A Goodbye to Gavin

By: Simone Dunbar — Managing Editor

Narrator: “Mrs. Elizabeth Gavin, beloved assistant principal of SHS, served her last day on September 1, 2021. This news came as a devastating surprise to many Sharon High students. Mrs. Gavin is moving on to Belmont High School where she will continue her career in school administration. In sitting down with The Talon, Mrs. Gavin offered insight into her past with SHS and her hopes for its future.” 

What is your favorite thing about the Sharon High School community?

Mrs. Elizabeth Gavin: “The kids, 100 percent. I mean, it’s very sad to be leaving. The staff is great. The school is—brand-new building—but the kids at Sharon High School are absolutely amazing. This is the third high school I’ve worked in. By far the smartest, most compassionate, the most active, [and] the funniest. It’s just the best group of kids and I’m gonna miss them.”

How did the famous “Wuzzles” (word-puzzles) get their start?

Mrs. Elizabeth Gavin: “So, my first year I had a terrible time connecting with the seniors they wanted really nothing to do with this middle-aged woman trying to tell jokes, but I desperately wanted to get to know them and make connections. The first one was Domino. I had seen it out somewhere, so I tried it, and the kids seemed to like it. So, I just started creating. It took a lot, so I did them more often at first and then I just reserved it to one day a week. It was a different way to connect with kids on a different level. Some kids who might not have thought they were the best math student or the best writer, sometimes they totally excelled at the Wuzzles. So, it was way to get to know kids, have some fun, [and] see different personalities; some kids are very competitive. So, it was to connect with kids, get to know them, and to have some fun at lunch.”

Why do you try to learn every student’s name?

Mrs. Elizabeth Gavin: “I like to. I had gone to a training, years and years ago, about how bad it is when kids feel invisible in school. So, it has always been kind of my secret mission to look for that student, especially, who is trying to be invisible and make that connection. And anyways I think learning people’s names makes my job more enjoyable. I’m hoping it makes the kids feel like they’re seen, which is what I want. It’s hard, I will say.  I try so hard but then I feel so bad when I get it wrong Or I know three out of four names but sometimes I worry ‘Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this,’ but I think it’s important.”

If you could encompass your entire SHS journey with one word, what would it be?

Mrs. Elizabeth Gavin: “Entire Sharon…? Hmm . I’m gonna say rollercoaster.” 

Interviewer: “Okay.”

Mrs. Elizabeth Gavin: “There have been definitely some exciting build-up crescendos there have definitely been some **screach** near-death experiences but overall exhilarating and fun and I would sign up again.”

Do you have any parting words?

Mrs. Elizabeth Gavin: “Thank you, comes to mind. [I’m] appreciating being so welcomed into this community. I can’t say I had been to Sharon ever in my life before this job. It’s just a beautiful community, and I don’t know how self-aware people are, meaning: I don’t know if [students] realize how wonderful this place is: how communal, committed to social activism [and] community service. That’s different than most schools that I’ve ever been in or read about. So, it truly is a special place, and I hope you all as you venture out– and there are complaints that the school’s breaking down and there’s all kinds of negatives but I hope you take a minute to really realize how special this place is. That’s all, thank you”

And now a word from the school…

Narrator: “Mrs. Gavin’s lasting impact is reflected in the students and staff of Sharon High School who regard her highly.

What is one word you would use to describe Ms. Gavin?”

Mme. Kathleen Turner: “Ms. Gavin is dedicated”

Shelby Okstein: “…enthusiastic”

Olivia Nau: “…welcoming”

Emma Botelho: “…kind”

Ms. Courtnay Malcolm: “…upbeat” 

Daphne Theiler: “…funny” 

Jasmine Ni: “…really energetic” 

Emma Botelho: “…driven”

Niki Murthy: “…really enthusiastic”

Erin Schustek: “…welcoming”

Shelby Okstein: “Whenever I see her in the hallways, she goes ‘Shelby, Shelby, Shelby!’”

Jasmine Ni: “Every time you talk to her she has a funny story or anecdote to share with you that just brings some more energy to the day.”

Niki Murthy: “I really like how she’s always so willing and enthusiastic to help students. If they need anything they can just always go up to her and the door is always open.”

Mme. Kathleen Turner: “I love that… Ms. Gavin… that you can memorize everyone’s names, you can greet every, and that you tell really funny corny jokes.”

Olivia Nau: “[I love] when we would do Wuzzling on Fridays at lunch.”

Abby Gott: I just love how I can go and chill in her office whenever, get some food and mints, and yeah, she’s just the best.”

Ms. Courtnay Malcolm: “My favorite thing about Ms. Gavin is how competent she is, and she always laughs no matter how bad my jokes are.”

Ben Levinson: “Her puzzles, I’m gonna miss them.”

Daphne Theiler: “I loved how she would always come up to us during lunch, and we would always have fun conversations.”

Erin Schustek: “Ms. Gavin is just very welcoming so I love seeing her in the hallways or when I come into school because she can always brighten up my day.”

Shelby Okstein: “We’ll miss you and come to our graduation.”

Ms. Courtnay Malcolm: “Ms. Gavin, I wish you all the best in Belmont High School, and just remember what I told you, which I can’t say on a video, that no one is ever going got say to you except me, and go Prince!”

Jasmine Ni: “I’m gonna miss you. I wish you the best wherever you’re going next, and please come back and visit us.”

Niki Murthy: “I will miss you so much!”

Ben Levinson: “Good luck at your new school.”

Emma Botelho: “Yeah, good luck! Thank you for everything you’ve done.”

Ben Levinson: “Bye! Thank you.”

Mme. Kathleen Turner: “Best of luck! We’ll miss you, and come visit! Au revoir!”

Jasmine Ni: “You’ll be a guest of honor at our graduation!”

Olivia Nau: “We’re really gonna miss you at Sharon High School!”

Erin Schustek: “We’re gonna miss you so much, and good luck as you go off into the world!”

Daphne Theiler: “Good luck, and we will miss you!”

 Abby Gott: “Yeah, we love you!”

Shelby Okstein: “Love you!”

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