Gillis remembered as talented, kind, compassionate by school community
[anvplayer video=”5173156″ station=”998132″]
The Schuylerville Central School District is remembering Kaylin Gillis, 20, as a bright student who could light up a room with her personality and cared for everyone around her.
The 2021 Schuylerville High School graduate died over the weekend. The car she was riding in turned into the wrong driveway in Hebron, Washington County by accident. Police say the homeowner shot at the car, killing Gillis.
School leaders came together on Tuesday to reflect on Gillis’ friendly personality, and the legacy that she left.
“Her smile would light up a room. Her personality would light up any classroom that she walked into or any club activity that she participated in,” said High School Principal James Ducharme.
They remembered Gillis as a cheerleader and avid artist at the high school, district leaders said, with some of her work published in district publications.
“This artwork we still have two years after her graduation. That just speaks volumes to the impact she had, why she was here,” Ducharme said, as some of Gillis’ artwork was displayed on a table.
Gillis was also involved in the Future Farmers of America program during her time in the district.
District leaders read statements from some of her former teachers.
“She was a joy to work with and a positive role model for her peers,” read one.
“She was kind, caring and compassionate. She really was a friend to all, and cared for everyone around her,” read another.
“She was kind and considerate to those around her, and a joy to have in class,” read a third.
Gillis has two siblings at the school district in seventh and ninth grade.
“Here in Schuylerville, we have a very, very close-knit community,” said Katie Elsworth, the middle school principal. “We say to them upon graduation that we will always be your school family. We will always be here to support you and take care of you and love you.”
“When something happens to one of our students who graduated, it hurts our hearts just as much as when they’re here,” she continued.
School Superintendent Gregg Barthelmas said the school board held a moment of silence in memory of Gillis on Monday night.
“I just ask that you keep the family in your thoughts and prayers,” he said. “If they need anything from the school district, we’ll be there.”
Ducharme tried to sum up Gillis’ lasting legacy in a few sentences.
“What she was able to do in the classroom and the impacts she made on teachers and her classmates, it was seamless for her because of her bright smile, her caring and warm personality and the way that she could adapt and make connections with people,” he said. “I think that’s the biggest legacy that she leaves.”
The Gillis Family released this statement:
Friends, family, media and to those who have shown support:
Kaylin was a kind, beautiful soul and a ray of light to anyone who was lucky enough to know her. She was a big sister, much loved daughter, devoted friend, and partner to her loving boyfriend. She was just beginning to find her way in the world with kindness, humor, and love. Kaylin was a talented artist, an honor student, a Disney fanatic, and loved animals. She was looking forward to starting college in Florida to pursue her dream of becoming a marine biologist. She was taken from us far too soon, and we are devastated. Our family will never be the same but we will be guided by Kaylin’s positivity, optimism, and joy as we learn to live with her loss.
Our family would like to send sincere thanks to the thousands of other people and other families who’ve expressed their support in this difficult time. Your well wishes and prayers are deeply appreciated, have been heard and will carry us through this difficult journey. We ask for privacy as our family grieves the loss of our beloved daughter, and focuses on celebrating her short but beautiful life.