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Cosmo Lorusso, 2019 Pesky Award for Inspirational Teaching recipient

Boise State University’s College of Education and the Lee Pesky Learning Center will continue the annual tradition of honoring inspirational K-12 teachers at Boise State’s winter commencement ceremony on Dec. 21.

Cosmo Lorusso from Roxbury High School in Succasunna, New Jersey, is one of the four recipients, and was nominated by Allyson Kleinsorgen. The awardees will be recognized on stage during the winter commencement ceremony. Each teacher also will receive $2,000 and their schools each will receive $500.

Kleinsorgen always knew she wanted to be a teacher. As a student in Cosmo Lorusso’s English class, she found her mentor.

“Mr. Lorusso inspired the kind of teacher I want to be,” Kleinsorgen said. “When students leave a class taught by Mr. Lorusso, they leave as stronger writers, critical thinkers, grammar experts, and as better people than they were. The lasting impression he leaves on his students is something I want to leave on my own students.”

Students are engaged in Lorusso’s classroom because he sees his students as more than just teenagers. Instead, Lorusso has an ability to see what they might become someday – “future CEOs, veterinarians, lawyers, psychologists, mothers and husbands,” said Kleinsorgen.

Lorusso often uses the books his English students are reading to teach not just the material, but the life lessons within the stories that he has experienced himself. His openness with his students has built a community in the classroom that Kleinsorgen admires. The trait she remembers as the most admirable about Lorusso is his class motto, which he recites every year on the first day: “Do the right thing all the time.”

The Peskys founded the Lee Pesky Learning Center in 1997 in honor of their son Lee, who passed away in 1995 at age 30 from a brain tumor. As a child, Lee had to learn skills to overcome processing dysgraphia, a problem with organizing letters, numbers and works on a line or page. The nonprofit center, headquartered in Boise, serves mainly children and some adults with learning disabilities, as well as those from economically challenged homes. The center also provides educational services for Idaho teachers.

To see previous recipients and learn more about the awards, click on the link below.

Pesky Award for Inspirational Teaching