He has a positive attitude that is contagious. Our school is blessed to have him as a part of the family.

Mary Raiford Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is a life changer in so many ways. I have had the pleasure of observing his instruction and interactions with his students. He is a teacher that sets high standards while making the learning interesting and motivating for his students. He also values and supports all students as well as his colleagues. He is truly a difference maker with a heart for serving others. When he's not teaching, you will find him supporting his students through his first priority club and attending sporting events to cheer on the students and show support. The selfless act of donating his kidney was not surprising knowing the love he demonstrates everyday. He is a true hero in more ways than one.

kelly Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega's passion toward his work as a middle school teacher is apparent every day. Just watch his smiling face as he greets and interacts with his students. . He clearly embraces the middle school concept of teaching to the entire student as a well-rounded human being, and not just toward the student that is the "test taker". He is an inspiration to us all.

Michelle McConahay Posted over a year ago

I have never met a more dedicated educator. Mr. Vega is at almost every after school event from sports, to plays, to band to choral events. His commitment in making students feel honored and valued during the school day and on his own time is like none I have ever seen. He is a true inspiration.

kathleen thomas Posted over a year ago

You will never find a more solid, loving and kind human being. Deserves this award times ten.

Silvia Montenegro Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is an outstanding role model in and out of the classroom. He has a heart for children in general, but he takes extra great care of children who need a little more: foster children, special needs children, behaviorally challenged children. He gives generously of his resources and his time whether he is at school, church or the community in general. On September 2018 he donated his kidney to a young man he had never met before, a former student of his school. He mentors 3 foster children in his community on a weekly basis. You can always find him in the school cafeteria eating lunch with the students who would otherwise sit alone. You can also find him at every game and event whether in school grounds or external activities his students participate in. He volunteers with the student ministry of his local church and also sponsors a First Priority Club at his school where he encourages and speaks life into the children. He has been a father to the fatherless, a light to the lost and a friend to all. His kindness, generosity and compassion have changed and will continue to change the lives of many.

Mr. D'Amico Posted over a year ago

Mr. Vega is one of the most selfless individuals that I have ever met. He makes a difference in every life that he crosses. At this very moment he just saved a life of a former Duncan student that he never even met. He is an amazing person and I am a better person because of knowing him!