Where are they now? Meghan O’Daniel (VUHS)
Hometown, current residence, age: I grew up in Vergennes, currently live in Burlington, and am 26 years old.
What I am up to: I’m currently working for the Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Department as the Community Garden Outreach Coordinator — managing 14 community gardens around the city. Along with making sure that the season runs smoothly, I also focus on our New American gardeners to make sure that they have what they need and that their voices are being heard.
How I got to where I am now: I went to the University of Vermont and majored in Anthropology with a focus on Food and Culture. After I graduated I moved to Boston for a while and worked in the corporate sector but realized it wasn’t really for me. When I moved back to Burlington, I became an AmeriCorps member with the Parks & Rec Department. After that I convinced them that the position should be formalized as a part-time position and eventually was hired full time. For the past two school years I have also taught an afterschool cooking and nutrition class and taken teams to the Jr. Iron Chef competition. and this year they won!
Adults to whom I can attribute my current success: Sue O’Daniel, the band director at Vergennes High School and my Mom, has been my No. 1 supporter from day one (along with my Dad, Mike, of course). Those two helped me believe that I could do anything and have always been there for me throughout the good and the bad. Without the support system that they provided me with, I don’t know where I would be today.
How my Vermont roots have influenced who I am today: My Vermont roots definitely helped me find my way back when I needed to be here the most. After living out of the state for a while, I realized how amazingly wonderful Vermont really is. Nowhere else is quite like it. The sense of community, both on a small and large scale, is absolutely incredible and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
My advice for this year’s crop of graduating seniors: My advice would be to not worry too too much about what the future holds — you’ll get to where you’re meant to be when the time is right, so just enjoy the journey and soak it all in!
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