Michael G. DaDurka

Daily Point of Light # 1186 Aug 20, 1998

Michael G. DaDurka is a full-time government teacher at Jordan High School in Long Beach, CA. In addition to his work with the students of Jordan High, he has donated numerous hours to serving those on federal, state and local committees in Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, and Costa Mesa. Mr. DaDurka's focus is on helping his students and those in the community understand the importance of voting and becoming involved in the community.

Mr. DaDurka set up a speaker's forum, spending many hours of his own time contacting government officials, so that his student and those of other social studies teachers had an opportunity to hear and ask questions. He invited the superintendent of the school, school board members, state assemblymen, federal congressmen, mayors and city officials to participate in the forums.

Students learn the importance of participating in the election of government officials and voting to better their community. At his request, the city registrar came to Jordan to instruct students on how to be poll sitters during an election. As a result, forty-five students participated in the community as official poll sitters at the last election. For eight years, he has had an ongoing voter registration program and annually has the League of Women assist students in a community-wide voter registration day.

For his in-depth work of developing a strong community service program, Mr. DaDurka was awarded the Medal of Merit in 1991 as a special honor by the Jordan High administration and Toyota Motor Corporation. The medal was given to recognize the extra hours of volunteer work Mr. DaDurka performed. In 1994, Mr. DaDurka was asked, along with a fellow colleague, to develop a community service curriculum for the entire school district. Now the class in community service allows students to meet college admission expectations and/or acquire summer jobs or permanent employment.

The Close Up Foundation for New Americans has chosen the Program for New Americans developed by Mr. DaDurka as a model version for other schools in the United States. The goal of the program is to acquaint the students with the fundamentals of American citizenship in order to assist them in becoming community leaders in the future.