“Attention Wilson Students”: Bargeman shares his past

Adin McGurk

Father, librarian, studio bodyguard to Elijah Muhammad, junior varsity football Head Coach, technology coordinator, one man show—Bargeman has done it all.

A North Carolina native, Bargeman moved from the small town of Beaufort to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he pursued his major in speech communications.

“So, I wanted to be an actor,” he explained. “I came up here auditioning for local theaters and I got a few parts here and there.” As it turns out, ‘here and there,’ were the very same sets that housed a plethora of famed actors, including Denzel Washington and Robin Williams. “One of my biggest parts was my part in the Malcolm X movie. I played one of Elijah Muhammad’s body guards,” Bargeman said. “So I had the opportunity to meet Denzel.”

Bargeman also made an appearance in the ‘90s TV show “Homicide: Life on the Street,” alongside Robin Williams. Bargeman was in the season two premiere, where an actor for a corpse was needed. “So they shot it in the Baltimore morgue and I played the corpse. I had to lay up on this table, and Robin Williams was supposed to look in the room and see a dead body because he was going to identify his wife, and when he looked in there it was me. I was all excited and I told all my friends, but on the night that it happened, they panned into the room and all they showed was the bottom of my feet,” recalled Bargeman. “So the bottoms of my feet made the scene.”

Fortunately, Bargeman got a chance to get to meet Williams off screen. The cast and crew of the episode met for a meal after work was completely finished. “He was just a spontaneous kind of person,” Bargeman said. “He was a wonderful guy.”

Bargeman’s acting career then moved off of movie sets and onto stages for live performances. “I used to do a one man show called ‘Fade to Black,’ where I did a lot of speeches by African American leaders and a lot of oral interpretation of poetry,” Bargeman said. In the ‘90s he also played the lead in a production of Cheryl West’s ‘Before It Hits Home.’ “I loved the play. It had a message in it that was very powerful. It was about AIDS. My character had AIDS and was dying throughout the play, and some of the nights we did it we gave out information about the disease.”

Bargeman was eventually forced to turn away from his acting career and pursue another path. “I realized acting wasn’t going so well. So I retired from it.” He became a librarian at Clark Elementary School in DC. “I was still with the drama stuff so I had a storytelling chair and I sort of spun a lot of stories to the students that were there. It was fun,” said Bargeman. It was this job as a librarian that led him to Wilson.

He was hired as the librarian here at Wilson in 2001, and is now in his 17th year as a staff member of the school. “I have been the librarian, I have been the freshman academy coordinator, I started one of the academies-the triple A academy, and then eight years ago I became the assistant principal.”

Bargeman was also the principal of Wilson for six months in the 2014-15 school year. “It was challenging but it was quite interesting. A different perspective.” This stint as the head of Wilson has been one of many ways that Gregory Bargeman has made his mark on the school.

Some of the more physical evidence of his presence is the multitude of yard sale finds that he has scattered throughout the building.

“This is a thing with me. I am a yard sale fanatic. So I go to yard sales all the time, and a lot of stuff that I get from yard sales you may see all over,” he explained. “I may go to twenty yard sales and only pick up one thing because I’m sort of picky about what I get.” Mr. Bargeman’s office boasts an array of these yard sale finds, as do many of the offices in every corner of the building. “A lot of the offices you go into will be things that I’ve given to people. I always come up with a different theme for offices.” Bargeman’s very own office sports a city theme, with slight accents of character with his gigantic tar heels banner and scented humidifier.

Whether you are walking through the halls, sitting in the atrium, or admiring the thematic decorations in an office, it is impossible not to appreciate Gregory Bargeman’s mark on Wilson and countless students •