By Zoe Daniel
As I sat down with Mr. Gulick for an honest conversation about his time here at Byram, his enthusiasm for the sciences, teaching, and the arts all shined through in his smile and his excited tone of voice. I had always wondered how an outdoorsy Earth Science teacher could have felt such a passion and appreciation for theater, but it soon became clear that Mr. Gulick’s passion for the stage runs deep, and he loves (almost) every minute of it.
When asked what his favorite part of working at Byram was, he quickly responded, stating that it is “without a doubt, theater.” While he still “loves teaching” and “it is definitely what I am meant to do,” he is confident that “there’s nothing else I could do at Byram that could make such an impact [as theater].” But you might wonder, how someone who once coached sports teams and did rock and ice climbing as hobbies, became invested in the Byram Hills theater department; it actually all started during Mr. Gulick’s first few years here. The then director “asked me to be an extra in the play Guys and Dolls. I ended up agreeing even though I had only seen, at most, two plays in my entire life.” Even with a role that required no singing or acting of lines, he was able to realize how much the “values of my sports background related to the environment of theater.” He immediately felt perfectly comfortable in such an initially foreign atmosphere. Since that first role, the rest of Mr. Gulick’s theater career fell into place when. The next year, “Lopez and Piali asked me to come onboard and help them with the shows.” It is abundantly clear that “it was a great fit” due to his excitement and declaration that “theater is hands down the best part of my day.” This love for theater is surely not one-sided, and Mr. Gulick is loved by not only his students but his surrogate students that he has met through theater. Junior Sabrina Mauro exclaimed, “Gulick adds so much fun to backstage. Being on makeup crew can get lonely or boring at times, and he always makes sure to come hang out with us, especially when we have snacks!” The element that Gulick adds to theater is one of utter uniqueness. Whether it be keeping the show running timely and efficiently, making sure the actors have a shoulder to lean on, or laughing with the crew backstage, he is a tough, yet caring and respected figure in the lives of so many students.
While it may seem that Mr. Gulick only has eyes for the theater, he has not lost any love for his field, the sciences. He has “always loved science – it was consistently my favorite subject in school.” However, he did admit that balancing time between his two passions “is certainly a challenge, but I’ve gotten better at it.” He will even adjust his grading “of certain tests or labs that haven’t been returned before new ones are given,” out of fairness to his students.
It is rare that a teacher is so passionate and committed to one, let alone two, areas of academic and extracurricular life, yet Mr. Gulick is able to succeed at both. He is truly a kind and committed member of the Byram faculty who “loves to keep learning alongside his students,” an exciting prospect for any future students.