Special-education teacher uses motivation as key to making a difference

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NEW ROCHELLE -

A special-education teacher is using motivation as a way to make a difference in the lives of his students.

New Rochelle's Tony Apuzzi helps kids with emotional and behavioral problems at the New York Institute for Special Education. He says his job is challenging because you have to deal with many different personalities.

Apuzzi started his career at a juvenile detention center. He says one group of students made an impact on his life early on. Apuzzi says in 2001 he inherited a group of kids that ran off 12 teachers in seven months, admitting it was the wildest class he ever had. In the end, all of the students graduated and most even made their way through college.

"We have to motivate them, no ifs, ands or buts about it," says Apuzzi.

So with that saying in mind, Apuzzi decided as a lifelong Yankees fan he would make Yankee Stadium part of his classroom motivation. Apuzzi says the kids were amazed and excited to see the stadium.

The experience led to a program that allows the kids to see other sports places and even meet legendary players.

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