LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Sara Dziedzic

Position: Social Studies Teacher / Department Chair, 9-12
School: The Woodstock Academy
School District: The Woodstock Academy
City, State: Woodstock, CT

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Sara Dziedzic was nominated by a colleague who wishes to remain anonymous.

Ms. Dziedzic’s commitment to her students, school community, and the society at large, goes beyond a typical classroom teacher. She has an outstanding record of enhancing student learning, both in and outside of the classroom. Her pedagogical expertise, in combination with her exceptional leadership and communication skills, are part of what makes her a LifeChanger in her community.

The instruction Ms. Dziedzic provides her students is always at the highest level of caliber and most aligned with current educational research. Her instruction is personalized to meet the needs of all her learners. The students are challenged with high expectations for communication in all levels. One area of expertise for Ms. Dziedzic is international studies -specifically, human rights topics. Around 60 students enroll in the International Relations classes each year, with 20 students receiving college credit at The University of Connecticut.

As a tangent to the course of study, students participate in the Model United Nations travel team. Interest in this club has grown tremendously under Ms. Dziedzic’s leadership; so much so that a novice club was created to accommodate the 45 underclassmen that plan to enroll in the International Relations classes as juniors and seniors. Interest in the classes comes from the preparation they provide students in areas of leadership, public speaking, and political savvy.

Each year, numerous students are individually recognized for their outstanding delegate performances at Model United Nations conferences throughout the east coast. The Woodstock Academy team has been bestowed the Best Delegation Award at the University of Delaware’s MUN conference for four years in a row. This year, they were also noted as Best Delegation at the Washington University’s Model UN Conference. In 2014, the school received an Outstanding Small School award at the MUN Nationals in New York. These accomplishments have helped Woodstock Academy's team qualify for national recognition – top 100 national programs, and top 6 program in the Northeast. In the evolution of the program, students planned and hosted The Woodstock Academy’s first Model UN convention in May of 2015, which has continued to be an efficacious local event. This success is directly attributed to Ms. Dziedzic’s classroom instruction, and her efforts to empower students, locally and globally.

Seven years ago, Ms. Dziedzic met with a dedicated group of students who wanted to change the world. One year later, the group of teens formed a non-profit organization called Family Related Effective Solutions for Humanity (FRESH). This student-run charity dedicated itself toward poverty relief and awareness in the “Quiet Corner” of Connecticut. Since the start of FRESH, Ms. Dziedzic has spent endless hours after school, on the weekends, over vacations, and throughout the summer helping students give back to their community. They raised over $60,000 and have made a substantial difference in the lives of many. They have created a mentoring program for students in the local middle schools, funded summer camperships for youth, conducted annual homeless awareness events, and have donated a majority of their time to giving back to their community.

Ms. Dziedzic has also created and organized The Woodstock Academy Gives Back days. At least once a year, the school community provides hundreds of community service hours to a local charity or non-profit group. Students have worked to clean up the local arboretum and supported holiday fundraisers. Most recently, Ms. Dziedzic and her students have started the Caring Continues program. In its inaugural year, Caring Continues provides food to 50 families in town, sending home a backpack of assorted staples each week with students enrolled at the elementary school. Their goal is to expand this service to others with food insecurity within the high school population and to the neighboring Town of Eastford.

"Ms. Dziedzic’s legacy stems from her commitment to teach students to metaphorically fish, not just to feed them," the nominator said. "Her commitment to live a benevolent and magnanimous life is astounding. Her dedication to cultivating a culture of altruism is what distinguishes her as an outstanding member of our community."

Ms. Dziedzic has made a positive impact on the lives of her students by helping them to become informed global citizens.

"Ms. Dziedzic’s dedication to cultivating a culture that not only seeks to understand the political and social world, but engage and promote global education, is what distinguishes her as an outstanding member of our educational community," the nominator said. "It is my hope that Ms. Dziedzic’s extraordinarily high moral standards, advocacy for social justice, and empowerment of students to take responsibility for improving the community at large, will be recognized through the LifeChanger of the Year Award."

Comments (56)

Bill Brower Posted over a year ago

Sara is truly amazing. She does all of the wonderful activities listed above and does them well but also finds time to recruit volunteers among students and faculty to help with the 100+ year old Palmer Arboretum in town. each fall and spring, these community minded volunteers help to clean up the park, plant new plants, stain fences and help in any way they can. A year ago, she brought 150 students and teachers to the park-it has never looked better! AND Sara is just no nonsense-"this is my job"or "this is a job I want to do" and sets an awesome example to her students about how to go after the good! Best wishes and much gratitude to you, Sara, for all you do. Bill.

Teresa Hanlon Posted over a year ago

I am thrilled that Sara has been nominated for the Life Changer of the Year Award, as I cannot imagine a more worthy recipient! My three children were lucky enough to have been in Sara's International Relations classes, where she opened their eyes to world affairs, reaching far beyond our "quiet corner" of CT. Sara's passion for teaching and demanding that they dig deep and rise to the challenge was intimidating in the beginning, but it soon became their inspiration. They participated in the Model UN Club, which required tons of additional work, but they did it willingly and won many awards. As demanding as Sara was, the kids love her because they knew she was demanding them to be the best that they can be because she cares for each and every one of them. The skills they learned in International Relations and Model UN are countless; researching, writing papers, collaborating, public speaking, problem solving, and trying to create a better world! I know in my heart that my kids have gone on to have excellent college experiences because they were well prepared, and Sara had a HUGE role in that. On a local level, the kids were involved in FRESH, the non-profit organization that Sara assisted the high school students with forming. Through FRESH the kids also acquired many skills, from tutoring and assisting with many fundraising events, to organizational and business skills, but mostly with realizing how fortunate they are and to always give back to their community. So, not only does Sara play a huge role in their development in the classroom, but she impacts the entire community. Sara is selfless, devoting untold hours, days, weekends etc to the all round development of the character of her students. She is literally available to her students 24 hours a day! When my kids are in town, they go visit Sara and her class, or meet her for coffee. I know that they are not the only ones, many of her past pupils do the same. They keep in touch with her all the time and know that she is interested in their lives. She has enriched their lives, and still does, and continues to do the same with her present students. Woodstock Academy, the Quiet Corner of CT, and the World are better places for having Sara Dziedzic in it, and I hope you see how worthy she is of this award.

Ciri Miller Posted over a year ago

Ms. Dziedzic is the teacher that no one wants to dissappoint. The way she holds herself and her hard-working personality inspires the same in her students. She has high expectations but that is only because she truly believes her students can reach them and wants to see them succeed. I have never had Ms. Dziedzic as a teacher but she is one of the advisors for the National Honor Society at our school and working with her through that has given me a lot of respect for her and everything she takes on successfully. Ms. Dziedzic has taught me to be confident and not afraid to take charge and lead. She has made me into a more organized and outgoing student leader. Ms. Dziedzic is no doubt a wonderful candidate to recieve this award.

Nathalie Bessette Posted over a year ago

No contest, Ms. Dziedzic is one of the best teachers I had at Woodstock Academy and one of the most influential people I’ve met in my life. I was not surprised to see she was nominated for Life Changer of The Year - it was only a matter of time. When I first met Ms. Dziedzic, I was intimidated by her no-nonsense attitude in the classroom and intense passion for what she taught. But I know now that this is because almost nobody cares as much about their students as she does. Ms. Dziedzic truly cares about making Woodstock Academy (and the world) a better place. How many students can say that their teacher helped them plan an international Model UN a conference hosted at the school while also serving as an advisor for three other clubs and a department chair? She has influenced so many students to follow in her footsteps and explore their interest in international relations and government in college, myself included. I was very involved in Model UN and IR for my junior and senior years of high school, and with Ms. Dziedzic as my teacher and mentor during this time, I learned invaluable life skills both in and out of the classroom, including negotiation, communication, organization, research, and how to be a more thoughtful, worldly, and aware person.

Lisa MacDonald Posted over a year ago

Awesome teacher. One that is definitely for the students and not herself.

Caitlyn Bavosi Posted over a year ago

The first teacher that comes to mind when this award is stated for me is undoubtedly Ms. Dziedzic. High school is a time of growth for students, and she has the ability to push her students to work to the best of their abilities and aim them down the correct path to achieve their goals. It would be an understatement for me to say that Ms. Dziedzic is just an amazing teacher, as she manages to help all students in their path towards the future in so many different ways. Working closely along Ms. Dziedzic in not only her classes, but the clubs she devotes her time to advising gives me the ability to proudly say that she has been one of the most, if not the most, positive influence in my life throughout high school. I am so thankful that I got to experience such an amazing, influential teacher in my time in high school, and for that, there is not a doubt in my mind that Ms. Dziedzic deserves this award.

Caitlyn Bavosi Posted over a year ago

The first teacher that comes to mind when this award is stated for me is undoubtedly Ms. Dziedzic. High school is a time of growth for students, and she has the ability to push her students to work to the best of their abilities and aim them down the correct path to achieve their goals. It would be an understatement for me to say that Ms. Dziedzic is just an amazing teacher, as she manages to help all students in their path towards the future in so many different ways. Working closely along Ms. Dziedzic in not only her classes, but the clubs she devotes her time to advising gives me the ability to proudly say that she has been one of the most, if not the most, positive influence in my life throughout high school. I am so thankful that I got to experience such an amazing, influential teacher in my time in high school, and for that, there is not a doubt in my mind that Ms. Dziedzic deserves this award.

Stephanie Posted over a year ago

As a former student of Woodstock Academy, I find the fact that I was in Ms. Dziedzic’s International Relations class an honor. I have found that her lessons in academics and life have influenced who I am today, and will continue to influence the woman I am becoming. It is because of Ms. Dziedzic that I have discovered a passion for learning, social justice and international politics, and she is the reason I have continued to study Human Rights in college. Ms. Dziedzic has a way of igniting a fire within all of her students and influencing the community she lives within, and I can only hope to change people’s lives the way she has when I am older.

Jack Kelley Posted over a year ago

Ms. Dziedzic is the teacher that myself and many other students can attribute many of their life lessons, skills and successes to. She has a knack for being able to recognize the potential of every student who steps into her classroom, no matter their level of experience. She pushes every student to their limit while providing what I find to still be some of the best guidance and leadership that I have had the pleasure of following to this day. She exemplifies only the best qualities to find in teachers in and out of the classroom with local and global experience and wisdom. She takes the utmost pride in her job and all can see this through the care she gives to each and every one of her classes and students every year. I still carry with me every skill and word of advice Ms. Dziedzic has given me in my activities today. If it weren't for her, I would still be the shy kid in the back of the classroom who was terrified to speak even a word. Ms. Dziedzic is undoubtedly a life changer.

Lisa Semancik Posted over a year ago

It's so fitting that Ms. Dziedzic was nominated for the "Life Changer of the Year" award. She has literally changed my 17 year old daughter's attitude toward her high school experience. Prior to taking Ms. Dziedzik's International Relations class, my daughter Lauren was a decent student and did what she needed to in order to maintain good grades. But over the course of this year, while taking IR, Lauren became such a dedicated student. She had a purpose. She became passionate about researching and learning new things about the world. She spent hours writing and re-writing her papers for this class. Ms. Dziedzik motivated Lauren in a way that she hadn't been motivated before. She has high expectations, but also supports students as they work hard to achieve. Lauren has learned so much about conflict around the world, but she has learned much more about herself- her values, how to conduct meaningful research, and that hard work is rewarded. Ms. Dziedzik has helped her be assertive and confidant. Once I had the opportunity to observe one of the IR classes. It was amazing! As an educator myself, I was absolutely amazed at the level of discussion taking place. Students spoke professionally and had amazing knowledge of the issues being discussed. I am so thrilled my daughter has had the opportunity to work with this inspiring teacher. It has truly shaped her experience at Woodstock Academy, and, I predict it will also shape her future education. Ms. Dziedzik is an asset to Woodstock Academy, and would be very deserving of this award.

Rachel Loos Posted over a year ago

Since graduating from WA in 2014, I have realized the value of the incredible education that Ms. Dziedzic afforded me. Sara Dziedzic, or “Dziedz” as we call her, was one of the most influential people in my high school career. When I met her on the first day of honors history my sophomore year, I found her, frankly, intimidating. She commanded the classroom with a no-nonsense attitude, and accepted only my best work, forcing me to challenge myself and grow as a writer, speaker, and community member. Over time, and through my participation in Model UN and the International Relations courses, we grew to be close friends. Midway through my junior year I was diagnosed with a mental health disorder that left me struggling with school. Sara Dziedzic represented me in my accommodations hearing, and offered me one-on-one support in IR class and on MUN trips. I was never very good at MUN, but Dziedz made me feel proud of my accomplishments and encouraged me to try my hardest. Without her support during a difficult time, and her continuous efforts to teach and inspire, I don’t think I would be where I am today: on the verge of graduating from Boston College. Sara Dziedzic is a wonderful teacher, mentor, and friend. I fully support her nomination for this award.

Julia Posted over a year ago

Sara was my history teacher during my freshman and sophomore year. Her comprehensive and creative approach to social studies engages students. She teaches students the complexities of each period of history while also developing students writing and public speaking skills. Sara sets high expectations for her students and they consistently rise to the challenge. Her students are known for being able to think quickly on their feet and to have excellent public speaking skills and comprehension of current affairs. Her love for and dedication to The Woodstock Academy and it's students is nearly unrivaled.

Taylor Phillips Posted over a year ago

I was honestly not the least bit surprised when I saw that Ms. Dziedzic was nominated for the life changer of the year award as she has inspired myself and so many others in so many different ways. Currently as a college student majoring in Law, I wouldn’t be in the current career field that I truly love if it hadn’t been for her strong and unbreakable dedication to her students and her ability to push us further to open our minds to the world of political science around the world. The manner in which she teaches makes learning about situations around the world enjoyable as well as rewarding as everyday she inspires us to understand that if we try hard enough we can make a difference, and we can make change happen. I feel confident that the life lessons and skills that Ms. Dziedzic has tought me have already been a huge benefit to myself in college and in my life and will continue to do so. All in all, Ms. Dziedzic is an outstanding person with a heart of gold and deserves to be recognized for all she has done not only for her many students but also for her work at The Woodstock Academy to make it a more loving and giving place.

Brendan Chapuis Posted over a year ago

Taking Ms. Dziedzic's classes and participating in her clubs and programs has truly been the highlight of my high school experience. Every year, she takes a group of random kids with only limited connections, and turns them into a family through the International Relations class. The relationships she builds with and among her students show that she is more than just a teacher: she is someone that students can turn to if they need help with anything. This is a characteristic that all teachers should aspire to embody. In addition, Ms. Dziedzic has helped make me who I am today. I first entered her class with a lack of self-confidence that prevented me from being able to clearly and concisely express my ideas on the spot. Now, after a year and a half of her guidance and support, I have developed a communications skill set that allows me to effectively get my point across, even when the stakes are high. Ms. Dziedzic not only helps students become more aware of, interested in, and concerned about what's going on in the world, but she crafts class after class of diplomats and leaders who will go on to actually do something about the problems and issues we learn about. Yes, not every one of her students will work in government or at the UN, but they will at least be equipped with the skills, world knowledge, and mentality to make a difference in whatever they do. Her passion and dedication to her seemingly endless responsibilities is truly inspiring, and we could all definitely learn something from this. Ms. Dziedzic does not get enough credit for the work she does both inside and out of the classroom. I am disappointed that I will not have the opportunity to take more classes with her, but I am thankful for the privilege to have been one of her students. I am thrilled that my brother will also be able to have her as a teacher and a mentor as he progresses through high school. Ms. Dziedzic has truly changed my life, and the lives of countless Woodstock Academy students, for the better.

Lex Posted over a year ago

The best teacher at a school full of exceptional ones. Sara Dziedzic inspires others and values the successes of her students and mentees more than anyone I have ever encountered. She is more than deserving of this honor.

DanMurphy Posted over a year ago

I have been blessed to have three children have Sara as a teacher and mentor! She is deeply invested in her students and the Model U.N. program. She is indeed a life changed and it is very appropriate that she has been nominated for this recognition!!! Outstanding person and mentor!!

Jared Posted over a year ago

My and my friends’ experience with Ms. Dziedzic has been nothing short of a blast. I’ve traveled on a handful of Model UN conferences with her, and been privileged to have taken two International Relations and a Human Rights class with her. I cannot lie when I say that I take genuine interest in the homework assigned to our class, and consistently find myself engaged in the day’s topic. For instance, I’ve studied genocide in Rwanda, the second Iraq War, the ongoing crisis in Syria, and drug abuse in the United States. These are all topics I cannot learn about in almost any other history course made available to students, and Ms. Dziedzic sets a high standard for teaching them. She is very well versed in her knowledge of what we study, and loves to see her students succeed. I cannot imagine my high school experience without her classes, let alone her advice and availability as an outlet. I’d argue she has been just as beneficial to my post-high school plans as my counselor has been. I know my experience of being a student under Ms. Dziedzic is far from unique; many of my friends have had Ms. Dziedzic assist them in many different things, from the college process to becoming a better student and many things in between. She has not only changed lives, but touched them, and enhanced them. She spends plenty of time at homeless shelters, volunteering at countless school events, and assists so many students in their quests to enhance their resumés. If Ms. Dziedzic doesn’t qualify as a life changer, I don’t know who else could.

Brain Zhu Posted over a year ago

Actually, when I first walked into Ms. Dziedzic's class, I had a feeling that she is not a normal teacher, she is something else. I don't know and don't care about how other students view her. For me, she is a tough teacher, but she cares about students, and she knows what they need to be taught. She has a broader view for students, she knows what students need to learn to fit in the society. I am just grateful to be in her class.

Makenzie Metivier Posted over a year ago

Every year I have ever been in school, I have had a new favorite teacher and a new favorite class. As soon as I started International Relations with Ms. Dziedzic this year, they immediately fulfilled those positions. Except, it went a lot further than that. Ms. Dziedzic isn't only an extremely intelligent and effective teacher, but she creates a family within her classes where each student feels free to participate and be themselves to the fullest extent. When you are in her class you never have to worry about sharing your opinion on even the most controversial topics because you know she and everyone will support you even if they disagree. IR has given me an in-school sense of family that I didn't have before and wouldn't trade for anything. Every day I come home with new stories to tell about how much fun I had in class no matter what the activity, and also with new knowledge and skills that I hope to take with me after highschool. I think I speak on behalf of all students who had the pleasure of having Ms. Dziedzic as a teacher when I say how truly thankful I am to have the opportunities she creates for us, her commitment to her classes, and the memories I have already made after only knowing her for less than a semester.

Jared Feragne Posted over a year ago

Ms. Dziedzic is by far the most dedicated educator I've had the privelege of learning from. Not only does she teach a subject essential for all people to be aware of as it impacts our everyday lives greatly, however she also persistently makes it her mission for all of her students to take away valuable information every class and continuously keeps all students included in conversation and belonging to a family-like community of students. Taking International Relations with Ms. Dziedzic was undoubtably the most important and wisest decision I have made in my high school career at Woodstock Academy.

Lauren McLoughlin Posted over a year ago

I am a parent of two of Ms. Dziedzic's students. I can tell you that the energy and enthusiasm Ms. Dziedzic has for her students is asoundingly remarkable, but you really have to see it to believe it. Here's a sample: Yesterday (a Saturday) Ms. Dziedzic spent the entire day at an out-of-state conference with a group of young students. This morning (a Sunday) Ms. Dziedzic met with another group students to prepare them for an upcoming trip to New York City. This Thursday, Ms. Dziedzic is taking those students to a Model UN conference at NYU where she will spend four days guiding and mentoring students through countless hours of debates, caucuses and resolutions. You may think this level of intensity is the exception and not the rule but you would be wrong, as Ms. Dziedzic regularly spends her "free time" helping her students in many different ways. I have no idea how she does it. What I do know is that my daughters are better students and better citizens for having spent time with Ms. Dziedzic. They are more engaged in current events and civic affairs, which has really livened up our dinner conversations. My daughters have learned how to take positions important global issues. They are able to research and debate their positions thoughtfully. As a result, my daughters have become more mature and confident students. What more could a parent ask for? We all have a tremendous amount of admiration and respect for Ms. Dziedzic. She deserves it. And she also deserves the Lifechanger of the Year Award for changing lives everyday in the classroom and in the community.

Lindsey Posted over a year ago

Ms. Dziedzic is one of the most dedicated teachers I have only met. Not only to her subject, but also her students. She pushes us everyday to accomplish what she knows we are capable of. She connects with her students on a personal level and will never hesistate to help ifyou ask her for it, no matter the circumstances. To me, she is one of my biggest role models. She works tirelessly to make her classes the best they can be and to make us, her students, the best we can be. I took my first class with her second half of my junior year and it completely changed who I wat to be. She made me realize my passion for human rights and IR, and for that I thank her. Ms. Dziedzic 100% deserves this award because she is one of the biggest life changers to me and to everyone she’s ever taught.

Nicholas Smith Posted over a year ago

I am not exaggerating when I say that Mrs. Dziedzic is my favorite teacher that I have ever had. I had the pleasure of not only being a student in her International Relations 1, International Relations 2, and Human Rights courses, but I have also travelled extensively with her both domestically to Model UN conferences across the country and internationally on a school trip to Germany. In her International Relations classes, she demonstrates just how versatile she can be, transitioning from a supportive and benevolent guide for young students venturing into the terrifying world of Model UN, to a stern teacher who knows exactly what each student can give and what the best of their abilities are, and demands nothing less. She has a real passion not only for politics, but also for human rights, which she showcases in her leadership of the FRESH (Family Related Effective Solutions for Humanity) program at our school, which she founded. Never one to be afraid to speak her mind, she offers witty and insightful commentary on everyday life, beyond her required duties as a teacher. Simply put, not only does she prepare you for her tests, she prepares you for life outside her classroom. She is Mr. Miyagi with a gavel. She is an indispensable addition to school life here at Woodstock Academy and our community will be missing someone great when she *eventually* retires to join the Peace Corps. However, I believe her contributions to our school will live on much longer than her physical presence at the Academy. I know her contributions to my life will last much longer than my physical presence in her classroom. I can think of no one better deserving of the title of "life changer"

Peter Spada Posted over a year ago

Though I haven't spent as much time with Ms. Dziedzic as others, She has already impacted my life in ways that no one else has been able too. I went from a C+ B- student to now having straight A's becuase of how much she has inspired me to strive for my goals and tought me skills that I never knew I had. Ms. Dziedzic has been able to help me overcome my self consciousness and my terrible public speech fright and she does this constantly with not only me but other people as well. With the help of Ms. Dziedzic I now have a better chance at getting into better colleges and steer my life in a direction I thought was out of my reach. Ms. Dziedzic has sparked my interest in not only International Relations and Model UN, but the world and my country as a whole. Ever since I have had her as a teacher I have felt more confident in everything I do becuase of what she has tought me and the skills she has tought me. Ms. Dziedzic doesn't just teach she is also involved in the community in the ways of many different clubs.

natalie low Posted over a year ago

Ms. Dziedzic is always there for her students no matter what. She cares about us outside of class and always asks us interesting questions about ourselves at the beginning of class. She has personally supported me in more ways than any other teacher has. I love going to her class every day.

Dalton Hawie Posted over a year ago

One of the most passionate teachers you will ever find. Involved in just about every aspect of the school, Ms. Ziedzic contributes a whole department's worth of value to our school. Every shy or nervous student who enters her class leaves as a confident and happy individual. She contributes to the idea that teachers can be secondary parents and in my observation, for whatever it is worth, has changed the lives of everyone she meets.

Scott Selmecki Posted over a year ago

Unlike many others in the previous comments, I hadn't had the privilege of taking a class with Ms. Dziedzic until now, and in that short amount of time, I have first hand been able to see how much she connects, changes, and inspires the people around her, including myself. She pushes everyone to be their best, guiding them along the way, taking away from her own time, so the students she has can get ahead. If anyone deserves this award, I believe it is Ms. Dziedzic.

Jessica Werstler Posted over a year ago

I am grateful for Sara Dziedzic every day. She inspires in my son a love for International Relations that I could not have predicted just 18 months ago. She has literally changed his life, and the lives of so many in the Woodstock Academy community. As a fellow educator, I often find myself in awe of her nearly round-the-clock dedication to her students, her student-centered lessons, and the real world applications behind them. Many of us in education talk about educating global citizens – Sara exemplifies this in all that she does. On a more personal level, when my son walks out the door in the morning, I know that beyond a shadow of a doubt, Sara has his back. And that is priceless.

Kathryn McLoughlin Posted over a year ago

If there is anyone that is deserving of this recognition, it is Ms. Dziedzic. As a senior in high school, I can firmly say that she is the teacher that has made the biggest impact on my life. As a shy sophomore who had just schools, public speaking was never something I enjoyed. After getting to know Ms. Dziedzic I enrolled in her Human Rights and International relations course. Today I can speak publicly without any of my prior insecurities and this is all thanks to Ms. Dziedzic. She is not only a fantastic teacher but also an incredible role model to her students and those around her. I can personally say that she installs confidence in students that they may have never known they had. Her passion for her students is evident in her vibrant energy she brings to class every day. Ms.Dziedzic has changed my life and I know she has down the same thing to many other students. She has inspired be to pursue a major in gender studies and human rights and I am so thankful I have Ms. Dziedzic as a teacher.

Kelsey Tyler Posted over a year ago

This award should be given to someone who has inspired and changed the lives of so many individuals, and I cannot think of a better person to give it to than Ms. Dziedzic. Although I have only known her for a short period of time, she has helped me in so many ways. The night before I have a paper due, and am last minute like usual, she is always willing to look it over and give me feed back - even when she is busy. She is constantly running around whether it is being in charge of the National Honors Society, clubs, the social studies department, etc. It is very rare to find a teacher who puts so much time and dedication towards their students. She gives students personal feedback of how they are doing, and constantly is giving suggestions. Her teaching techniques make me want to learn and have got me thinking through multiple perspectives. She looks out for all of her students and makes sure they succeed in their academic career. Not only is she a phenomenal teacher, but also a role model. I cannot think of someone who deserves this award as much as she does.

Riley McMahon Posted over a year ago

Through Mrs. Dziedzic, I personally have been able to fall in love with the world of academia. Until we met in my first IR class Junior year, I had been wasting my intellectual potential. Through her teachings I have unlocked newfound public speaking fluency and confidence as well as an ability to read, write, research, and participate like I have never before. This is a skill set that I have and will use for the remainder of my life and I am forever thankful for that. Besides that, what really makes her stand out is her ability to actually change lives. I have personally been subjected to this and I attest that she can do the same for whomever she comes across. She is awake at 3am when I need help on my papers, she's always one text away, and I know I can pretty much rely on her for anything, even outside of school. She is the first teacher to really take the time to see my potential and encourage me to build upon it. Because of her class I plan to major in International Relations. She is the most deserving candidate for this award.

Ciaran Wilcox Posted over a year ago

Miss Dziedz has been an extremely positive influence on my daughter. She has brought out my daughters interest in being informed of events and inter-workings of our government. As a parent I am thankful that a teacher is able to be an influence and a support system to the kids going through challenging issues.

Madi Wilcox Posted over a year ago

Ms. Dziedzic is an incredible teacher, and i have learned this in the short amount of time i have had her as a teacher. She not only makes what we are learning interesting and relevant, but she does it in a way that connects with us and makes it fun to come to her class. Every day i look forward to coming to IR and being immersed in class. If i feel that i did not do my best on something i know she will be available to give me feed back and constructive critisicm which will help me to improve on my mistakes. Ms. Dziedzic pushes us to be nothing but our best and holds us to a high standard that will continue to help us throughout not only the rest of our school careers but our lives. Dziedz is someone i can turn to if i have questions on an assignment or I’m stuck, and she answers within a minute. She is always open with her students and when i am in her class i not only feel like i am in a classroom but i feel like we are all just hanging out with Dziedz. I see no better nominee for this award than Ms. Dziedzic, as she puts all of her time and energy into her students through the multiple clubs she runs, trips she goes on with school, and her classes.

William H Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Dzeidzic or Dzeedz has always played a big part of my high school career for the past four years. I have been in 3 of her classes as well as one of the many clubs she runs and supervises when I was able to. Her class that has grown me as a person the most has to be IR or international relations which is a debate and opinion based class which has changed me for the better and helped me become a good public speaker. This class has shown me so much about both the world and myself and has been one of the highlights of my high school career

Erica Posted over a year ago

For starters, Ms. Dziedzic is the first person who showed me and inspired me to choose the path I want to take in life. Her dedication and passion for what she teaches has encouraged so many students to enter into the field of international relations. Not only is she inspiring in the subject she teaches, but she makes each and every student feel powerfull enough to change the world. Every day she reminds her students how important they are to the world and how crucial it is that we stand up for what we believe in. She is involved and in charge of more clubs and organizations than any other person could even be capable of. Whether it’s in the local food pantry or in the classroom, Ms. Dziedzic makes every person she meets feel strong and appreciated. If it wasn’t for her, Woodstock Academy wouldn’t be the same and neither would its students. Ms. Dziedzic certainly is deserving of Life Changer of the Year because helping people every day is what she loves and what she does best.

Lauren Semancik Posted over a year ago

For me, a good teacher is someone who makes me interested in the subject and want to learn as much as I can. In the short time I have known Ms. Dziedzic, she has not only met this standard, but exceeded it immensely. Ms. Dziedzic does not only focus on the teaching aspect, but also focuses on connecting with her students. I have never met a teacher that has such strong relationships with her students. Having good relationships with her students shows she has taken the time to get to know each and everyone of us, and truly cares about our well-being both in and outside of the classroom. Ms. Dziedzic has dedicated countless hours and lots of effort into her teaching and being a role model for the students at Woodstock Academy. She is the advisor of many clubs such as NHS and FRESH. Every day after school she always has something going on, whether it is talking to other teachers or advising a club. However, she still encourages us everyday to stay after with her if we need help. In the beginning of the year I needed help and although she had some where to be she still made time to meet with me. Teachers like Dzieds, who are have sacrificed so much to be a good role model and are extremely passionate, are rare. I will forver be greatful for being lucky enough to get the chance to have Ms. Dzidzic as a teacher. Ms. Dziedzic has changed so many lives, including mine. This award should go to someone who inspires others everyday, and I could not think of a more deserving person than Ms. Dziedzic.

Ethan Posted over a year ago

I'm a sure all the nominees deserve this award. But Ms. Dziedz IS this award. She represents everything that a teacher should strive to be everyday. She inspired my passion for International Relations and public speaking and her constant positivity is as refreshing as it is constructive. Nobody I have met in all my life is more is more deserving of this honor than Sara Dziedzic.

Amy Favreau Posted over a year ago

This woman is a daily inspiration! She is a dedicated teacher and touches the lives of all who meet her. This honor is well deserved!

Maggie Posted over a year ago

Ms. Dziedzic is one of the biggest role models in my life. She has sure changed my life and I know so many others. She sets high standards for her students, but nothing she knows we cannot achieve and every student in her class, wants to make her proud. Her class is one that I am never disappointed to go to, each day she makes students want to learn and be informed about the world around us. She has one of the kindest hearts, you will ever meet. As a student who also does Model United Nations with her, I know I would not love it nearly as much as I do if she were not in charge of it. Her enthusiasm and motivation encourages students to work harder. MUN is known for being male dominated, but speaking as a female student, she leads us with a strength that I hope I have an ounce of. Ms. Dziedzic is absolutely deserving of Life Changer of the Year, but truly her work will influence students and the community for a lifetime.

Simon Posted over a year ago

Ms. Dziedzic has made such a positive impact on my life and how i interpret the world around me. I’ve had five classes throughout my academic career with her and in every single one she has put in 110% percent to ensure that me and my fellow classmates had a firm grasp on not only the concepts of the course but also their implementation into our every day lives. It is with great confidence that I can say Dziedz puts her heart body and soul into her work and is the most dedicated person i have encountered in my many years in school. Not only does she run FRESH, MUN, the social studies, and NHS she Also travels around the country with the mun team she is working for her masters and still manages time to teach. The sheer sacrifice that she endures and radiant love of teaching is ever present if you have the chance to see her teach. She’s is more to than simply a teacher to her students. Dziedz is a role model, a councilor, and a friend. She goes above and Beyond what is expected and is dedicated to changing the world one student at a time. She’s touched many people’s lives and has influenced people to go out and change the world in whatever way possible. For these multitude of reasons i believe that undoubtably Ms. Dziedzic deserves life changer of the year.

Elizabeth Posted over a year ago

Ms. Dziedzic has been one of the most supportive, motivational, and hardworking people I have ever met. She is dedicated to helping us and making sure that we truly push ourselves. Her classes truly are like a family, and she facilitates a really close-knit and supportive class. I am so happy to have Ms. Dziedzic as a teacher.

Casidhe Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Dziedzic is not only my teacher, but someone I can confide in. She connects with us students on a personal basis and makes sure we are not only excelling in class, but we are also doing well with with balancing all of life’s tasks. If there is one word to describe Mrs. Dziedzic it would be an overachiever. She does the most that she can, sacrifices her time do make sure others are doing well before her own well being, and truly cares about everything she applies herself to. In International Relations class, after every simulation, she emails each student(all 50+ of us) individually and tells us something positive we did during class. Mrs. Dziedzic will make an impact on anyone she meets.

Waverly Dombkowski Posted over a year ago

With the short time I have had Ms. Dziedzic as a teacher, she has completely changed my view on the world. The way she is able to transform students into not only fantastic public speakers but also genuine people is amazing. She is able to personally connect to students like no other teacher has ever done for me and many others. Dzieds makes us all feel like we can take on the world and give us the confidence we need to excel in our future and in her classroom. Having Ms. Dziedzic as a teacher has changed my life and she continues to positively impact everyone she comes in contact with. No one deserves this award as much as she does for showing us all that we are capable of anything, not only as students but in all our future plans.

Chelsea Kordiak Posted over a year ago

Ms. Dzeidzic was my freshman History teacher and not only did she push me academically, but also personally. I was in her class the first year she taught at the Academy and she received a lot of personal questions. She reminded us not to focus on who we wanted to date, but who we wanted to be, what we wanted to do with our lives, and what we wanted to change.

Dana Taylor Posted over a year ago

During my senior year, I heard about a trip Ms. Dziedzic was bringing students on. They were travelling to Turkey, Greece, and Italy, and I had never been out of the country. Everyone else on this trip had signed up about a year in advanced, but I really wanted to go. I think this was like two or three weeks before the trip. She did whatever she had to do to make it so that I could go on the trip. This experience opened my eyes to the world. Being immersed in other cultures different than my own was humbling and truly changed my perspective on life, besides being the most fun two weeks ever! And it only happened because she went out of her way amongst all of her other planning, to make room for an eager kid last minute.

Rick Lavoie Posted over a year ago

My comment may be a little unorthodox. I am a teacher just outside of Boston. I met Sara on a teacher convention in South Africa two years ago. I was immediately connected to her because we both taught Social Studies, but I also felt inspired by her because of the way she spoke about teaching. It's easy for us to think our classrooms are our castles, but Sara made it plainly clear that her classes, and kids, were the most important thing to her. I've reached out to her several since we've met for advice and she's always been on top of things. I'm grateful for meeting her and for the opportunity to better my practice with her assistance. Good luck, Sara!!!

Dan Murphy Posted over a year ago

Sara is an inspirational leader and dedicated educator! Her work with the Model U.N. has inspired countless students to be talented speakers and leaders. Her mentorship of my son has continued into his college years and he has been a force in College Moot Court competition because of the foundation he built at WA!! My daughter and son are currently in Model U.N. and love having Ms.Dziedzic as their teacher! This is an honor she has earned and I fully support her nomination!! Dan Murphy

Cara Bates Posted over a year ago

I’ll never forget the first time I wrote a position paper for Ms. Dziedzic’s IR class- I have never seen so much red ink in my life. Most teachers would have just said try harder and moved on, but Dziedz sat with me after class and refused to believe this was my best work. She never gave up hope and always brought out the best in me as a learner. Ms. Dziedzic made me want to be a better student- she has such a passion for teaching, it made us all excited for her class! She is the type of teacher who continues to stay in contact with her students and encourage them in all aspects of their life. I am so happy she is nominated and couldn’t think of anyone who deserves this more!

Michelle Salvas Posted over a year ago

I had the pleasure of working with Sara during her early years at WA. Even then, you could tell that she was an outstanding teacher who would be bringing great things to her students and school. Over the years, Sara’s dedication, passion, and commitment to excellence in education have continued to grow, as evident in her MUN achievements and her FRESH organization. I cannot think of another teacher more deserving of recognition for changing lives. Each and every student who enters Sara’s class is entering the life of a teacher who will do all that she can to help them learn, succeed, and do great things. If you ever meet a WA graduate who tells you that he or she still keeps in touch with a teacher from WA, chances are, that teacher is Sara.

Siri Rosendahl Posted over a year ago

Seeing Sara’s (or as I would normally call her “Dziedz”) nomination for Lifechanger of the Year was the least shocking thing I encountered this morning. The only shocking this is that she hasn’t won this before. Personally, Dziedz changed my life and I can’t imagine if I’d be in the same place or the same person without her. My first interactions with Dziedz were in my junior year of highschool, where despite previously heading down a more scientific route I signed up for her International Relations course, because, even though I’m embarrassed now to say, my boyfriend at the time was in it. Life changing is definitely the word I would to describe my experience from that point on. I did very well in high school academically, but Dziedz’s courses were not about memorizing and regurgitating information, they were about opening your eyes to the wider world and learning how to question and challenge it. She puts in more effort in her syllabuses than any other teacher I have met since, changing it week to week, and sometimes day to day, to ensure the most up-to date and important information is covered. The International Relations course is a combination of lectures and full simulated United Nation debates, where each student is assigned a country and empowered to advocate that country’s position. Each Friday is dedicated to a student-facilitated discussion, the role of facilitator changing week to week, on select articles in The Economist. It’s impossible to come out of a class with Dziedz without new leadership, critical thinking, and argument forming skills, in addition to being able to see the complexity and multiple perspectives of a problem. You also learn change is possible and that you can have an impact. Dziedz, a woman extremely dedicated to her work, her students, and having an impact on the wider world, ran an “independent study” course on weekends with about 15 students. My first year the topic was on non-profits and the second year we discussed human rights. Helping to start FRESH, the non-profit mentioned in Dziedz’s nomination, helped me find my true calling in life and armed me with organizational skills which I have used to since launch my own business and community organization. Dziedz brought in a guest speaker from a local non-profit to speak at one of our Saturday sessions, and the combination of these two strong women who were determined to make a difference in the world and who saw the possibility that it could be a better place solidified my future ambitions. Dziedz was the person I went to for advice on colleges and she gave me a handwritten list based on how well she knew me, a personal touch that was not able to be provided by the guidance counsellors. She is a teacher, a friend, and a mentor, helping guide students through the complicated life decisions that must now be made in high school. Since leaving Woodstock Academy I have gone on to receive a BA in Anthropology and a MA in Public Advocacy and Activism. I have moved to Galway, Ireland, a country first visited on a EF European tour trip organized by, you guessed it, Sara Dziedzic. I now help coordinate a course called Global Issues and have run development education courses on migration for secondary and third-level students. I have joined a group called The Ideas Collective and have founded my own community health program. When visiting the US for even just a week there is nearly always some sort of fundraiser or event Dziedz is involved in that I visit. Personally I know my life would be very different and not as fulfilling if I had not met Dziedz, and I’m not alone. My peers from her course have gone on to do some of the most amazing work at the community and global level. They are more likely to be working towards changing the world to be better. They are more likely to be in the Peace Corps, in law school, or even just living/travelling abroad. She made us care about ourselves, others, and this world and deserves this award more than anyone else I know.

Susan Desrosiers Posted over a year ago

I am so pleased that you have given Sara Dziedzic this award. Both of my children were in her International Relations class and she really is a "life changer". Sara truly cares about the world and helping her students to see their role in helping to improve their communities and the world. She has worked tirelessly for years with the students to help them become model citizens. Many of her students have gone on to careers in the field of International Relations because of their classes with her. You have made a great choice in naming Sara a "Life Changer of the Year". I can't think of anyone more deserving. She certainly has left her mark on the lives of many students and our community.

Judy Posted over a year ago

A well deserved accolade to an amazing person!

Alex Calkins Posted over a year ago

Got my vote

Greg Smith Posted over a year ago

Sara is a magnificent teacher, and human being. She is the reason so many of our students go into International Relations, Public Service and Law. She is a tough, no nonsense teacher with a heart of gold. It is an honor to teach with her!

Anna Murphy Posted over a year ago

Ms. Dziedzic has done so much to help me grow as not only a student but a person and I cannot put into words how much I have to thank her for. She is completely qualified and should be rewarded with LifeChanger of the Year Award because she always puts the extra mile into everything she does and is willing to help every person and every cause in need of attention!

Mikayla Wilk Posted over a year ago

Ms. Dziedzic’s teachings have not only impacted my high school tenure but my collegiate tenure as well. I’m high school I was unable to express my feelings and always felt that I didn’t belong. Once I enrolled in the International Relations class offered by Dziedzic, I was able to learn about the world as whole but myself as well. The skills taught in relation to independence and self-advocacy encouraged and supported my decision to move from Connecticut to Kentucky to peruse a career in Sign Language Interpreting, giving back to the Deaf community. She single handedly impacted my outlook on the entire world and sparked a fire in me that I didn’t know existed. Her class has taught me how to be the me I am today. And am extremely grateful for her inspiration as I approach my final semester of my collegiate career. Thanks Dzeeds. Love you!