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Q&A: Tom Maguire and Michael Gibbs Return to SHS

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Maroon Staff
Tom Maguire temporarily returns to SHS to fill in for Mr. Morgan

On Tuesday, December 19th, retired SHS teacher Tom Maguire returned to the classroom to cover for SHS Social Studies teacher Andrew Morgan, who left for paternity leave. Maguire taught history at SHS for 31 years before retiring in 2020, and enjoys being back in the classroom.

“To be asking questions and talking history and leading discussions and getting kids to think about stuff, I have missed that enormously,” Maguire said. Maguire also shared however, that this experience has reminded him of how exhausting teaching is. “I’m really enjoying my time back at SHS, but I’ll be happy to go back to the relatively stress-free life of a retired person.”

What advice do you have for students?

“Something I’ve tried hard to live by since I retired, that I’m pretty sure I could not have done before I retired, is “Don’t rush.” Life at Scarsdale High School is a blur. It’s hurry hurry hurry from day one. The first day of school, you were putting it in overdrive, and being retired allows you just not to rush. And the more people can do that, the better off they are.”

Why did you decide to be a social studies teacher?

“I’ve always loved history my whole life. As a little kid, on family vacations, I wanted to go to Civil War battlefields. [I’d say] let’s go to Philadelphia and see where they signed the Constitution. I was a total history nerd my whole life.”

What was your favorite subject when you were a student?

“History and chorus.”

What are some of your hobbies?

“I’m a huge baseball fan. The last two summers, I’ve had season tickets to the Chicago Cubs and I’ve traveled to Chicago for baseball season. I love classical music. I go to a lot of concerts and operas with my wife. Travel generally. I was in Thailand two days before I started working here back in December.”

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? 

“I have never been to Scotland. I have Scottish ancestors, and. I would put Scotland very high on the list to sort of connect with the heritage stuff. I’m mostly Irish, but I’ve been to Ireland. And going to Scotland, it’s beautiful countryside and they have great music there.”

Gibbs is returning to the Counseling Department, where he was a guidance counselor for thirty years. Photo Credit: Maroon Staff

 

On December 6, 2023, Ava Laera, a dean at SHS, left for maternity leave and will return in late winter. During this time, Michael Gibbs, a former SHS dean for over thirty years, is returning to the Counseling Department and temporarily filling in for Laera. 

“It was wonderful returning here. It’s such an infusion of energy to be around you guys, to see you in the hall, to interact with you, and to meet you. I went to every homeroom to meet Dean Laera’s students, and I was greeted with these happy faces and welcomes and thank-yous,” Gibbs expressed. Upon his return, he was also able to see his old colleagues, some of whom he worked with for decades, and was thrilled to find that they were still energetic and committed to their profession.

When asked about advice and wisdom he has for SHS students, Gibbs recalled an impactful speech that the president of the Board of Education gave during graduation in 1989, in which he challenged the graduates to make a difference in the world and to fulfill the responsibility of spreading the good fortune that they had been blessed with as Scarsdale students to the rest of the world. Gibbs thought that this was a wonderful piece of advice to give graduates going out to the world from a place like Scarsdale. 

“I know that [high school is] filled with pressures, challenges, and hard days, but because you’ve lived through those days, because you’ve been given the gift of parents who want the best for you, of teachers who go out of their way to accommodate you and to teach you and to give you the gift of knowledge and self-discovery, and then you back that up with a certain amount of financial privilege and a certain amount of position, you guys have a springboard from which to jump into incredible heights. Use that springboard,” Gibbs stated.

Why did you decide to become a dean?

“My high school counselor was not very good. I thought to myself, ‘there’s GOT to be a better way to do this,’ and so at 17 I decided that I wanted to be a high school counselor.”

What was your favorite subject in school?

“Psychology, and then choir.”

What are some of your hobbies?

“I enjoy reading, traveling, and playing pickleball. I also like writing and working with wood.”

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

“I would go to Luxembourg to be with my son.”

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