He is happiest when building walls for a new house and surrounded by the students of Huntington High School. Mr. Robert Gilmor III is a dean of students at Huntington High School and a beloved member of the Huntington Union Free School District. Mr. Gilmor is also this year’s recipient of the HFEE Spirit Award, which will be presented to him at the HFEE Gala on Thursday, March 30, at the Water’s Edge in Centerport, New York.
A role model to many students, Mr. Gilmor (or better known as “Gil” to the kids) helps students navigate the challenges of high school, both academic and social, consider college or vocational options post high school, and is sometimes just a comforting presence for the students. His office is a safe space to share hardships and triumphs – and he has a steady stream of kids stopping by throughout the day.
“Huntington families have entrusted me with their most blessed gifts in this world – their children. I love helping them reach their full potential,” observed Mr. Gilmor.
“Being a HFEE Spirit Award winner is a great honor. I’d like to accept it as a tribute to the many students I have the privilege to work with every day. I am here to help raise them up and sometimes help the kids get out of their own way so they can celebrate all they can become. That’s what I am most passionate about.”
As one former student, Bella Thompson, noted, “Ever since freshman year, Gil has been by my side supporting me in every step I took. He has helped me get through the hardest times in my life and has been there for the best times of my life. I know he will always have my back and help me achieve my dreams and goals.”
In addition to his day job, Mr. Gilmor is the faculty advisor for Huntington’s Habitat for Humanity chapter, having founded the high school’s chapter in 2003. Habitat for Humanity is a worldwide organization dedicated to eliminating poverty and homelessness by building housing side-by-side with those in need.
For twenty years, the Huntington group has an impressive track record of helping victims of catastrophes both near and far. In fact, the Huntington High School chapter has thrived as one of Long Island’s most active Habitat for Humanity units. Club members have built houses as far away as Houston, Texas and Chattanooga, Tennessee and as close as Suffolk County.
Mr. Gilmor is also the advisor for Natural Helpers at the High School, a group of well-trained students that help their peers work through personal issues and challenges. The Natural Helper program was developed over 25 years ago and it is designed to teach peer selected students the facilitative listening skills needed to effectively help their peers. The students possess an innate passion to help all individuals around them to be the best they can be.
Mr. Gilmor earned a Master of Social Work degree at SUNY Stony Brook in 1994. He later obtained certification as a school administrator through Long Island University. He was employed as a social worker in the Elwood School District from January 1997 through the summer of 2003. He then joined Huntington UFSD in 2003 and was thrilled to reconnect with Huntington education community, having completed his school social work internship at Huntington High School from September 1993 to June 1994.
At a crossroads in his early career in the business world, a friend introduced Mr. Gilmor to the Huntington Youth Bureau and a potential career path in social work. He loved working with kids and discovered a way forward to career fulfillment and happiness. He noted, “I never looked back. Working with students is an incredible opportunity to build and grow our future leaders.”
Mr. Gilmor and his wife, Janet, raised their children, Robert and Michael, in the Huntington township in the Elwood School District. Mr. Gilmor loves his family and friends dearly and has faced some unimaginable challenges, but together they pull each other through. They love living in Huntington and being a part of the community’s rich and diverse culture.
“Huntington is a magnificent melting pot that brings so many different cultures together. I have always said that we have great wealth and great poverty – and great humanity, generosity, and kindness. I hope that we as a community continue to grow and become an example for the greater world.”
Congratulations to Mr. Gilmor! We are so glad you are part of our world!