|Austin, Anthony and Emma Gardiner sit down to talk.|
The Gardiner family has a long tradition in Ferndale. Upon their arrival in 1949, Bill and Shirley Gardiner became a staple in the Ferndale community. Bill was the city attorney and Shirley operated the local beauty salon. To this day, subsequent generations have managed to reap the Ferndale foundation which has led them to their care for others and their successes.
Recently, district staff had the opportunity to visit with three of the Gardiners: Ferndale High School alum Austin (2002), Anthony (2002) and Emma (2008). It was the eve of Emma’s graduation from Western Washington University.
All three agreed their upbringing in Ferndale has been greatly influenced by family and their school teachers. They credit teachers Dick Shelley, Rick Brudwick, Melissa Monda, Herb Porter, Gudlaug Hawkinson and Beth Andres for challenging them to step out of the box and try new things. For instance, Anthony never thought he could act and dance, but says “ I ended up being in one of the musical productions (Cinderella) with Mrs. Hawkinson. I learned dancing and doing the waltz and all kinds of things I never thought I’d do.” He attributes that involvement to helping develop his social aspect of working with people. He sees the biggest part of his profession of working with patients, being able to talk to people and communicate well.
Anthony said, “as a student you just don’t appreciate it as much, how much the teachers care about you.” Austin agreed, “that’s really what a teacher is about, getting involved in the student’s life to help change and mold it to be the best person they can be later in life.”
Emma summed up the family’s experience, “I have chosen a different direction but I totally follow your examples with your families and your academics [referencing her brothers]. We all came from the same foundation and it’s sent us all in really incredible directions. At the same time there are still similarities. We all have leadership abilities and we all have a core desire to help people. In different ways, that’s our passion, every one of our siblings. That goes back to our parents and our community.”
There are two more Gardiner siblings: Elizabeth (Gardiner) Daly (1999 FHS Grad) and Jason Gardiner (1991 FHS Grad). Elizabeth is married and works in the medical field for an orthopedic clinic in Sequim. Jason is the chief financial officer for a civilian contractor to a U.S. Marine unit stationed in Japan. He has two children.
Following her graduation from Western Washington University in 2013 with a degree in Human Services, Emma currently works at Catholic Community Services in Bellingham.
Anthony graduated from the University of Washington in 2011 and moved his family back to Ferndale to practice dentistry. He is married to FHS alumni Shannon Garr (2002). They have one daughter.
Austin graduated from Western Washington University in 2009 and the University of New Hampshire School of Law in 2012. He is a patent lawyer for a computer hardware and software firm in Vancouver, Washington. He is married and has two boys.
Parents of the five, Allen (FHS 1967 Grad) and Barbara Gardiner reside and work in Ferndale. In fact, Barbara is grants manager for Ferndale School District.