21 Things You May Not Know About Me - Jay Gilhoi

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 | BurnettWire |


1. I was born in the Twin Cities metro area and lived there until age 7. I have yet to shake the “swampie” label.

2. My family then moved to Luck when my parents bought Paulson’s Department Store on Main Street and creatively renamed it Gilhoi’s Department Store. That building is now Luck Shoe and Saddlery.

3. I peaked in 5th grade when I won trophies for a spelling bee and punt-pass-kick contest in the same year. I don’t think I’ve won a serious trophy since then.

4. I became an Eagle Scout in my sophomore year of high school although some of my current friends would be surprised that I actually know anything about camping.

5. As a freshman I was the starting center fielder on the varsity baseball team. I was a good defensive player but mediocre offensively. I remember a couple of my many strikeouts coming at the field across from the pool in Grantsburg. I blamed it on the gnats.

6. I started at “power” forward on my high school basketball team weighing in at around 150 pounds. My best game was a 24 point/10 rebound performance against Webster, but I probably wouldn’t have scored or grabbed a rebound if I had to play against John and Leo Chenal.

7. I was proud to be able to dunk a basketball at 6’ 1” but never did it in an actual game.  That’s probably because I needed to find a really “grippy” ball and breathe hot air onto my hand to be able to palm it before extensively traveling to get the ball above the rim.

8. I was valedictorian of my high school class.

9. I earned my BA in mathematics education from St. Olaf College and my MA in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of St. Thomas.

10. While at St. Olaf, my friends formed an a cappella singing group called The Limestones.  I wrote a song for them called “Cream of Wheat (in a Malt O Meal Town)” that is still the group’s signature song today. It was performed on A Prairie Home Companion a couple of years ago.

11. I spent a January term in Costa Rica. It was a great time other than a minor bodysurfing accident. I suppose I should have taken the hint that it was getting dangerous when I was the only one left in the water.

12. For five summers during and after my college years I worked as a counselor and lifeguard at Luther Point Bible Camp. Ted Berkland and Craig Corbin were my camp directors. Two of my most memorable Luther Point moments include spraining my ankle while singing “Hakuna Matata” and nearly drowning after pretending to accidentally fall in the lake while wearing a rain poncho.

13. I learned how to play guitar at Luther Point and wrote several songs there including sacred classics such as “Stagecoach of the Lord” and “Being Yourself is Okie Dokie.”

14. I began teaching in Grantsburg at age 22. Many initially thought that I was a foreign exchange student from a Scandinavian country.

15. I met my wife Jennifer when she was the band director in Luck (she now is the band director in Grantsburg). Many of the townsfolk from both Grantsburg and Luck thought that we should get together and they were right. We have been married since 1999 and have two wonderful kids in grades 8 and 10 who attend Grantsburg Schools.

16. I coached GHS basketball for 9 years: six as JV coach under Bill Dubek and Bruce Teigen, then three years as head coach (40-23 overall record). Some of the statistical leaders from my short but enjoyable tenure as varsity coach included Matt Jensen, Jeremy Burton, Noah Shadis, Nate Pacyga, Mitchell Olson, Jordan Amundson, Tim Peck, and Aaron Michaels.

17. I was the GHS football stadium announcer for 10+ years and occasionally got reprimanded for saying stupid things like “tackled by a shipload of Pirates” or “it’s a reverse” (while the play was happening).

18. In the late 90’s I took some continuing education classes on web design and started to teach a class called “Web Design” (which eventually became “Web Design and Video Production” and eventually “Multimedia.”)  After a few years of that, I started my own web design business which I creatively named Gilhoi Web Design. The business still operates and specializes in sites for small businesses and nonprofits.  www.gilhoi.com

19. In addition to teaching math, some of my other roles at GHS include student council advisor, instructional coach, coffeehouse performance coordinator, webmaster, and nemesis of Mr. Berg.

20. This is my 25th year of teaching at Grantsburg and I am grateful to the Grantsburg community for supporting education, to the administration for encouraging me, and to my students and coworkers for making my job so enjoyable.  

21. My hobbies include playing golf, tennis, and wallyball, playing jazz piano (my wife calls it noodling), spending time with my family, and reading BurnettWire every chance I get.


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