BY JOSH MROZINSKI
That passion for teaching has been recognized by colleagues, students and now Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.
The senator is providing Wisnosky, 55, with a 2008 Youth Development Advocate of the Year award. It is the first time that the award is being offered.
“I think this is awesome,” Wisnosky said on Monday, adding that he hopes the award can be used to help secure more funding for the Tiger House.
Wisnosky coordinates the Tiger House, which is a vocational and life-skills program for students with individualized education plans.
“I thoroughly enjoy my job and I like the kids and I like the projects that I do,” Wisnosky said.
Wisnosky yesterday received a ‘personal congratulations’ from Sen. Casey today in Washington, D.C., spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff said.
“Tony has showed us that one person can make a difference in many lives with his work as a transitional specialist at the Tunkhannock School District,” Sen. Casey said.
On Aug. 6, Wisnosky is expected to obtain the award during a County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania annual convention.
Wyoming County Commissioner Judy Kraft Mead nominated Wisnosky for the recognition.
“There were 65 submissions from across the state and Tony won,” Mead said. “I think Tony breaks his back for the kids.”
In 1973, Wisnosky began to work for Luzerne Intermediate Unit 18 and several years later he was stationed at Tunkhannock Area as a special education teacher.
Wisnosky was hired by Tunkhannock Area in the mid-1980s and worked for the district until the late 1990s when he retired.
Tunkhannock Area rehired Wisnosky in 2000 to help set up the Tiger House.
“I think that Tony does an outstanding job for the district,” Superintendent Michael Healey said. “This is an award well-deserved.”
He added that Tunkhannock Area supports Wisnosky’s efforts.
As coordinator of the Tiger House, Wisnosky also attempts to give youths experience in careers that they may pursue as adults.
“He’s an awesome guy,” junior Gary Murphy said. “He helps us do something with our lives.”
Tiger House students also take part in community projects, including the installation of flower boxes in Tunkhannock and Scranton. The youths also volunteer for events.
“It’s good to give back to the community, to help friends,” Wisnosky said. “The kids see that and they understand it’s the right thing to do.”
On Monday, Wisnosky and his students also helped out the school district.
They brought furniture to the Tiger House to complete a renovation of the building that they began in June.
The students painted the building and completed other tasks, which taught them skills that can be used in everyday life, Wisnosky said.
“It’s a good project for the kids, they can see the project through from start to finish,” Wisnosky added. “I’m trying to get the kids to understand that passion for work is very important.”