Shane Lozyniak Lights Up The Workforce

It’s not exactly stop-the-presses news: Westport is a town of high expectations.

Parents expect that their kids will go to college — the more prestigious, the better. Kids expect that they’ll spend time in high school polishing their transcripts and resumes.

Everyone expects the “college process” to be a stressful time. They’re right.

There seem to be few options for young Westporters who want a different path. Fortunately for Shane Lozyniak, he found his own.

His family has lived in Westport for generations. Shane went to Greens Farms Elementary School, Bedford Middle and then Staples High. From a young age he loved using his hands. Motors, old electronics — if he could mess around with them, he did.

At high school he was not involved in extracurricular activities. He did not have to be. He had Mike Sansur.

Shane Lozyniak wired this electrical panel in Mike Sansur’s class.

Shane had heard about the Technology Education class from his older brother. As a freshman, he took TechEd 1. Sansur’s course introduced him to things he’d never had a chance to do in school. He turned a lamp on a lathe, and built a shelf.

Shane took Sansur’s classes every year. During free periods and other extra time, he headed back to the lab.

When Shane’s school counselor, Christine Talerico, mentioned to her colleague  Victoria Capozzi that Shane looked her in the eye, and said he was not interested in a traditional 4-year college — he preferred something more hands-on — both women took note.

That’s rare at Staples. It’s also important, and refreshing.

Capozzi — who calls herself “a hands-on girl” — asked Shane to take the lead role in building a mobile cart. The department uses it around the school, as a “branch office.” It’s a hit with everyone.

Vicki Capozzi, Shane Lozyniak and the mobile cart he built for the school counselors.

Capozzi notes that she and her fellow counselors sometimes hear Staples graduates say they’re leaving college to pursue a trade, enter a certificate program or do other work.

“Having a kid like Shane know in advance of his desire to learn a trade and work is very refreshing,” she says.

(In fact, last week the guidance department held a post-secondary school planning meeting for parents of juniors. “We told them there are lots of pathways that don’t involve a 4-year college,” Capozzi says.)

Shane was particularly fascinated by electronics. It was “sparked” when Sansur — whose Tech Ed program caters to a diverse population of students and interests — introduced Shane’s class to electrical theory and schematics. They create and test a variety of circuits commonly found in homes.

The chance to work hard at something, then see it all come together — literally lighting up a room — was very satisfying.

Shane eagerly and adeptly turned electrical theories into reality. He designed and fabricated a steam generator that set a school record for greatest voltage produced.

He also tore down and rebuilt a small gas engine. He then used that knowledge to repair mowers that other students brought in.

Shane Lozyniak

For his senior internship, Shane spent a month with Yankee Electric. It was a way to see if that’s what he really wanted for a career.

It was. He liked the experience so much, near the end he asked about an apprenticeship. They were delighted to have him.

Several months into the 4-year process, Shane says he’s “really learning the basics of the trade. There are a lot of basics.”

At night, he’s taking a class at Lincoln Tech in Shelton. He’s been helped by a Mike Rowe Scholarship.

The Rowe Foundation’s mission is to “help close the skills gap by challenging the stigmas and stereotypes that discourage people from pursuing the millions of available jobs. We’re redefining the definition of a good education and a good job, because we don’t think a 4-year degree is the best path for the most people.”

Shane heard about the fund when a Lincoln Tech rep came to Staples. As part of the application process, he had to make a video.

“I’m not a big talker,” Shane says. But Capozzi convinced him to do it. He was chosen as one of 182 recipients nationwide.

The class he’s taking — after a full day of work — does not leave much time for anything else.

That’s fine with Shane. He’s pursuing something he loves.

In a town of high expectations, Shane Lozyniak is already well on the path to success.

22 responses to “Shane Lozyniak Lights Up The Workforce

  1. Shane- you have answered the question most people don’t know to ask; what “work” makes me happy. A Fortune 500 think-tank philosopher recently wrote a book called Shopcraft as Soulcraft you might seek out to read. Thank goodness for Mike Sansur, Christine Talerico, & Victoria Capozzi who got your message, one the bureaucracy of our school system doesn’t generally give much credence to. If you keep your eyes open you will discover an incredible world of opportunities out there. You are in good company, now that you know what makes you happy, you have no limits, just ask Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg or any number of people right here in Westport. That said, make no mistake, education is the key to your successful and happy life. Learn something every day.

    • Bruce A. Jones, Aiken, SC (SHS '70)

      Mark: I believe the book to which you refer is “Shop Class as Soulcraft”, by Matthew B. Crawford. One of my favorites.

  2. Great story!

  3. Wendy Cusick

    This is what young people need to read and hear. Thanks Dan and Shane for sharing the story.
    Working in a trade is satisfying.
    Not everyone is cut out for a 4 year college university or even 2 year experience especially when I hear so many never graduating.
    I hope parents and guidance counselors stop pushing for it so much.
    All schools need to have classes for hands on experiences cooking, sewing, knitting, woodworking, electronics or house wiring E1 and E2, automotive etc… Students who excel in these classes improve their academics and grades.
    They feel they have accomplished something and are happier.

  4. Way to go Shane!! Great story.

  5. Michael Foley

    Great Job Shane !!!!

  6. Christine M. Talerico

    Shane, I am so incredibly proud of you for all you have accomplished so far. Hopefully your willingness to “step out of the box” will help others do so as well. Glad we (Ms. Capozzi, Mr. Sansur and I) were able to help you on your journey! Wishing you all the best.

  7. What a refreshing story! It is so true everything that Shane is doing. Hopefully more students will be brave enough to follow their hearts and interests, college is not for everyone. So many young people end up in a state of high anxiety and depression over the college pressure but are afraid to disappoint.

  8. I remember a guy a class or two ahead of me at Staples (I’m a ’66). He loved cars and was a natural mechanic who wanted to open an auto repair shop. But his father, who my dad knew, made his son miserable by demanding that he take only college prep courses. I don’t know what finally happened to him, but I hope he eventually followed that dream. Good for Shane, and for his parents’ encouragement of him.

  9. Great story.

  10. Caryl Beatus


  11. Clyde Baxter

    Way to go Shane! There is a whole world out there, and you are standing on it’s doorstep. I have no doubt at all that you will do just fine, and find your place in the world. If anyone tells you differently…Just tell them to… shut up!
    ; – )

  12. Bill Boyd... Staples 66

    Very good story. Too much emphasis is placed on book learning and white collar careers…and in Westport probably more so. Our entire culture is focused on wealth accumulation instead of career satisfaction.. much work needs to be done starting at home and in our schools.

  13. Good one! Agree totally with this story. Go Shane! I hope more of our young people can be brave enough to be honest– hands on professions are so desirable for some of our population.

  14. Rebecca Ellsley

    Learn a skill and doing what you love is wonderful. One of my long term Best carpenter over 20+ years – went to Yale did the corporate job but decided to be a great carpenter, cook for his Mexican restaurant, gentleman farmer, and all around great guy instead. And he is still working loving what he does. If you love what you do it’s not work it’s an adventure. Best of luck look forward to working with you in the future.

  15. Bobbi Essagof

    Great job Shane. I remember you from the LMC at Greens Farms School . So happy to hear that you followed your dreams.
    Best of luck,
    Mrs Essagof
    Can you get this great story published in Inklings? Or maybe the NYT magazine will print it. Might help some other kids find their way!
    Thanks for spreading the good news.

  16. Christine Theiss

    What a great story! Shane, I remember you in my classroom at GFS. I’m so happy to hear you’re working hard at something you enjoy. Best wishes as you continue your life’s journey.

  17. There are too many unemployed or under-employed or unhappily-employed graduates of traditional 4-year colleges shuffling in and out of the workforce in this country. At the the same time, our economy suffers from a shortage of people who have developed useful skills and are passionate
    about putting them to use.

    I agree with the folks above who are suggesting this story deserves wider circulation. It’s a leadership example.

    Congratulations to Shane, Mike Sansur, and these wise guidance counselors who are obviously passionate about their own jobs.

  18. My sister is the Regional Director of Career Services at Lincoln Tech! This was a great story to share with her. Students like Shane make her job so satisfying. Shane – please reach out to Kathy Trister at Lincoln Tech.

  19. Victoria Capozzi

    Patti, because of the admission rep at Lincoln Tech, Shane learned about the Mike Rowe Scholarship. The scholarship awarded Shane a lot of money…$10,000.00. No small change…a huge help in launching his future career.

  20. Why did I stop receiving the 06880 blog? Been getting it for years.

    Sent from my iPad