2009 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree
Fulton Avenue School #8, Oceanside Public Schools
When his wife, Marie, passed away, Manny Giusto was left with a hole in his heart. After months of grieving, he decided to honor her memory by reinvesting in his life and set out to find the perfect job. That’s why for the past 15 years, he has reported to first-grade classrooms at Oceanside’s Fulton Street School #8. His job? To share his love for reading with students, some of whom are classified as those with special needs, and to assist teachers with classroom tasks and assignments.
Giusto, 88, seeks out struggling students and engages them. The children say it’s like having a grandpa in the classroom. Hundreds of times over the years, Giusto has been stopped by former students or parents who thank him for helping to make education fun. Giusto says he has “the best job in the world” because he gets to watch students blossom. He likes to joke that although his students get out of first-grade, he never seems to.
Over the years he’s worked with more than 20,000 students. His dedication didn’t go unnoticed by the Oceanside Board of Education, which recognized him in 2003 for 10 years of volunteer service. A team of students (now seniors) presented the award to him.
Others have noted his importance to the students of Nassau County as well. News 12 Long Island named him one of its “12 Making a Difference,” and featured him in a special TV segment. He was also profiled in Newsday and in local newspapers, and honored by the Columbian Italian-American Association of the New York City Department of Corrections.
During his “first” career, which spanned 38 years, Giusto fixed subway cars for the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Upon retirement, he was a foreman.
When not in school, Giusto enjoys woodworking, gardening, cooking, baking, building radios and writing. A longtime parishioner of St. Anthony’s Church in Oceanside, he attends scripture classes and is a Eucharistic minister.
Giusto has two children, Theresa and Tom, and one grandson, Jesse.