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Herkimer BOCES teacher’s assistant Shelly Schwasnick honored as ‘Friend of Children’

June 18, 2019




Shelly Schwasnick holding award at Friends of Children Recognition Dinner


Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Special Programs teacher’s assistant Shelly Schwasnick poses holding her Friend of Children award during the Child Care Council of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Friends of Children Recognition Dinner on May 7 at Daniele’s Banquet Specialists.





Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Special Programs teacher’s assistant Shelly Schwasnick’s co-workers describe her as caring, creative, dedicated, encouraging, enthusiastic, generous, passionate and positive.

For those reasons and others, Schwasnick was recently nominated for and won a Child Care Council of Cornell Cooperative Extension Friends of Children award.

“I was honored to be nominated and excited to win this award,” Schwasnick said.

The Child Care Council of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Friends of Children Recognition Dinner took place on May 7 at Daniele’s Banquet Specialists. The Child Care Council describes the Friends of Children awards as honoring “people in the community who devote their time and talent to ensure that our youngest citizens have the very best start in life.”

Schwasnick works as a teacher’s assistant in the classroom of Herkimer BOCES Special Programs teacher Lindsay Walker, who was one of four co-workers to write nomination letters for Schwasnick. In the classroom, they work with kindergarten and first-grade students with autism, Walker wrote in her nomination letter.

“Some may argue that this is one of the toughest populations to work with,” Walker wrote. “Shelly does it with admirable grace, determination and enjoyment. No matter how frustrating our days can be, Shelly always shows love to the students with a kind tone and warm embrace whenever they need it.”

Schwasnick’s co-workers also describe her as a fighter. She has been battling multiple myeloma, but doesn’t let it show because she always has a smile on her face, a good joke and an extra pep in her step, Walker wrote.

“Shelly is determined to not let this cancer beat her or prevent her from living every single day as if it was her last,” Walker wrote.

Schwasnick, whose daughter graduated from Herkimer BOCES Special Programs, cares deeply about her students and goes out of her way to support them – such as purchasing things for them on her own, co-workers wrote. She also is very helpful to her co-workers, they wrote.

“She often knows what we all need before we even know that we need it – students and staff,” Walker wrote.

Schwasnick is a true “Friend of Children” and a “friend to all,” Walker wrote.

“I honestly wouldn’t be the teacher, mother or person that I am today had I not met Shelly Schwasnick,” Walker wrote. “She models best practices daily on how students should be interacted with, handled and truly cared about. She shows how to live every day to the fullest.”