Michael Samuel Gilmor was the best of the best. A John H. Glenn High School graduate, he was well known to Huntington High School students through his father, who is a dean in the building. When he passed away suddenly at home of an aortic aneurism at only 22 years of age in August 2018, it was a crushing blow to everyone that knew and loved him.
Mr. Gilmor’s father, Robert is the founder of Huntington’s Habitat for Humanity club chapter. The father brought his son along on several trips the club made to rebuild housing in storm ravaged communities across the country. During those trips the younger Mr. Gilmor and Huntington club members got to know each other quite well.
Michael Gilmor and his girlfriend, Briana Krewson in Europe during his Fulbright English teaching assistantship in Poland.
A three-sport athlete (football, basketball and baseball) and Homecoming Day king at John H. Glenn, Mr. Gilmor graduated fifth in his class and went on to achieve great things at Providence College, where he changed his academic major from chemistry to biochemistry in his junior year after taking a Chemistry of Living Organisms class. He made the change of majors even though it meant meeting additional course requirements. A teaching assistant in the laboratory of Professor Kenneth R. Overly, he graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry along with a business studies certificate.
Mr. Gilmor was Providence College’s Highest GPA in Concentration Award recipient for the biochemistry department, chemistry department and business department. He played intramural water polo, volleyball and basketball and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in his free time.
Choosing to learn from every person he met, Mr. Gilmor used that knowledge to impart upon others love, humor, respect, happiness and an overwhelming feeling of acceptance. His true gift was that he made people that he met along the way feel special and the most important person in his life at that moment in time. A quote used by him on many occasions that was given to him by his mom, Janet, sums up how he went about his days: “Life is far too short to sweat the small things and to ignore the amazing opportunities you have been presented with.”
The Michael Samuel Gilmor Memorial Scholarship is a very special award. Huntington Class of 2020 members Chas Forte, Cat Jamison and Rocio Trujillo are three exceptional young people and worthy recipients of the inaugural Gilmor scholarships.
Mr. Forte is headed to Roger Williams University to study construction management. President of the Young Leaders youth development organization, he participated in football, wrestling, ice hockey and lacrosse throughout high school. He was also a Natural Helper, assisting classmates as they work through challenging personal situations.
Ms. Jamison has been recruited to play volleyball on Bucknell University’s NCAA Division I team. The teenager plans to pursue an academic major in markets, innovation and design and a minor in art entrepreneurship and English. President of the National Honor Society and Natural Helpers, she played viola in the high school orchestra and sang in the a capella choir. She was a member of the robotics club’s highly regarded Chairman’s Award team.
Ms. Trujillo intends to focus on criminal justice/police studies/law enforcement at St. John’s University. She has been involved in Natural Helpers and Young Leaders and served as president of Huntington’s Art Honor Society and treasurer of the Spanish Honor Society.
Mr. Forte and Ms. Jamison received $500 stipends while Ms. Trujillo was presented with a $100 gift card.
At the time of his sudden and shocking passing, Mr. Gilmor had just completed a year of teaching English in Poland through the Fulbright English teaching assistantship program. He was Providence’s first science major to receive a Fulbright award and was one of just 15 students nationally to be chosen to teach in Poland.
Mr. Gilmor said he chose Poland because it welcomes teaching assistants with science backgrounds and because his great-grandparents were born there. He learned Poland had the first Habitat for Humanity chapter in Europe. Fulbright is the flagship international exchange program of the U.S. government.
As a Fulbright English teaching assistant in Poland, Mr. Gilmor taught English as a second language at Łomża State University of Applied Sciences and shared his knowledge of American culture by organizing activities and lessons in public schools across Poland. He especially enjoyed working with Polish youth in remote areas of the country, volunteering his time outside of the university teaching schedule to ensure as many students as possible had an opportunity to learn from an American grantee. He encouraged inclusivity during his hands-on lessons and encouraged his students to follow their dreams. He lived by the principles of teaching through experience and stories, through laughter and fun and through service.
On April 25, 2019, the Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy and Łomża State University of Applied Sciences organized a tree-planting ceremony in memory of Mr. Gilmor. The ceremony took place in Łomża, on the university’s campus. The event was attended by US, Polish and Fulbright officials along with professors and students who mentored or worked with Mr. Gilmor. In their remarks, speakers honored his memory and his involvement in educating Polish youth.
The oak tree planted in Łomża (with an engraved placard that bears Mr. Gilmor’s name) is a living symbol of hope and healing that will ensure that his legacy lives on.