June 16th, 2011
VERGENNES — Speakers at this year’s Vergennes Union High School graduation invoked figures as varied as Harry Potter, Harvey Fierstein and Walden Project founder Matt Schlein.
Following advice, reflection and music from peers and teachers, 91 seniors crossed the auditorium stage this past Friday evening to accept their diplomas and move on to the next stage in their lives.
BRANDON — Otter Valley Union High School Valedictorian Will Pearl’s message to his fellow classmates at graduation last Saturday in its simplest form was this: They matter.
“What I ask of you … is that you recognize your own importance in this web of interconnectedness that is our modern world,” he said before a packed gymnasium. “I ask that you do not be so foolish as to think that your actions have no impact on the unhalting wheel of progress.”
MIDDLEBURY — Suzanne Sawyer of Middlebury was staring into the abyss after her only child, James Forrest, died in 2007 following a lengthy battle with drug addiction.
“As a mother, I thought, ‘How do you go on living when your child is no longer physically here?’” Sawyer said.
Sawyer has spent the past four years looking for answers to that question, one that has proved elusive for many thousands of other parents nationwide who have had to do the unthinkable — bury one of their children.
MIDDLEBURY — When Jo Birnbaum proposed an art show at her home, the Lodge at Otter Creek in Middlebury, she expected to get just a few submissions from the creative people she knew lived in the complex.
But the outpouring of enthusiasm for the exhibit, which went up in mid-May, brought in 84 submissions from residents and staff, who could each submit two works.
MIDDLEBURY — Mary Hogan is an almost mythical figure at the Middlebury elementary school that bears her name. The former principal retired back in 1970 and passed away in 1995, so her legacy is now largely encapsulated in black-and-white photos and historical records.
But teacher Alwyn “Algy” Layden doesn’t need to search an archive to get knowledge about Mary Hogan. He not only worked with the legendary leader of the school, she hired him in 1968.
FERRISBURGH — On Tuesday, many Ferrisburgh Central School teachers wore the same ID tag while they supervised the events like egg-balancing relay races and Zumba dancing during the school’s annual Field Days, which celebrated the fast-approaching end of the school year.
Those ID tags bore the photo and name of FCS special educator Alice Walker, and they were celebrating the Charlotte resident’s 23-year tenure at the school — the end of which is also fast approaching.
GRANVILLE/HANCOCK — Granville and Hancock last month were granted a reprieve in a search for a new supervisory union — for now, at least.
In a March 2010 Town Meeting Day vote, residents of Bethel and Rochester voted to leave the Windsor Northwest Supervisory Union. Since those towns contain the only two high schools in the supervisory union, the resolutions prompted a more-than-yearlong study on closing the supervisory union by the state Board of Education.
LEICESTER —The town of Leicester early this year successfully appealed to the state of Vermont in the hopes of getting a more favorable education property tax rate, citing a steep decline in property sale values over the past two years.
In a relatively rare ruling, the state Department of Taxes in May approved the town’s requested adjustment to its Common Level of Appraisal, or CLA.