Student-led effort wins Newry teacher Margaritaville vacation

Steve Wilson teaches five subjects at St. Patrick School in Newry. One of Wilson’s former students nominated him for the Jimmy Buffet-style vacation. Wilson said it was “priceless” to see how many people voted for him to win the contest.

Steve Wilson’s dedication as a teacher has earned him a bit of rest and relaxation.

A teacher at St. Patrick School in Newry, Wilson recently learned he won a Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville vacation in a contest he didn’t enter, but for which he was nominated by a former student.

As one of the 18 Everyday Heroes in Education contest winners, Wilson gets a five-night stay for four people at Margaritaville Lake Resort at Lake Conroe, Texas.

Wilson said he is looking forward to the opportunity to kick back and relax.

“My plan is to hang out and enjoy my stay,” the 64-year-old East Freedom resident said.

Wilson, who attended St. Patrick as a student from 1962-70 and returned to teach there six years ago, said he was “shocked and surprised” to be nominated for the award.

But Cory Geishauser, who in June nominated Wilson, said his former teacher is “without a doubt the best teacher I ever had.”

“He’s the epitome of a teacher and one of the kindest humans on this planet,” Geishauser said.

Wilson, who also coached basketball, was Geishauser’s coach when the latter was in seventh and eighth grades at Lakemont’s St. John the Evangelist School, which has since closed.

With 43 years of teaching experience, Wilson is currently teaching fifth through eighth grade in five subjects, including English, history and religion.

“I wear as many hats as I need to wear,” Wilson said. “To teach multiple subjects at various grade levels, I combine groups whenever possible. I put lots of time into planning nine to 10 lessons daily and trying to bring subject material to life.”

Wilson said that teaching takes a lot of time, but “I really enjoy this. The students deserve my best.”

In his free time, Wilson enjoys spending time with his wife, Janie, and three daughters: Janee, Lindsey and Kaylin.

Lindsey said she admires her father, who has touched the lives of many students.

“My dad is so dedicated to his students and to teaching,” she said.

Lindsey said her father was at school when he got the call that he won the contest.

“Many former students have sent messages and cards over the years thanking him for inspiring them to teach or for influencing or encouraging them and contributing to their success,” she said.

An avid traveler, Wilson is a leader with People to People International Travel Programs, a student ambassador program that offers international travel opportunities to secondary education students across the country. With the group, he’s traveled to 16 countries, including throughout Europe.

“I am so proud to represent this incredible program and help our youth experience the world,” Wilson said.

This year, Wilson will continue his travels with People to People, returning to six European countries he’s already visited and taking his first trip to Spain.

But Wilson is particularly excited for his domestic trip to Margaritaville, where he’ll be joined by his wife and two of his daughters.

“I am thrilled to get away for a chance to take a break,” Wilson said. “What excites me most is that Janie and I can spend some relaxing days at Margaritaville at Lake Conroe, Texas, at a beautiful and pretty new resort with two of our daughters, who are so excited to go.”

Wilson said he is grateful for the support of his students, both former and current, as well as strangers, who ultimately helped him win the award.

“It was priceless to see how many people voted for me,” Wilson said. “Cory Geishauser rallied so many folks and groups, and there were people I didn’t even know who voted daily. It was very humbling.”


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