By Jackson Tacka
After forty-seven years, Mrs. Vivian Sawyer will be retiring this year as a part of the Gilman staff. Mrs. Sawyer first came to Gilman in 1972 as a secretary for Gilman’s Upward Bound program, which was founded to help students from low-income high schools reach higher levels of education that would otherwise not be available to them. This work in the Upward Bound program made her the perfect fit to take over as the College Counseling Administrative Assistant, a role in which she has excelled for the past fifteen years.
Often putting together events behind the scenes, Mrs. Sawyer has helped keep Upper School life afloat in her time here. Mrs. Sawyer handles everything from organizing the Senior/Parent breakfast to scheduling all of the colleges that visit Gilman throughout the year. Last year, she brought in 180 colleges from across the country to visit Gilman students. She also introduced the Gilman College Fair. Working very closely with the college counselors, she has kept records of transcripts for students and updated the Naviance system Gilman uses for the college admission process. Mr. Baker explained, “Her enthusiasm for working with students and the spirit of teamwork she brings to the college counseling office will be dearly missed. No matter whom she was working with, Ms. Sawyer made that person feel cared for and understood. It was her genuine concern for others and her desire to help them, however, that made her a foundational figure at Gilman.”
Mrs. Sawyer is looking forward to spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren, in her retirement. When she is not spending time with family, Mrs. Sawyer looks forward to being able to travel as well as work in her garden. This year, Mrs. Sawyer reflected on her opportunities to speak in front of the Gilman community during the 9/11 assembly as well as the Thanksgiving convocation this fall. Her fondest memories of Gilman were the people; she reminisced about both the respect of all the students she interacted with as well as the great mentorship she received from her colleagues when she was new at Gilman. As her time at Gilman comes to an end, Mrs. Sawyer leaves the Gilman community with the message, “Gilman was a great place to work. We learn a lot and have made relationships that will last forever. It is a great community, and I’m glad this is the path my life took.” Thank you so much for everything you have done for Gilman, Mrs. Sawyer. We wish you the best in retirement!