This year’s seniors dedicate their yearbook to Mrs. Jimmie-Gaye Buono, a beloved member of the Student Life Office, parent of three Cushing alumni, and a second mom to countless Cushing students. Below are the remarks written by Mrs. Chelle Salvucci that appear in this year’s publication.
Like a warm ray of sunshine during the coldest February day, Jimmie Gaye Buono’s voice comes over the line. I am calling to ask her any of a hundred Student Life questions and it is probably the seventeenth time she has answered this one today, but she approaches each moment with a colleague with the same joy and respect that she had the first moment she stepped through the doors to Cushing 15 years ago. And that enduring kindness and love is why most of us consider her more than a colleague – she is a treasured friend and confidante. Over the years, I have had the honor to work with her in the Student Life Office, observing first hand her care and concern for the students and faculty that we work with, as well as her efforts to help them have the most positive experience possible. But Mrs. Buono’s impact goes well beyond the office. One need only look at the wall near her desk to know how intrinsic she is to our community. The years of Christmas cards, tracking the growth of our faculty families is a visible testament to the deep connection that Jimmie Gaye feels to the faculty as well. She has been with us through our first years as a guide to all things dorm related, and she has watched us grow professionally and personally, sharing all of the joys and sorrows that we have experienced, offering congratulations, advice, and comfort, each in their turn. She is always there for us to drop a note or give a hug or reach out to support us in all things.
Over the years, Mrs. Buono has captained Cushing’s efforts to keep our students safe and accounted for during their weekends, looking over each of their weekend forms with care. She has put in long hours to process all those forms, even during times when she was not feeling her best and she would often go home to spend some time with her family and then return to the office late at night to finish the work that needed to be completed for the Deans and dorm parents for the weekend. She is the beautiful, smiling face that most students encounter first during a trip to the Student Life Office, welcoming them to a new year and watching them grow and mature as individuals over their time here. She is also often the first point of contact for our parents when they have concerns and need reassurance. And when students find themselves in difficult moments, she is consistently kind and supportive, offering compassion (or snacks) when they need a little pick-me-up. Mrs. Buono is a quintessential mom, helping students and faculty with their questions about policies, procedures, and life and expecting the best from each of us. Pretty much every student that comes through here has a “Mrs. Buono Story” and her thread has been a particularly central one in the tapestry of Cushing life over the past few years.
Mrs. Buono loves this community with a deep and abiding love. Her own children went to school here and she was a strong supporter of the Cushing community at that time, but her love for celebrating the students of the Academy did not end when her children Matthew, Andrea, and Anthony graduated. Mrs. Buono has remained a staunch supporter of our athletic teams and can often be spotted in the stands, cheering on the Penguins with vigor. For the past few years, she has also had the pleasure of cheering on her niece, Sydney, or applauding in the theatre for a group to which she has no direct connection. But, then, that statement doesn’t totally ring true, because Mrs. Buono feels a direct connection to all of the Cushing kids. It is this connection and pride she feels in all of the Cushing students that has led her to commit a great deal of her own weekend time to judging our Olympic events and to cheering the students on in their various pursuits, from the arts to athletics. Like many people who have worked here for a while, Mrs. Buono feels that all the students are “her kids”, that she wants the best for all of them, and that she wants to be a part of all of their lives. And it is for this reason that her absence at the big desk in the Student Life Office has been so difficult for us to process. We miss our friend, our cheerleader, our auntie, our mom. We hope that she has felt the love of this community, the strength that we send out to her every day, and we hope that she understands how much we appreciate and miss her.
It is with deep gratitude and immense love that the Class of 2015 dedicates their yearbook to Jimmie Gaye Buono.