Technically you could call him a senior, but his zest for life is young. A Menomonee Falls man is committed to education, and his journey from the boardroom to the classroom is inspiring more than his students
Eighty-three-year-old Joe Grecco is a mainstay at Menomonee Falls High School.
"Every day is another thrilling day," said Grecco.
Grecco has been a substitute teacher at the school for 16 years. He began subbing after retirement, and he loves it.
"I don't accept old age," he said. "Old age is a matter of being up here."
"The respect he gets is amazing because he respects the kids," said Bob Vitale, Principal of Menomonee Falls High School.
"You never get bored here and you never get old cause kids won't let ya," said Grecco.
Grecco spent decades in management and sales before retiring early, but teaching was always a dream.
"When I was in high school I told my counselor I want to be a teacher," he said. "She said no, no, no teacher's don't make any money, so I didn't...I wish I wouldn't have listened to that counselor. I wish I would've been a teacher!"
But now the octogenarian follows his heart. He's a sought-after substitute teacher for a variety of subjects from chemistry to English to art. And the grandfather gets high marks from the staff and students.
"I think he taught me that in order to be respected you must be respectful, and I think just meeting him, getting to interact with him is something I'll never forget," said Senior Alex Burks
That same sentiment is echoed by Senior Brynn Wozniak.
"He's such a positive role model to have in the classroom," said Wozniak. "I've had him as a sub several times over my last four years of high school and he always, there are some subs you get really excited when you see in the classroom and he's one of those people."
Joe Grecco is a natural born leader, a role model and a father figure. He gets emotional thinking about one student who asked if she could call him grandpa.
"I said well sure, sure you can but why?" said Grecco. "She said because I don't have one. It's a gratifying profession."
And that paycheck he gets from being a substitute teacher?
"All of Joe's subbing money he puts right back into a scholarship for kids for our seniors at the end of the school year," said Principle Vitale. "There is a very soft spot in my heart that goes out to Joe. I can't thank Joe enough for what he does for this school and community. Joe's an awesome man."
Joe Grecco is a devoted educator delivering us all a vital lesson: that you're never too old to chase a dream.