How has your job changed over the past 30 years?

The school day at Hinsdale Middle School begins at 8:25 a.m., but Gail Vescovi typically arrives hours earlier to walk the halls, get a little exercise and take in the quiet before 700 children and dozens of teachers and staff fill the building at Garfield Avenue and First Street.

Vescovi will walk the halls for the last time when school ends this year. After 30 years in District 181, she has chosen to retire.

Vescovi began working for the district in 1993 as a part-time lunch supervisor and playground aide at Monroe School. After serving in several positions throughout the district, she settled into HMS in 1996 and has been there ever since, first working in student services and then in her current position as administrative assistant to the principal and vice principal.

Prior to the construction of Clarendon Hills Middle School in 2000, as many as 1,200 students crowded into the halls and classrooms of HMS.

"It was crazy," said Vescovi, who stayed to see not only the opening of a second middle school in District 181, but the demolition and reconstruction of the current HMS building. From her office, she had a front-row seat to the project, Vescovi said.

While her workplace has seen big changes, Vescovi said much has remained the same throughout her three decades at District 181.

"The focus is on the kids. That's never changed," she said. From the administrators to the teachers to support staff like her, Hinsdale Middle School is full of dedicated people who work well together for the students, Vescovi said.

While her title suggests significant time spent behind a desk and computer, Vescovi said she also has had plenty of opportunities to work with staff, teachers, parents and even students. Whether it's a parent who is worried about a bus schedule or a student who is stressed about a class schedule, Vescovi said she enjoys being the person who can help. Sometimes, she helps simply by being someone to talk to. When a new family enters the school, Vescovi takes time to introduce them to the building and to tell them about the community.

"It's a very rewarding part of my job," she said.

Vescovi said she recognizes that a building filled with hundreds of adolescents isn't the place for everyone, but she enjoys being a small part of what can be a difficult and formative time for students. She said students who enter as intimidated and insecure sixth graders often emerge from eighth grade with confidence and self-assurance to take them through high school and beyond.

"I just love to see it," she said.

Retirement will offer Vescovi time to pursue life's other passions, including a new grandson.

"I have a passion for writing," said Vescovi, who will spend more time creating poetry after the school year ends. She said she also intends to resume her volunteer work with the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

While she looks forward to more time to savor a morning cup of coffee or spoil her grandson, Vescovi said her departure from HMS is bittersweet.

"I just enjoy my job so much," she said.

- by Sandy Illian Bosch

Author Bio

Sandy Illian Bosch is a contributing writer to The Hinsdalean