ALTONA In a career that spanned 35 years in the field of education, Harry J. McManus is credited for impacting the lives of hundreds of students. Its that impact which earned him his most recent recognition as the 2008 Citizen of the Year by Woodmen of the World Lodge 642. The fraternal service organization presented the award to McManus at a banquet in his honor at the Rainbow Wedding and Banquet Hall May 2. Lodge president Linda Gonyo-Horne credited the Rouses Point resident for his long-time career as a social studies teacher and tennis coach at Northeastern Clinton Central School, but most notably for his role in establishing the schools North Country Model United Nations program. The program has grown since its humble beginnings more than 30 years ago, today consisting of participation from 20 schools in three counties, thanks to his continued commitment as the programs advisor, she said. There are many reasons for Harry McManus to be Citizen of the Year, but the one that touches me most personally is his job as teacher of the Model UN every year, said Gonyo-Horne. I was in the first 10-week course he ever had, and years later, my son, Im proud to say, also was a delegate to the United Nations. Gonyo-Hornes son, Robert Gonyo, who was unable to attend the ceremony, sent a letter in his absence, congratulating McManus on his recognition. In his letter, Gonyo recalled how his family initially had plans to move across the country while he was in elementary school. Not wanting to move, one of the arguments he gave as a young boy was that he wouldnt have the chance to study social studies from McManus, one of his mothers favorite teachers. In the end, Gonyos family stayed in the area and he later became a student in McManus class. I really have to credit Harry McManus influence for helping me realize the power and importance of civic knowledge and, more importantly, civic engagement, Gonyo wrote. I started reading the newspaper because of his weekly current events quizzes; I started understanding it because of his expert teaching ... Mr. McManus was instrumental in teaching me that Im not only an individual, Im a citizen. County Clerk John H. Zurlo, who taught with McManus for several years at Champlain Central School, which later became NCCS, attested to McManus commitment to his students. Zurlos son, who Michael E. Zurlo, who now serves as county administrator, was one of many who he said benefitted from McManus teaching. Harry certainly was a big asset to all you mothers and fathers who had children at Champlain and then later at Northeastern Clinton Central School, said Zurlo. Hes a great educator and was an outstanding coach who brought home several league and sectional tennis titles. Zurlo further credited McManus a former mayor of the village of Rouses Point and member of the town council in Champlain for doing an outstanding job as Clinton County Area One Legislator, a position he was elected to last November. Some, however, werent as kind. Brian Power, another of McManus former colleagues at NCCS, served as guest roaster for the evening, poking fun at his friends age, the evolution of his hair color and his duck-like gait. But, in the end, Powers good-natured ribbing was set aside as he too sincerely thanked McManus for helping shape the young lives of many, including two of Powers own daughters. Truthfully, theres no way I can really pay back a man like Harry McManus, said Power. The guest of honor said he was humbled by both his recognition and the privilege of having a career in teaching for so many years. Being a teacher allowed him to have the opportunity to serve as a role model and was one for which he was very grateful, he said. I couldnt believe that they paid me to do this job, McManus said, laughing. The legislator further acknowledged the people with whom he has come in contact over the years and the support of his four children and his wife, Melissa. You dont get measured in life by the number of years that youve lived, you get measured by the number of experiences youve had. Ive just had the greatest number of experiences and Ive met so many wonderful people, said McManus. And, everything Ive done, Ive enjoyed with the support of my family.