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Mesa school counselor named Life Changer of the Year

Libby Micela didn't know what to think when she was called over her school's intercom. But students and faculty alike sang the counselor's praises!

MESA, Ariz. — A Valley elementary school counselor got the surprise of her career, with a sea of students surrounding her!

Libby Micela is a counselor at Las Sendas Elementary within the Mesa Public School District. Her devotion to her work with her colleagues, students, and parents has made her a recipient of the 2022-2023 Life Changer of the Year award.

This award was not an easy choice by James Bischoff and the National Life Group - especially with more than 700 nominees - but Micela is undoubtedly deserving!

"I will either put it right here or maybe over there, in my little space," she said about her new plaque.

It was during a fun-filled assembly when Micela heard her name called over the campus loudspeaker. Imagine her surprise when school leaders started talking about the hard work and compassion their school counselor, Micela has for their campus.

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Micela was nominated for the uplifting award by her coworker, 1st-grade teacher Rachelle Sears at Las Sendas Elementary.

"When you talk to Libby, you leave feeling like, funny, smart, valued, you know when you meet someone who does that, that's Libby. She does such a great job at being a counselor and you know we never had a counselor here at Las Sendas, so just her being here has just changed the whole school," Sears added.

A school held together even tighter with glue like Micela, who lives for helping these students stay on track.

"Once the doors close and the kids are here, we go through what's called the zones of regulation and every feeling we have is valid," she explained.

"Hearing all about how she's giving a safe space for the kids and hearing from her peers about how attendance has changed because of her, people just have a space there, parents can text her and she checks on them as well outside of work and school," Bischoff added.

With only 18 winners out of roughly 1,100 nominations, according to the National Life Group, the award is quite a prestigious honor. 

While Sears was singing Micela's praises on paper, the students were doing it during the ceremony! They all agree that no one was more deserving than someone as dedicated as her.

"I teach them that's your inner voice to coach yourself and talk yourself through it when things get hard and how to talk positively to yourself," Micela shared.

She will receive a $5,000 cash prize to share with her school, along with national recognition for her hard work in and outside the counselor room!


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