• Armando Wissinger
    Armando Wissinger

Armando’s story and Philosophy 101 in Ellijay

Armando Wissinger graduated from Gilmer High School with honors in 2013, then enrolled at Kennesaw State University, choosing to major in philosophy.  

“I was still unaware of what to do with my own life,” he said in thinking of pursuing a law degree. But in the end, he was unsure.  After two years of college “I decided to take a break from college to figure out my own calling,” but “life had other plans for me.”  

On Jan. 31, 2016, Armando said, “My life would change forever.”

“I decided to take a run that night, unfortunately under the effects of inebriation,” he said. 

“I ran into oncoming traffic. Miraculously I survived the accident.” 

But the mishap left him with extensive injuries, unable to walk and struggling with speech and memory. 

In the two years since, he has undertaken a long, slow, determined course of recovery, regaining some ability to walk and, gradually, speech and memory skills.  

“I had no choice but to recuperate from such an error,” Armando said. “I learned of the therapeutic professions by going through them myself ... out of all of them I liked the idea of being a physical therapist to help those like me walk again.”  

In ways Armando never could have anticipated, he now knows what he wants to do with his life. To achieve his newfound goal, he needs to return to college, but is not quite ready for the rigors of a college classroom.


Bridge back to college

Armando, at the suggestion of one of his therapists, recently visited the Gilmer Learning Center to find out whether the GLC might be able to offer him a bridge back to college. He and his therapist believe that engaging now in a less structured and less rigorous academic effort will help him continue to recover those skills he needs to succeed again in college.

To borrow a phrase from Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers, Jim Paukert, director of the Gilmer Learning Center, himself squandered a perfectly good Ivy League education by majoring in philosophy and has had his nose in philosophy books ever since. It was obvious that a piece of Armando’s bridge back to college could and should be a little philosophy class at the Gilmer Learning Center.

The class will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 18, and will be held Tuesdays from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Gilmer Learning Center. The class will be much more like a college seminar than a lecture class. Only one textbook will be used, Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar … Understanding Philosophy through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein.   

This book is fun, funny and a great introduction to the wonderful world of philosophy. Ivy League tuition will not be charged. To the contrary, the only expense will be the cost of purchasing the book (about $10). 

Course prerequisites will be a prior knowledge of philosophy or no prior knowledge of philosophy, an interest in trying to understand philosophy and, most especially, a desire to help Armando get back into a college classroom.

Armando and the Gilmer Learning Center invite one and all to join us. Walk-ins will not be turned away, but it would help to know how many will come. So try to RSVP by phone or email (706-276-1110; gilmerlearningcenter@ellijay.com).  

If you can’t join us for the first class, no problem, you can join in at any point during our little adventure.

So, Plato and a platypus walked into a bar, and ...

Times Courier

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