Home Schooled student honours his parents

Here is a home schooled graduate who praised his parents. They “received the MSOE Very Influential Person (VIP) Award based on his nomination. Bonnie and Wilson Gill Jr. are the first home-school educators to receive the award typically given to a high school teacher.” Wonderful to see a son honouring his parents in this way.

MSOE student gives hats-off to parents

Rick Wood

Logan Gill waves to his family Saturday as he leads the graduates into the winter commencement ceremony in Kern Arena at MSOE. Logan is the oldest of 17 children and was home-schooled by his parents.

One of 17 kids, son gives accolades to lifetime teachers

By Karen Herzog of the Journal Sentinel
Photo Gallery

Logan Gill talks about his academic career at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

For many college grads, commencement is all about them and their accomplishments.

Growing up in a family of 17 kids taught Logan Gill to share the stage.

On Saturday, the first Gill to graduate from college used his winter commencement ceremony at the Milwaukee School of Engineering to honor two teachers who taught him to be a motivated learner:

His parents.

Logan’s parents, who home-schooled him from third grade through high school, received the MSOE Very Influential Person (VIP) Award based on his nomination. Bonnie and Wilson Gill Jr. are the first home-school educators to receive the award typically given to a high school teacher.

Because he was home-schooled, Logan wrote, “My parents were responsible for all of my academic subjects, though as I got older, the responsibility of committing myself to learning these subjects was rightfully delegated to me.

“They provided the tools, but expected me to provide the perseverance.”

Bonnie and Wilson Gill Jr. walked across the stage, hand in hand, to accept an engraved plaque from MSOE President Hermann Viets. Then they quickly blended back into the crowd after their 17 kids stopped clapping, snapping pictures and grinning ear to ear.

Only someone watching closely would notice the couple clutched the plaque between them after they were seated, and the dad wiped a few tears from his eyes.

“Every parent instills in their children the best they can for the future,” the father said later. “This is a day of celebration for all the parents of MSOE graduates.”

Logan, a polite and well-spoken young man with a megawatt smile, earned a bachelor of science degree in business management. He was one of 54 who graduated Saturday at MSOE’s Kern Center.

Logan is the oldest of Bonnie and Wilson Gill Jr.’s 17 children, including four sets of twins.

All 17 kids have been – or still are – home-schooled by their parents.

Bonnie and Wilson Gill Jr. decided to home-school their children because they wanted them to learn in a spiritual environment.

For Logan, “it was a decision based on what would be best for his future, and for our future as a family,” said his father.

One bedroom of their nine-bedroom Milwaukee home was converted into a classroom as the family grew larger and there no longer was enough room around the kitchen table for all of them to study. The kitchen table grew larger, too, because family dinnertime was important.

Logan said he realized as a teenager that his parents not only are wise, but impressive.

“I feel so impressed and almost bewildered,” he said. “They work so hard and are very frugal. I don’t know how they managed it, but they did very well.”

The family is close-knit. Whenever the younger kids have trouble with a math problem, the older kids help.

“That’s pretty cool,” Logan said, making it clear he considers it an opportunity and not a burden.

“Most of us catch on pretty quickly. When we were younger and we had issues, my mom would deal with them. If it was math-related, Dad would help when he got home from work. Our parents would learn along with us.”

Logan lived at home throughout college and commuted seven minutes to the MSOE campus downtown because it didn’t make sense to pay room and board. He didn’t mind, he said. Quiet study time at home rarely was an issue, despite the house being filled with kids.

His sister Tierney and brother Christian now attend Wisconsin Lutheran College and live at home, too. Logan is the only one with his own bedroom.

The family of 19 shares two bathrooms.

“You have to get up at 4 a.m. on Sundays,” Logan said, referring to them all getting ready for church.

Big families learn to take turns.

They also become good problem-solvers.

When the whole family went to McDonald’s on Valentine’s Day, Logan realized 17 kids converging on a soda dispenser wasn’t a good idea. So he lined them all up, and they passed the cups down the line to their tables.

“When we’re on vacation, people ask how the little ones behave so well,” he said. “We’re very disciplined.”

It doesn’t hurt that they all studied martial arts.

“No family’s perfect,” Logan said. “There can be disagreements. But we don’t fight. Things are resolved quickly.”

Logan had plenty of pre-college practice at remembering important names and dates.

He can name all 16 siblings, in order, in a single breath. He knows their ages, too.

After Logan, who’s 22, come Tierney, 20, and Christian, 19.

Then there’s Micah, 18; Haleigh, 16; twins Aiden and Kiean, 15; Shepherd, 13; twins Rylie and Justus, 12; MacKenzie, 10; Noble, 9; twins Reagan and Jude, 7; Jeriah, 5; and twins Lukah and Eliah, 4. (That’s 12 boys, five girls.)

At Saturday’s commencement, MSOE reserved an entire section of chairs for the Gill family, up front.

There was no fidgeting during the 1 1/2 -hour ceremony, even among the littlest Gills.

Jude was unable to stifle a yawn near the end. But he was nobly attentive and smartly dressed in a crisp black suit with a white shirt and dark tie, just like his brothers.

Logan will continue at MSOE next quarter, taking a Japanese 3 class to delay the start of repaying $42,500 in college loans. He plans to start graduate school in the fall. He aspires to a career in politics or a job at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.


From the Smiths:


Updated 24 February 2012: Life for Those Left Behind (Craig Smith’s Health) page 6 click here


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