With the close of the 2017-2018 school year, we have to say goodbye to some pretty incredible people, each of whom has made a lasting impression at the Academy, whether through their involvement in student programming, the dorm, maintenance efforts or serving up delicious meals with the world’s most infectious smile. We will miss Pat Brubaker, Lina Bruscino, Bonnie Busch, Cyndi-Kramer Smith, Joe Sepchinski, Eugene Vasilevicus, Bob DeAngelo, Don Zack and Dan Lipowski and wish them all the best in their retirements.
When Pat Brubaker arrived at Gilmour in 1999, she started as an English teacher. But, her ability to write and to connect with students coupled with her can-do attitude soon saw her helping with college counseling. She discovered her passion for advising students and earned her master’s in counseling while working here. She took over the helm of the counseling department 15 years ago, overseeing both the college counselors and the school counselors, and the department has grown exponentially during that time. A little known fact is that until last year, Gilmour was the only independent school with school counselors in addition to college counselors. Pat feels that that is indicative of Gilmour’s dedication to meeting the needs of each student. When she first started, she only planned to stay for two or so years, but 19 years later, she says she stayed because “the people I work with are so inviting” and “the way we treat students at Gilmour is so different than at other places.”
Pat’s shoes will certainly be hard to fill. She has been involved in just about everything on campus and says that her favorite projects were always the ones she was working on at the time. She started Live Jive, the peer tutoring program and the writing center; has traveled to Honduras with Gilmour students and alumni seven times (and hopes to stay involved going forward in honor of her beloved friend, Tiho Teisl) and, most recently, has been teaching ESL classes for international students. She said, “The beauty of GA is that if you see a need, the powers that be will let you fill that need.”
In her retirement, Pat looks forward to not committing to anything for the first three months (we’ll see how that goes!) while enjoying bike rides and sailing with her husband, Ron, and teaching sailing lessons to five- and six-year olds. She and Ron are also hosting a young woman from Honduras as she masters English before enrolling at JCU. Pat also looks forward to spending time with her family, which includes sons, Roy and Simon, and daughter, Rachel.
Also arriving in 1999 was Lina Bruscino. And in her 19 years at Gilmour, Lina has impacted the lives of every Gilmour student – through her delicious meals served up daily in the Commons with a side of love. As students and faculty alike made their way through the line in the Commons, each could count on Lina’s contagious smile and genuine interest in them. Talking with her last week, she referenced the students, and the resident students in particular, saying, “This is their house. I do my best to make it their home. I’m here for the kids.” Reflecting back on her years here, Lina couldn’t help but giggle, thinking of the jokes she’d have with the students and the way she loved to tease them. And she couldn’t help but shed a tear thinking of saying goodbye. She said, “These kids are just amazing. In 19 years, every one of them has been so respectful. They have given me so much friendship, fun and love. I call them my kids…GA is my second family.”
As hard as it is to leave, Lina looks forward to retirement, when she will return to Italy with her husband, Antonio, to be close to two of her daughters, Caterina and Ylenia, and her four grandchildren. Lina also has two children, Antonella and Pino, and three grandchildren, who live here and she has loved getting to be close to them as they’ve grown up. But, she and her husband feel that it’s time to go home to Italy.
Another Gilmour staff member who has played a significant role in helping make students feel at home is Bonnie Busch. Bonnie started at Gilmour in 2005 as the Middle School administrative assistant before becoming the manager of the ice arena. She spent three years there and, during that time, worked closely with John Malloy and the hockey program. This led her to her dream job as house mother in the residence hall. Bonnie just completed her fifth year as the house mother and says that her favorite part of her job was interacting with the students and helping them adjust to being away from home. Each time they left the dorm, Bonnie could be heard telling them to “have a good time and drive safely.”
Bonnie says that she has lots of wonderful memories from her years at Gilmour, but that her favorite ones are from working with Coach Malloy and the hockey program. She loved getting to know the students and the parents outside of school.
Now that she’s retiring, Bonnie looks forward to getting a lot of things done around her house and spending time with her three grandchildren who live in town. She hopes to do a lot of traveling, both domestically and abroad, and wants to catch up on her reading. But, she says she just got hooked on Netflix, so who knows?!
Cyndi has been teaching at Gilmour since 2003, when she started as an exercise physiology teacher and tennis coach. Her role expanded to include a strength training and conditioning class (this class actually collected data for the National Fitness Foundation), health class and a variety of stress management and PE classes.
Cyndi’s advice for a new teacher would be to get involved with the students and the faculty in as many activities as you can. She has coached boys and girls tennis for 15 years and was involved with the Wellness Program for a number of years and believes that this is where relationships develop and that it allows you to get to know students and staff members on a much more personal level. She says that there are two reasons she has remained at Gilmour since ’03 – the Gilmour community and Br. Robert. She said, “There is no other group that can compare when you need compassion and support during stressful times.”
Cyndi wore two hats in the GA community – teacher and mom. Her sons, Brandon and Jarred, graduated in 2005 and 2006, respectively, and were talented hockey players who played for Coach Malloy. Cyndi says she has a number of very special Gilmour memories from her involvement with the hockey program, such as housing 13 team members one night before they headed to an out-of-state tournament. She also cites as a special memory coaching a host of tennis players who went on to compete at the collegiate and professional levels.
Cyndi has boundless energy and plans to use her retirement to pick up previous passions for which she has not had time recently. These include ballroom dancing, yoga, travel, cycling, swimming and gardening. She will also compete in tennis (her women’s team advanced to nationals last year!) and plans to continue to coach tennis in the upcoming seasons. She is also involved in her sons’ business, NOOMA, and looks forward to dedicating more time to that and to spending time with family.
Joe is the retiree with the longest years of service – 45 ½ years! He started at Gilmour on September 6, 1972 and never looked back. Joe was involved in everything maintenance-related, and was almost always the man behind the setups. He says that he can’t name a favorite event on campus because they are all good events and that the thing he’ll miss the most is spending time with his co-workers and colleagues.
Joe has one son, Jonathan, age 22. He looks forward to relaxing and enjoying each day as it comes.
Right behind Joe is Eugene, who started at Gilmour on September 26, 1994. Eugene’s specialty was plumbing and his favorite project that he worked on was shortly after he started, when he installed a new boiler in Tudor House. He has enjoyed the annual Christmas party each year and says that he will definitely miss the people he has met during his career at Gilmour. Eugene has been married to his wife, Sharon, for 25 years, and is excited to travel, fish and enjoy the outdoors with more free time now.
Bob has been at Gilmour since July 22, 2002 and, among other, things, he has handled a lot of the electrical work on campus. He’s going to miss all the people at Gilmour, but is so excited to spend time with his family. He has been married for 41 years to his wife, Marian, and they have two daughters, Maria and Rachel. Maria lives in London, Ohio and Rachel lives in Solon. Bob has two granddaughters, Hannah and Leah, who live .2 miles away from him, which they say is still too far!
Don’s career at Gilmour began on July 29, 2002 and he was the point person for all things HVAC-related. Asked about his favorite campus project during his 16 years, he said he most enjoyed the building of the natatorium. His favorite memory was working each year on the Lower School’s Christmas Family Gathering and watching the children get so excited to see Santa (Br. Richard Keller, C.S.C.). He says he will miss all the people he has met through the years working at both the Upper and Lower Schools. Don looks forward to having more time to travel, garden and hide from the cold weather! He also looks forward to spending more time with his wife of 25 years, Nora; their daughters, Danielle and Suzy; their sons-in-law, Michael and Rob; and their grandchildren, Lukas, Libby, Mary Kate, Audrey and Zachary.
Dan started at Gilmour in May 2010 and has worked primarily at the Lower School. He has loved watching the children progress throughout his eight years on campus. His favorite event on campus is Homecoming each year.
Dan is married to Kathie, Before/After Care and Preschool Prep Programs Coordinator, and they have two children, Mark (deceased) and Kristin, a second-grade teacher. He looks forward to having more time to hike, bike and relax in his retirement.