First-grade teacher Mrs.Lisa Forshey and the entire staff at Holly Lane Elementary School have a unique opportunity to welcome a new student who just moved to Westlake from Germany and who speaks no English.
Observing the difficulty the new student had in understanding English and the challenges this presented his efforts to learn, Mrs. Forshey was compelled to ask her dad, Hank Hanisch, to help.
Hank, who immigrated to America in 1953 at the age of 13, was more than happy to start coming into school for half-day sessions twice a week to assist. He helps the young man who transferred from a school in Germany with the language barrier, translation and support so that the first grader can better understand his new world.
Because Hank experienced the same language challenges coming to this country as a young teen, he is happy to give back to a young boy having a similar experience. Mrs. Forshey stated this about her father’s assistance, “My dad is very caring and happy to help my new student make this difficult transition period a little easier.”
Hank Hanisch expressed how much he is enjoying the experience: “I like it a lot,” says Hank, a retired insurance appraiser. Hank also uses his fatherly influence to guide the new student in the right direction. “He’s a nice boy, a happy boy and he is full of energy. So I tell him that since we have the same background, it is up to us to do a better job than just the average,” says Hank.
“I think it’s wonderful that Mr. Hanisch is so enthusiastic about helping our new student assimilate into our school here at Holly Lane,” said Principal Mimi Verdone. “Mr. Hanisch has been a longtime friend of Holly Lane, as well asthe father of our first grade teacher, Lisa Forshey. It is a wonderful partnership and it means a lot to our new student from Germany and his family.”
The result? Westlake’s new friend and neighbor is now a happy and outgoing boy who loves Holly Lane School, his teachers and his classmates.