By Stephen Tool, MCIN Staff
John Gavin doesn’t look like a typical school guidance counselor. His fashion statement doesn’t include drab colors with personality to match, the ubiquitous sweater vests and general look of disarray. Gavin wears slacks and a polo shirt and looks like the trained wrestler he is.
Gavin is the grade 7–12 school guidance counselor for the Mineral County School District. After seven months, he’s settled into his job and loves it.
A Scranton, Penn., native, Gavin also attended the University of Scranton, ultimately obtaining his Master’s degree from University of Phoenix.
Gavin spent the last 14 years in Salt Lake City, Utah, as guidance counselor, athletic director and wrestling coach at an exclusive academy. While helping his recently graduated daughter sign up for employment on a teacher’s website, Gavin himself posted a resume expressing interest for employment in either California or Nevada.
An hour later, “I got a call from the principal in Hawthorne. I looked it up on the map and I thought ‘Wow, that’s a big lake there.’ I fell in love with Hawthorne over the Internet!”
Gavin, along with his wife, 3rd grade teacher Anna Gavin and younger daughter, Shaylee, packed up and moved to Hawthorne.
When asked about the differences between Mineral County schools and the academy where he taught for 14 years, Gavin only hesitated for a second. “The last school I taught, the private school, had a $9,000 a year tuition. I think the students, the parents, because they were paying tuition, they felt very entitled. There was no appreciation for anything you did for the students.
“Here, you do the smallest thing and students and parents thank you. The children here are better mannered. It’s really refreshing.”
Gavin finds Hawthorne a welcoming community. “I moved down here with two U-Hauls, and when we got here, the football coach and eight players were waiting to help.”
Though he has little spare time, he enjoys taking his family out to explore the area. His two oldest children are grown, but he still has a 7-year-old daughter, Shaylee, at home.
The best part of Gavin’s job is that he plays the good guy.
“Kids will be kids, and teenagers will be teenagers,” he said. “They get in trouble and don’t see a way out. I can get them in here, listen and reason with them. Many times I can offer a way out.”
Gavin says he’s still interested in wrestling and recently posted an interest sheet at the Young Citizens Activity Center and received some responses. His eventual goad is to reintroduce wrestling to MCHS as a fully sponsored team sport.
The only down side to his job, Gavin laughs, is he no longer has a secretaries or office assistants to take care of paperwork and computer duties.
“Sometimes I find myself here on Saturdays or Sundays trying to catch up,” he said. “Still, there’s so many upsides that it’s really nothing.”
He gestures out to the hall, looks around his office, puts hand behind his head and smiles. “I just love this place.”