Everyone has their favorite teacher and Bella Thompson has hers. The Huntington High School senior considers Robert Gilmor III tops in her book.
Ms. Thompson is a cheerful teenager who excels in a variety of areas. Mr. Gilmor is the high school’s dean of student support. The two are collaborating more closely than ever this year and each has the utmost respect for the other.
Mr. Gilmor is the faculty advisor for Natural Helpers and Huntington’s Habitat for Humanity chapter. A graduate of the College of Wooster in Ohio, he 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 from January 1997 through the summer of 2003 as a social worker in the Elwood School District.
Natural Helpers features well-trained students helping their peers work through personal issues and challenges both big and small. The high school’s Habitat chapter was founded by Mr. Gilmor in 2003. It has a 16 year record of helping victims of catastrophes both near and far as well as being the driving force behind building a house right here in Suffolk for someone in need of shelter.
Ms. Thompson is the president of both Natural Helpers and Habitat for Humanity so she works with Mr. Gilmor every school day and the two have established a strong bond.
“He is my role model,” said Ms. Thompson about her favorite faculty member. “Ever since freshman year he has been by my side supporting me 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. He puts mine and other kid’s problems before his; even if he is facing his own problems.”
Captain of the Huntington Highsteppers competitive dance team, Ms. Thompson is also a Huntington Youth Court ambassador and a member of the high school’s National Honor Society chapter.
“Bella has grown into such an outgoing, mature, well loved, passionate, high achieving student that will do amazing things to benefit the world around her,” Mr. Gilmor said. “Her endearing perspective on all who surround her promises to improve the lives of all the people she comes in contact with in the years ahead. Bella has learned to persevere in the eye of trouble where others may have given up. She does not know the word quit and I am quite confident she will succeed at whatever task she takes on in the future. Her care for others will always come from deep in her soul and she will go to great lengths to help and encourage those around her.”
Ms. Thompson is mulling college possibilities and Mr. Gilmor is helping her sort through the many choices and which schools might be the best fit. She’s particularly interested in the University of New Hampshire and Sacred Heart University.
The senior has spent time thinking about what she wants to study in college and ultimately pursue as a career. “Social work definitely,” Ms. Thompson said. “Thanks to Gil, I found a passion to help others. Hopefully he will retire when I’m done with college and I can come and take over for him. Ha-ha.”
Born in Huntington Hospital, Ms. Thompson started her journey through the district in a Flower Hill Primary School kindergarten classroom. The teenager has had a very positive experience in Huntington UFSD and she is loved by her classmates and respected by the teachers and support staff. She will never forget her time in the district.
“I’ve loved it,” Ms. Thompson said. “I’m so thankful to have grown up in Huntington and gone to this high school. All the faculty and staff have made this the greatest experience of a lifetime. I cherish all the memories that I have made throughout my time in this district. They have all helped me grow in so many ways.”