Alumni Spotlight: Cassie Gilboy, '19

Cassie Gilboy came to the University of Richmond to pursue a career in medicine, but volunteering with Youth Life Foundation of Richmond inspired her to major in education. She went on to encourage many fellow Spiders to mentor, and as a senior, she received the Jane Stockman Award for her engagement.

What are you working on now?

I am a first-grade teacher in Richmond Public Schools. I teach twenty-one wild, loving, brilliant six-year-olds and try to tell them I love and miss them every chance I get.

How has the current pandemic changed your work?

Obviously, I can't teach my students in the same capacity anymore. This has been an adjustment for us all and is really sad. However, I've been able to serve as my school's volunteer lead for food distribution. We give out food, diapers, basic hygiene items, etc. to our families. It has been a gift to meet families where they are and provide things needed right now. Students can't learn the same way if their basic needs aren't met. It also has been a bridge between home and school, allowing us to provide resources, like homework and books to families. I would've never imagined the school year would look like this, but it reminds me that I am a teacher because I love kids & their families, and this is what my role as a teacher looks like for now.

What is your advice for the Class of 2020?

Exhale. I know that you probably are overwhelmed in a flurry of uncertainty, moving, job-searching, etc. You are doing the best you can with what you have! This pandemic does not undermine the last 4 years of your incredible hard work, sacrifice and growth. You have everything you need to be successful and you are ready. Take a deep breath, soak it all in and celebrate with the people who love you. You deserve it and we are all so proud of you.