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OCSD Educator Selected As National Life Group ‘Lifechanger of the Year’ Winner

First-grade teacher Mary Silene Stephens from Edisto Primary School has been honored as a 2023-2024 National Life Group LifeChanger of the Year Award Winner. She received a $3,000 prize, with $1,500 awarded to her individually and $1,500 donated to Edisto Primary School.

Stephens, currently the OCSD Alternate Teacher of the Year, was surprised with the award during the end-of-year awards celebration at Edisto Primary School. The event, attended by around 200 students, parents, and staff, featured a special presentation by National Life Group representative Vivian McWhorter-Hubbard, who nominated Stephens for the award. Superintendent Dr. Shawn Foster and other district figures were also present to celebrate this achievement.

Chosen from over 620 nationwide nominations, Stephens is recognized for her outstanding contribution to promoting literacy and fostering a love of reading among her students. Last year, she organized a Dr. Seuss-themed family literacy night in collaboration with Rivelon Elementary School and the Orangeburg County Library, engaging over 100 families in activities designed to promote reading at home.

Additionally, Stephens initiated the "For the Love of Books" Reading Challenge, encouraging each classroom to read at least 50 books during February. This initiative, supported by weekly book total collections and celebratory videos, has become a school-wide effort, further extending the impact of her dedication to literacy.

Mary Silene Stephens continues to inspire her students and colleagues, demonstrating the transformative power of education and the importance of fostering a lifelong love of reading.