‘Razzle Dazzle’

Kade Brackin, Editor-in-Chief

As the saying goes, “with age comes wisdom;” this case is no exception. Joseph Rasnick
has been in education for 37 years: 28 as a teacher and nine as an administrator, and this year, he
is teaching several science classes at West Hardin.

“[I have taught at] Beaumont ISD… Austin Middle School… Old French High School
which is no longer there,” Mr. Rasnick said. “Then I finished my degree in administration [at
Lamar University], got a job at Westbrook where I was an assistant principal, worked there for
nine years, and then decided I would retire when I could.”

Mr. Rasnick did end up retiring in 2003 from Westbrook High School. He wound up
teaching again because “of all the jobs [he’s] had, teaching is the one [he] does best… and
enjoy[s] the most.”

“I taught in a Catholic school for two years,” Mr. Rasnick said. “Then I went to work for
the Lamar Institute of Technology as their program developer… [Then] I got offered a job at
Silsbee High School teaching physics… then I went from there to Kountze. Worked at Kountze
for seven years and then I came here.”

That’s not all. Before Mr. Rasnick began work as a teacher, he worked for Beaumont PD
as a patrolman for almost five and a half years.

“When I was in high school, I wanted to be a veterinarian,” Mr. Rasnick said. “When I
got my degree in biology I thought, ‘Hmm, being a wildlife biologist would be really cool…’ I
found out really fast that you have to have more than a biology degree. You have to have a
PhD… to even be considered in that field… When I was getting my degree… I got my teaching
certification as a safety net… I found out I had a knack for it and really liked it.”

Mr. Rasnick seems to like it at West Hardin more than some people think.

“Had kind of a bumpy start, but everything is smoothing out,” Mr. Rasnick said. “Coming
from Kountze… I kind of knew what to expect. From my experience, the young people in my
classes, for the most part, are good students. I think they are more eager to learn than a lot of
people think they are. You have some good brains in this school; you really do.”

Mr. Rasnick seems to genuinely care about his students.

“I have known teachers that are very quick to write young people off,” Mr. Rasnick said.
“To just say, ‘Oh they don’t care, or they’re dumb, they’re stupid’ to the point where… kids
seem to believe them. They seem to have this idea that ‘I can’t learn anything,’ and that’s not
true: anybody can learn anything.”

Mr. Rasnick was born in San Francisco, lived in Staten Island, New York until he was 6,
lived in Galveston through the third grade, and then attended Vidor High School from fourth
grade until he graduated.

“I’ve been a number of other places, but that’s just where I’ve lived,” Mr. Rasnick said.
“Here in the United States, [my favorite place is]… the northeast. I like the old mountains like the
Blueridge and the Smokeys… they’re beautiful. The scenery is incredible. Now abroad, a place
that I really really loved was… the Autrian Alps. They were majestic. You take a ski-lift to the
top of one of those mountains and it’s like you can look around and see the whole world.”

Mr. Rasnick has a piece of advice for every young person.

“I would encourage every young person to go, and see, and do everything you can before
you decide to settle down because once you do… those opportunities are few and far between, so
while you still can, go and explore,” Mr. Rasnick said.