Friday, November 8, 2013
Jessica (Banaszak, '97) Wick, previous Westminster College Audio Visual Service's staff member, is an outstanding elementary school teacher who teaches "30 rambunctious fifth graders" on a week to week basis for Milcreek Township School District. While that in itself might make many pause, it is the unabashed joy she brings to her students, teaching them that happiness is a choice, not a result of circumstance, that deserves your attention.
Wick has been teaching for 15 years to date and she loves her choice of a career. Having also worked at the 5th largest school district in the country in Las Vegas, Nevada, she has demonstrated an amazing ability to bring together diverse students, often in difficult teaching conditions with children who are learning English as a second language. She pushes to provide a safe learning environment for all her students and is dedicated to enhancing their abilities.
During Wick's time at AV Services, student positions were not as specialized as they are today. She was expected to know the ins and outs of every specialty area that AV was responsible for, which was particularly demanding.
"Jessica, a die-hard Pittsburgh fan, might tell you she wasn't as tech savvy as some of her co-workers, but don't let her kid you," grinned Gary Swanson, director of Audio Visual Services. "She picked up on concepts very quickly, and was spectacular at taking a complex topic and breaking it down into pieces to make it simple to understand. Add to that a great sense of humor, a dynamite laugh and smile, and an incredibly huge heart, and it is easy to see how it has all combined to make her a terrific teacher."
Outside of the classroom, Wick spends time with her sixteen month old son Bode, her step daughter Hannah and her husband Jason who works as a federal agent for the ATF. Their young son is keeping them busy and adding to the constant joy in their lives.
Wick's enthusiasm for her career, her pride for her Westminster alumni, and her joy for life are hard to ignore, and come through quickly in even brief interactions. She suggests to any person hitting the job market to be confident, and do what you love.
"If you find something that you feel good about doing then you'll begin a cycle of happy," Wick explained. "Feel good. Do good. Love good. Look good. Feel good, and so on. Feel free to laugh at my infinite cheesiness! I think I can say I got some of that from working in AV too - but it's a good thing! There are so many people out there looking for careers. Know that the education you get at Westminster is unique and like none other. So feel confident while out there searching, but enjoy every second of college while you can."
Relationships and camaraderie are a core focus of the AV department, supported by its ongoing communication with alumni who have worked in the department. Watch for future installments of "Where Are They Now" on the AV website and Facebook pages.
Written by Savanna Adams, Assistant Public Relations Manager