A Wayne County educator known for inspiring students to learn about robotics and related sciences plus coaching robotics teams to state and national titles has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Jay Obsniuk (pronounced OB-SNICK), teaches robotics, electronics and STEM engineering at Canton High School, which is part of the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools.
The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education awards in 2014 to recognize outstanding public school educators across the state during the school year.
Winners of the weekly award receive a plaque, a $1,500 cash prize, and a $500 grant to their classroom, school or school district. One of the weekly winners will be selected as the Educator of the Year and will receive a $10,000 cash prize.
Each winner also is featured in a news segment on the Lottery’s media partner stations: WXYZ-TV in Detroit, FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, FOX 47 in Lansing, and WNEM-TV in Saginaw. The news segment featuring Obsniuk will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Obsniuk said his favorite part of being an educator is “the everyday engagement with students. As they learn, I learn. It is such a joy showing students that they can do things that they didn’t think they could do.”
He said that “being able to open doors for students in fields that they could use as a career” attracted him to a career in education.
Obsniuk said the students motivate him to do his best each day in the classroom. “It’s the smiles on the faces of my students, the energy that they bring to learning, and it’s also the learning that I do every day.”
A student nominated Obsniuk for the Excellence in Education award, describing him as “a great teacher and a mentor who constantly goes above and beyond for his students.”
“He has helped hundreds of students develop their interests in robotics and science and achieve personal and academic success. The team consists of 150 students and has won state and world championship titles. Mr. Obsniuk goes out of his way to help every member of the team and fosters the process of implementing peer supports to further support each member,” the nomination said.
“Mr. Obsniuk volunteers countless hours to the team (30-plus hours per week during the season) and supports the junior high school teams and the community through events such as Robots in the Park, workshops for Girl Scouts, and Relay for Life.”
Obsniuk earned a bachelor of science degree in career and technical education and technology from Eastern Michigan University. He has been an educator for 26 years, the past 21 with the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools.
Outstanding public school educators may be nominated for an Excellence in Education award at http://bit.ly/ExcellenceInEducation or through the websites of the Lottery’s media partner stations.
Excellence in Education award nominees are evaluated on the following criteria:
- Excellence – Their work consistently helps students and/or their schools or school districts advance to higher levels of academic achievement.
- Dedication – They consistently go above and beyond expectations to help students succeed.
- Inspiration – Their work inspires others around them to exceed expectations either academically or professionally.
- Leadership – They demonstrate clear leadership skills in their positions with their school or school districts.
- Effectiveness – The nominee’s work has clear and positive results on the educational advancement of students within the school or school district.