Gilson (right) stands next to BOE Member Sherry Lambert
MARCH 8, 2023— A long-time Pal-Mac teacher and alumna received a major award for her more than three decades of dedication to the District.
Retired elementary teacher Anne Gilson Tuesday night received the 39th Annual Friend of Education Award during the Board of Education meeting. The meeting happened in the same building Gilson taught at from 1972 until her retirement in 2004.
Gilson, a 1967 Pal-Mac grad, studied at Roberts Wesleyan College and SUNY Brockport. Many students fondly remember her as either Miss Baker or Mrs.Gilson. Regardless of her last name, she’s known for her energy, enthusiasm, and genuine love for teaching and the love of her students.
But she was recognized for what happened beyond the classroom.
In 1990, Anne took the idea of getting her students to Albany and put it into action. Students and families took numerous rides on the Amtrak service to the state capital. The trips included several stops at various museums and landmarks.
There were years of staying in dormitory-style housing and others staying in hotels. Over those years, Gilson developed relationships with boat captains, train conductors, museum docents, and legislative staff.
She is a celebrity in Albany and on the train to get the group there.
“It was fun, I enjoyed doing it, even in retirement I still enjoyed doing it,” Gilson said. “It gave me an opportunity to let people know what state they live in and go down and see Albany in person as opposed to looking in the book.”
The trips continued for the last 30 years, with roughly 75 visits. Gilson's run as trip coordinator ended in August 2022 when she announced she would be stepping back.
The final trip came with quite a story.
Gilson broke her leg leading up to the trip and used a wheelchair to get around. The possibility of her making the trip down seemed unlikely at the time.. Or so we thought.
“My husband said you’re not gonna go to Albany, and I said oh yeah, I am,” Gilson said.
Sure enough, she did, with a little help.
Gilson says Superintendent Dr. Bob Ike, as well as some moms who were nurses, helped her out. She says the group carried her in her chair at times.
Her determination to finish the final trip despite her injury was just one of the reasons Dr.Ike said he was proud of Gilson.
"It's hard to put into words what Anne has meant to Pal-Mac. Anne is more than just a friend of education, she embodies it. Her dedication to her students and the importance of learning cannot be understated. Through Anne's efforts on the Albany trip, she's opened students to an educational experience that's continued to be a proud Pal-Mac tradition. Ever the champion for the District, I cannot thank her enough for her selfless mission to make Pal-Mac a better place."
It’s not known who will take the lead on future trips, but in reflecting on the last 30 years, Gilson said she made a lot of memories. She also took time to reflect on what the Pal-Mac community has continued to mean to her. Tears began to fill her eyes as she responded.
“It’s where I went to school, and it’s continuing to be a part of the family,” Gilson said. “I’ve lived in Macedon all my life anyhow. So I will just continue to be a part of the community and keep doing things for people in the community and seeing where that goes.”
A Pal-Mac alumna. A Pal-Mac teacher. A Pal-Mac volunteer. A champion for Pal-Mac kids. For over three decades, Anne Gilson shared her love of history and her amazing, positive attitude with students and families.