For Falmouth resident Amanda Gilde, it’s all about the hugs and the high fives.
A 1994 McBain graduate, Amanda has always had a passion for kids. She’s spent much of the last 25 years teaching preschool and providing daycare for local children and families. Recently, she began working at the Wexford/Missaukee ISD, as a paraprofessional in Special Education.
And when she’s not giving hugs and high fives to her students for their achievements, she’s giving them to her daughters: Emily, Lauren, and Olivia.
Along with her husband, Nick, the Gilde family spends much of their time on the dairy farm: Milking cows, feeding calves, running equipment. In her free time, Amanda loves watching her girls sporting events, and enjoys riding the local trails with the family on their off road vehicles.
We caught up with Amanda recently, and she shared her story with us. We learned that Amanda Gilde is much more than just another face in the crowd.
Marion Press: Where were you born and raised? What kept you busy growing up?
Amanda: I was born in Cadillac, Michigan, and was raised in Falmouth, Michigan. What kept me busy growing up was being part of a big family. I grew up with 3 brothers and a neighbor boy that I consider another brother. We spent a lot of time outside. I mean a lot! Especially in the summer and winter. I consider them as some of my best friends. My dad was one of 12 children, so we had a lot of family (aunts, uncles, and cousins) that visited mainly at the house I grew up in. My mom too was part of a big family. We spent a lot time together and a lot of it was at the house I grew up in. I consider many of my cousins to be some of my best friends, too.
MP: After graduating from McBain, where did life take you from there?
Amanda: After I graduated high school, I attended Ferris State University and I majored in Child Development. I taught preschool for two years in Big Rapids after that. Then I started dating my future husband and moved back to Falmouth. We got married in 2001. I did home day care at my house for many years after that and was able to stay home with the children we had and cared for many great children. The first children I started watching are in college now. Four and a half years ago I quit doing that and worked in Falmouth at the GSRP classroom there.
MP: What do you enjoy the most about living in this community?
Amanda: What I enjoy the most about living in Falmouth is the small town feel it has. Literally know everyone. When tragedy strikes in our small town, we take care of each other.
MP: Tell us about your job. What keeps you busy at work?
Amanda: I began working at the Wexford/Missaukee ISD last August in special education as a parapro.
I work in a middle school room with 10- to 14-year-olds. Working with special needs kids is very busy work that’s for sure. Previously I have always worked with preschoolers. I have found that they do a lot of the same things and use a lot of the same techniques.
MP: What do you enjoy the most about your job?
Amanda: I enjoy the kids… they are great. Like many of the kids I’ve watched and worked with over the years I like the hugs and high fives you get from a kid that is just happy with something that they did or achieved. I love to see kids making progress and achieving goals… no matter how big or small. I also love the atmosphere at the ISD with the co workers I have.
MP: When you are not working, how do you spend you free time?
Amanda: I love to read or watch movies or hangout with friends. This all has gotten easier to do as my kids have gotten older.
MP: Tell us about your family.
Amanda: I am the proud wife of a dairy farmer and that’s something a younger me said she would not be! I wouldn’t change that, ever. Living on a farm and being married to a farmer is a lifestyle, that’s for sure. My husband Nick and I have three daughters: Emily is 18, Lauren is 17, and Olivia is 13. They all work for their dad on the farm milking cows or feeding calves. Emily and Lauren do field work in the summers, they run equipment. They all have played sports… between the farm and the sports, that’s what keeps us busy. Emily and Olivia are currently playing basketball. Lauren has played basketball previously but is going to play softball this spring. We like to go out to eat as a family and ride trails, haha!
MP: Any interesting hobbies?
Amanda: We mainly ride trails as a hobby. We have a razor and gator and we put many miles on both of them going on rides. Last August, we bought an enclosed gator – it seemed funny to me to buy something that is basically a car but we have ridden that all over the place this winter. It has been a lot of fun riding the trails because that’s something we were never able to do before unless it was in a truck.
MP: What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Amanda: Years ago, an older lady at church told me that our girls are delightful and she said, “Whatever you are doing, keep doing it. These girls are the only thing you have in life that will appreciate in value.” That lady has passed on now, but I’ve always held those words of wisdom close to my heart. I know that my kids are not perfect because nothing this side of heaven is. They are good kids and we’ve raised them to work hard but to enjoy life too. We are very proud of them.
MP: Who have been your role models throughout the years?
Amanda: I am not sure that I have just one? I have been blessed with knowing many, many great people.