By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published May 15, 2014
St. Pius X High School, in its nomination of Will Gillett as its outstanding senior, noted, “Will has truly served the community through his high school career. He is involved in extracurricular activities at SPX, he does service and has created businesses based on needs in the community. Many high school students start businesses but not with the same intent to succeed as Will.”
ATLANTA—In high school Will Gillett has already jump-started three money-making ventures, from a summer program he and his brothers launched for neighborhood kids to his most lucrative business, photography.
You can find him corralling antsy youngsters in their first Communion finery at St. Jude Church, Sandy Springs, for a keepsake photo. Or you can see him capturing ball players in action with his Nikon D7000 on the baseball diamond. St. Pius X High School athletes have action shots that Gillett shared on a Facebook page.
“It was a great hobby to keep me involved with my school and give back,” he said about the photos he took while he roamed the sidelines at his school’s football and basketball games.
His third venture was a T-shirt business called Anchor Prep, which has been more of a lesson learned than a windfall. “I bit off a little more than I could chew,” he said.
He is the oldest son of Jeff and Kathy Gillett, who work as a restaurant executive consultant and a school nurse, respectively. At St. Pius, he has been a member of the freshman football team, swim team, and the dive team, where he jumps from a one-meter high diving board. His favorite dive is the “double gainer” which involves a jump and two backward flips. The family lives in Dunwoody.
Gillett is enrolling in Georgia College and State University, in Milledgeville, in the fall. With an eye toward earning a business degree, he envisions solving challenges.
“I’m hoping I’m running a business I started for a need I saw,” he said.
Jenniffer Kapp, the school’s director of guidance and counseling, said Gillett earned a reputation on campus for his work ethic and determination.
“Will has shown such growth throughout his high school career. He has proven that once he sets his mind to something, he accomplishes it. He has taken his weaknesses and made them strengths and found areas that he wants to continue to pursue. He will be an asset to any campus,” she wrote in a college recommendation letter.
Sitting in the chaplain’s office, he talked about the school where he has spent four years.
“Everyone here has something they are capable of giving back, whether it is acting in drama or debate. Everyone finds something here that interests them, and they are encouraged to get involved. And I think that’s awesome,” he said.
His involvement at school goes beyond the pool. Gillett is an altar server during school Masses, as well as at his church, St. Jude. He received a school leadership award for his service at St. Pius.
The student ambassador and Lion Leader programs are two of the most prestigious leadership groups on campus. Gillett is active in both. A Lion Leader acts as a big brother to incoming students and mentors freshmen. He recalled the impact when an older student “took me under his wing” early in his career here and wanted to do the same for others. Student ambassadors give campus tours and speak to elementary schools about St. Pius, acting as “the face of St. Pius.”
Offering advice to incoming freshmen, Gillett said students should embrace the clubs and extracurricular program on the St. Pius campus right away.
“Honestly, before you know it, it’s here (graduation). There’s something vibrant about the campus that makes the time positively fly,” he said. “You want to get involved on the first day because it does go by faster than you think.”