Former EL teacher experiences 15 minutes of fame


Former ELL teacher Ms. Amy Gillespie on People magazine. Photo from Gillespie’s Facebook page.

One of SHS’s former ELL teachers never thought she would end up being on the cover of People magazine. It was such a big surprise to her. Amy Gillespie never thought she would end up having over 49.4 thousand followers on Instagram with the username @amydown100.

It took Gillespie three years to lose 100 pounds. Her purpose behind this challenging task was the threat of a family history of heart disease. She wanted to be healthy in order to ignore that for the times ahead. Another motive was the desire to be active with the activities her peers were taking part in. Some of the activities that she had trouble with were running and hiking. However, now she is able to do those things because she started to eat and stay healthy.

Gillespie’s steps to losing so much weight included eating low calorie, healthy foods and exercising. She faced some challenges, but she thought about her goal and getting healthy was what she wanted more than anything. One of those challenges was being around people who don’t make healthy choices. Another one is when Gillespie experienced how hard it is to give up old habits.

“I learned that I am capable of very difficult things,” Gillespie said. “I learned that I have strong willpower. I think that our minds sometimes try to tell us that certain things will be too hard, but if we challenge ourselves, our bodies are capable of quite a bit.”

Gillespie says that she has completed half marathons, which are 13.1 miles, and other races that were challenging as well. However, she says that she was very glad that she took the challenges and achieved her goal. Going through what she went through, Gillespie learned that she has what it takes to do exasperating tasks.

SHS graduate, A Van never thought that his teacher, who probably had her schedule full, would take her time to do all the exercises that she did. He says Gillespie never talked about it in class and that none of his classmates were expecting it, though he is very glad for her.

“I’m so proud and happy for her,” Van said. “I’m sure she encouraged many people because I know that she inspired even me and my friends to lose weight and stay healthy.”

Gillespie says she wants to help others who want to lose weight and be healthy. She wants others who want to lose weight to realize that they are capable of losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle. She says that she is not special, she just made a choice and she focused on reaching her goal.

“(My biggest reward is) being healthy,” Gillespie said.  “It is so wonderful knowing that I have a strong healthy body that is able to do difficult things.”