Mr. Gervais’ Last Days at Mercy

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Lizzie Peterson

Mr. Gervais poses in front of the reception area.

Lizzie Peterson, Managing/Copy Editor

This year, we will say goodbye to someone who has worked for a long time helping to make our school the great place it is today. ­­­­­­­After devoting 42 years to Mercy High School, assistant principal Will Gervais will retire in June.

Mr. Gervais was interested in science, and spent the first two years of college at Michigan Tech in the pharmacy program. Later, however, he realized what he really wanted to do was teach.

“Teaching had always been in the back of my mind,” he said.

After he decided to go into teaching, he transferred to Ferris State University before finishing his degree at Northern Michigan University. He majored in biology with a minor in chemistry, and later earned his administration degrees from Michigan State University.

Mr. Gervais took a position in the Farmington Public Schools teaching science classes at Power Middle School. On a staff in service day in 1969, he took a tour of Mercy High School with the principal, Sister Camille. The building was brand new, and Sister Camille had some interesting ideas for the school. Mr. Gervais was impressed by all of the new facilities, and asked if there were any science positions available. Sister Camille said that there may be, and so he applied for a job.

“I thought it was just an incredible school,” said Mr. Gervais. Mr. Gervais started out teaching biology and a general science class.

He witnessed the beginning of modular scheduling. According to Mr. Gervais, the modular schedule was more flexible in the past, but it was designed to more easily accommodate the magnitude of students attending Mercy in the 70s and 80s when the student population was about 1,300.

Once Sister Camille retired, the assistant principal position became available, Mr. Gervais applied for it, and he’s held the position ever since.

Mr. Gervais has greatly enjoyed his years at Mercy, with all of the challenges and opportunities that the school has to offer. He has worked with Human Relations Council, and has been a major contributor to the Cultural Sensitivity Workshop, Ethnic Bazaar, and the Black History Month assembly.

“My work with Human Relations Council and the cultural sensitivity workshops have been very rewarding for me,” said Mr. Gervais.

“He’s just a very genial, warm, and engaging person,” said English teacher and HRC moderator Mike Gruber.  “At the [cultural sensitivity workshops] he’s always a very sensitive voice for the girls to respond to. He’s responds to them very warmly and tries to get them to see how special they are in making Mercy special.”

In addition to all the hard work he has done with HRC, Mr. Gervais and has also been an advocate for the integration of technology in the school. He has worked tirelessly researching and staying current on the directions technology seems to be taking.

“Mercy is a forward-thinking institution, a school that continues to change as the educational landscape has changed.  For that, I am very proud,” said principal Carolyn Witte.  “Mr. Gervais certainly has been an integral part of that change.”

Mr. Gervais says he will miss all the people at Mercy, the daily interaction with students, parents, teachers, and board members. At this time, he does not have any specific plans for his retirement.

“Mr. Gervais has always been there and been very supportive throughout my years on HRC,” said senior Jasmine Hart. “I’ll  really miss him next year.”

Below: During the 1970 Mercy school year, a young Mr. Gervais peers through a microscope.