Scholarship Crucial Support for Current Students
Nothing about Jim Gilmartin's '62 time at King's was traditional. After graduating from Pittston City High School in 1952, Jim went to work. In 1958, at the age of 23, he decided that working in a dress factory was not his life-long ambition. He sought help enrolling in King's evening school from Frank Swingle, a fellow volunteer firefighter and King's English professor. An only child, Jim's life changed in 1960 when his mother died and the place where he worked went out of business. With the help of Swingle, Jim became a full-time student, graduated in 1962, and immediately returned to Pittston City schools to teach. He went on to have a 30-year career in public education, including 14 years as the superintendent of the Hamburg Area School District in Berks County.
Ten years ago, Jim and his wife, Pauline, established a scholarship at King's to benefit students from Pittston Area or Wyoming Area High Schools. The couple then asked the Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, who honored Jim as Man of the Year in 1985, to work with King's to establish a protocol for the scholarship.
"People in the Pittston area were very good to me when I was growing up. This scholarship is a way of giving back."
The current recipient of the scholarship is Amanda Yakobitis, a sophomore in King's acclaimed Physician Assistant program. Amanda's consistent Dean's List status earns her a bonus in keeping with the rules established for the scholarship. Besides being an excellent student, Amanda is an active volunteer for the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic in Wilkes-Barre. She also tutors students having difficulty in chemistry. Amanda will receive aid from the scholarship until her graduation.
Jim's wife of 45 years died last year following a courageous battle with ovarian cancer. "Pauline used to say how much she wanted to continue the scholarship if something happened to me . . . and when she passed away I started thinking seriously about its future," Jim said.
After discussions with Father O'Hara and the development staff at King's, Jim decided to endow the scholarship through his estate plan. Because of Jim's decision, The Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick James A. Gilmartin Scholarship will exist in perpetuity.
Anyone interested in establishing a scholarship to aid current King's students is invited to contact Lisa Shafer at 5702085882 or [email protected]
Published Spring 2010
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