Solomon Plains Memorial Junior High School Principal John Woloski’s story is an inspiring account of stroke survival. Having received extensive therapy at Allied Services, his story is being feature as a three-part story on WBRE-TV.
Wilkes-Barre Township, Luzerne County — 55-year-old John Woloski is a school principal, a former music teacher, and a Lions Club President. He added something else to his resume in February — stroke survivor. “I never thought it could happen to me. I know of people who’ve had strokes but you never think it’s going to happen to you,” he said.
John receives weekly extensive therapy at John Heinz Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine in Wilkes-Barre Township to try and recover from his stroke-induced speech and physical impairment. Cheryl Woloski spoke about her husband saying, “We don’t know if he is going to fully recover and we also don’t know when it’s going to happen if it does.”
The Solomon Plains Memorial Junior High School principal gets much-needed support during his ongoing recovery from his immediate family and his school family. “This isn’t going to get him down. This is just a hiccup. This is something that will strengthen him. This is something that he’ll get over,” said Solomon Plains Memorial Junior High School Activities Director Brian Fischer. School nurse Nicole Tomek described Mr. Woloski as, “Very optimistic. He’s a go-getter. I think he will put his 100 percent in trying to get better.”
The support John gets from one particular Solomon Plains Junior High School student is unlike any other. 14-year-old Lizzie Breznay lives with cerebral palsy. Despite her physical limitations, the 8th grader has excelled to become one of the top students in her class. John said, “To me, my problems are so small and minute compared to what Lizzie has to face every day.” Lizzie and John forged an extraordinary friendship at school. “Every morning I would get a hug from Lizzie as she came through the door in her wheelchair.”
When John was a Heinz Rehab in-patient for nine weeks, Lizzie — who also receives therapy there — would sometimes visit him. She thought with the help of her home health aide Robin Jones, it was time for one more special reunion. During what was shaping up to be another arduous day of therapy recently for John, he received an emotional boost that only Lizzie could bring. Her surprise visit made John exclaim, “OH MY GOODNESS. There she is. I need my hug today. Oh, oh my goodness. What are you doing? You stinker, you.” It’s an inspirational life lesson for Principal John Woloski — stroke survivor. “I look at Lizzie and I know I’m going to get better so we have a lot to do, right Lizzie? That a girl. Oh my goodness,” John responded emotionally as he fought back tears.
Another inspirational moment was set to take place Wednesday night at Solomon Plains Memorial Junior High School. John Woloski planned to return to the school for the first time since his stroke to be on hand as Lizzie Breznay and several other students were to be inducted into the National Honor Society.