Hill-Gustat Middle School opened in the fall of 1996. The name of the school was selected as an honorary tribute to three very special educators from Highlands County.


Peter J. Gustat

1879 - 1952

Peter J. Gustat photo

Peter Gustat, or "Prof" as he was affectionately known, formed the Sebring band in 1926 under the auspices of the Rotary Club. He labored long, earnestly, and unselfishly for the education, artistic, civil, and moral betterment of others. His ground-work set the high standards Highlands County schools are known for today.

Paul J. Gustat

1921 - 2013

Paul J. Gustat photo

Upon his father's retirement, Paul Gustat picked up the baton and continued the strong Gustat traditions. He succeeded his father with the same passion for music and aspirations for the youth of Highlands County. He has modestly led countless students into a better understanding and of love of learning about quality music, as well as establishing high goals, and worked diligently to achieve them.

Gwen Sanders-Hill

1933 - 1994

Gwen Sanders-Hill photo

During her lifetime, Mrs. Sanders-Hill exhibited an outstanding interest in the education of the citizens of Highlands County by devoting 34 years of her life with distinction to teaching. She provided leadership to her community by serving three terms on the Avon Park City Council and by serving the Highlands County School Board as a board member and Vice Chairperson. Mrs. Sanders-Hill contributed her talents to numerous civic organizations and has earned various awards for such services.

Two locations at HGMS were named to honor special individuals that worked for the School Board of Highlands County and worked at HGMS. The John Ellis Gymnasium was dedicated in 2003 and the Janet L. Pipon Media Center was dedicated in 2005.

John Ellis

1937 - 2003

John Ellis photo

The John Ellis Gymnasium was dedicated on January 22, 2003, at Hill-Gustat Middle School to honor a beloved 25-year employee, friend, longtime custodian, and plant manager, John Ellis. Ellis began working for the Highlands County School Board in 1977. First working at Sebring Middle School as a custodian, and later as the plant operator. When Hill-Gustat Middle School opened in the fall of 1996, Ellis helped prepare the new school for its first year. He remained at HGMS serving as plant manager and as a great role model for our youth. He was an exemplary employee and a dear friend to all who knew him.

Janet Pipon

1943- 2005

Janet Pipon photo

Hill-Gustat Middle School 8th grade Language Arts teacher, Janet Pipon, is remembered for her special gift in reaching students through literature and writing. HGMS dedicated the school’s media center as the Janet L. Pipon Media Center in November of 2005 in honor of her service in Highlands County . Mrs. Pipon worked as a teacher in Highlands County for 26 years and retired in May of 2005. She spent many hours encouraging students with their writing. Pipon published an 8th grade poetry book each year and often encouraged the students by writing poetry of her own. Her thought for the day expressed how she touched each of our lives. To the world you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world.” For HGMS, she helped the world turn and touched the soul and spirit of each of us.