If ever there was a “Renaissance teenager” it has to be Robert Jean-Gilles. The Huntington High School junior can do a little bit of everything and he does it all so well.
Mr. Jean-Gilles possesses a spectacular array of talents that have been impressing his classmates, teachers and the audiences that have seen him perform since he was a young child.
Huntington junior Robert Jean-Gilles.
The teenager has captured numerous accolades over the years with his most recent coming within the last week. Mr. Jean-Gilles has been selected to perform with the prestigious Suffolk Count Music Educators Association’s All-County vocal jazz ensemble.
It’s quite an achievement, made all the more impressive by the fact that Mr. Jean-Gilles really hasn’t had any formal training. “Anytime I practiced for an audition like NYSSMA and others, it was just with teachers helping,” he said.
Mr. Jean-Gilles is one of the leading students academically in Huntington’s Class of 2020. He has graced the stage numerous times for drama club productions stretching back to elementary school and his acting, singing and dancing have earned him standing ovations. He intends to audition for this spring’s high school musical.
The teenager said his favorite academic subject is “currently history,” but he really excels in every class. “I’d like to thank Mr. [Brian] Stellato and Ms. [Victoria] Garbarino for encouraging me to do vocal jazz with NYSSMA last school year,” said Mr. Jean-Gilles about two of the high school’s music teachers.
The junior’s closest friends include Neil Jean-Baptiste, Zubair Ali, Natalie Ciccone, Maddy Kye, Jennifer Low, Nathan Musso, Diego Torres and James Obermaier along with “many, many others,” Mr. Jean-Gilles said.
“Robert is one of the most kind and charismatic persons that I know,” Ms. Kye said. “Not only does he care so much about everyone around him, he can also command an audience with both seriousness and humor impeccably, a skill that few people are capable of. I’m so grateful to call him one of my closest friends.”
The teenager can play alto saxophone and he’s currently working on being able to play the trombone. What’s Mr. Jean-Gilles’ favorite type of music? “Well, I am somewhat of an old soul,” he said. “In terms of my style, my favorite songs range from Sinatra all the way to Prince.”
When asked to choose a favorite teacher, Mr. Jean-Gilles found that to be an impossible request. “It’s hard for me to choose because I truly enjoy all my teachers since they all have guided and helped me,” he said.
As the 2018/19 school year moves along, one gets the sense that Mr. Jean-Gilles isn’t through garnering honors.