July 23, 2019

Everyday Gourmet: Mint condition

By Kim Dannies

Fresh mint is a beloved herb. Abundant and easy to harvest, mint adds volume and vibrant sparkle to every dish it graces. Mint is vivacious—OK, truth—it is invasive. Keep your garden in mint condition by planting it in a large container pot and enjoy its bountiful splendor all summer long.


Minty Spring Pea Hummus

Heat 1 T of olive oil in a pot over low-medium heat. Add 1/2 cup chopped red onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of fresh shelled or frozen peas, 2 garlic cloves, and 1 cup of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer five minutes; drain the peas and onions.

De-stem 3 cups of fresh mint and chop leaves in a food processor. Add the peas, 2 T of tahini, 2 T of sour cream, salt and pepper to taste. Pulse until you have a rough purée. Makes 4-6 servings.


Minted Turkey Burgers

In a medium prep bowl combine 1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey with 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion. Mix in 2 cups of freshly chopped mint, 1 T finely chopped fresh ginger, 1 T vegetable oil, 1 scant teaspoon chili powder, 1 t salt, and 1 t garam masala. Lightly moisten your hands and form the mixture into 4 patties. Fill a shallow bowl with panko breadcrumbs. Coat the patties in the panko.


Heat a nonstick skillet with 1 T olive oil on medium heat. Fry patties in a covered skillet until browned and cooked through, six minutes each side, turning once, pressing gently. To ensure the meat is cooked through, check the center of a burger. Place burgers on beds of lightly mixed greens; top with minty hummus. Serves 4.


Springtime Tabouli

Place 2 cups of bulgur wheat in a bowl and pour boiling water over until just covered. Set for 10 minutes; fluff with a chopstick. Combine 3 cups sliced grape tomatoes, 4 sliced scallions, and one fistful each of fresh mint and parsley, chopped. Toss veggies with 4 T olive oil, and 4 T of lemon juice; season with salt and pepper; fold into the bulgur. Serves 4-6.


Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff. They have three twenty-something daughters, who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.

New event for baby boomers and seniors June 9 in Killington

Gypsy Reel will preform on June 9 at the Central Vermont 50+ EXPO in Killington. For more information, visit www.vermontmaturity.com/expo, call 802-872-9000, ext. 21, or email stephanie@vemontmaturity.com. (Courtesy photo)

Vermont Maturity Magazine will present the Central Vermont 50+EXPO on Saturday, June 9 at the Killington Grand Resort Hotel & Conference Center, 228 East Mountain Road in Killington from 9:30 a.m.—4 p.m.

The EXPO is a day of fun and learning designed for Vermonters age 50 and older, though all ages are welcome to attend this free event. It offers a wide range of activities and entertainment, including: a concert by world renowned Celtic rock group Gypsy Reel; a performance by The Potluck Folk Singers; art workshops by select Killington Arts Guild members; wine tasting ($5); Vermont microbrew tasting ($5); a series of seminars on topics including dating, travel and “the Sandwich Generation”; silent auction to benefit the Vermont Alzheimer’s Association; line dancing; great giveaways including tickets for two to see the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots; plane tickets to Boston and much more.

For 17 years, Williston Publishing and Promotions LLC has produced one of the longest-running and most successful events in the U.S. for baby boomers and seniors, held in Burlington every winter. Now, it is bringing a new version of this exciting event to central Vermont.

Admission is free, and there is plenty of free parking.

For more information, visit www.vermontmaturity.com/expo, call 802-872-9000, ext. 21, or email stephanie@vemontmaturity.com. 

Life after ‘Jenny’

 Tommy Tutone’s Jim Keller plays The Monkey House

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Jim Keller Band members (from left to right) Jim Keller, Byron Isaacs and Scott Metzger perform at The Monkey House in Winooski on May 2. Jim Keller, who co-wrote and played lead guitar on Tommy Tutone’s 1982 hit single ‘867-5309/Jenny,’ released his second solo album last fall. (Observer photo by Luke Baynes)

An archetypal slice of ’80s power pop met a prototypical Vermont hippie bar when Jim Keller of Tommy Tutone fame played at The Monkey House in Winooski on May 2.

Along with Wilson Pickett’s “634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.)” and The Marvelettes’ “Beechwood 4-5789,” Tommy Tutone’s “867-5309/Jenny” is the most famous seven-digit phone number in pop music history.

It’s the song that made Tommy Tutone a household name in the spring of 1982 and inspired thousands of late night callers to dial the number in the hope that a sultry female voice would pick up on the other end.

Yet Tommy Tutone was not, as many people at the time assumed, the name of a man. Nor was it the one-hit wonder that most people think of it as today.

Tommy Tutone is instead the name of the Bay Area bar band—led by Tommy Heath on lead vocals and Keller on lead guitar—that scored a Top 40 hit with “Angel Say No” prior to achieving pop immortality with the song that forced prank victims in area codes across the country to change their phone numbers.

Unable to repeat the runaway success of “Jenny,” Tommy Tutone broke up two years and one album after making its national splash.

Heath moved to Portland, Ore.  and became a computer analyst, sporadically getting the band back together (sans Keller) over the following two decades.

Keller disappeared from the rock scene altogether, landing a job as the director of preeminent classical composer Philip Glass’ publishing company, Dunvagen Music Publishers.

“I got married and I got a job because I wasn’t making any money as a musician,” Keller said after the May 2 show. “So I had to try to do something else to make a living, which is what I did.”

In 2008, Keller returned to the studio to record his first solo album, “Sunshine in My Pocket,” a mostly acoustic-based collection of heartland rock songs. Last fall’s sophomore album, “Soul Candy,” suggests a more conscious return to the soul influences hinted at in Keller’s best Tommy Tutone compositions.

“About seven years ago—and my daughter always hates it when I say this—I began playing again, because I was not happy, and I had to force myself, because I was so far away from it,” Keller said. “Over the course of about three years I started writing again, and then pulling players in, and slowly over the course of the years found guys that I adore and we have a mutual admiration and then went in the studio.”

Keller’s Wednesday night gig at The Monkey House was part of a three-day Northeast swing for the New Jersey native that also included a flood benefit concert in Londonderry, Vt. and a show at Valentines Music Hall and Beer Joint in Albany, N.Y.

Flanked by a quintessential six-piece bar band (rhythm guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, trumpet, saxophone), Keller steamrolled through a set of originals, punctuated by an impromptu rockabilly version of the blues standard “Mystery Train” for the mixed crowd of middle-aged fans and college students who weren’t born when “Jenny” ruled the airwaves.

“I really like his voice,” said Katie Barton, a freshman at the University of Vermont. “It’s like a combination of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and John Mayer.”

Keller laughed when asked about the vocal comparisons after the show.

“Maybe the Springsteen part,” he said.

In fact, there were several Springsteen allusions during the set, from Keller quoting the opening of The Boss’ “Jungleland” (“The rangers had a homecoming…”) when noticing a New York Rangers game playing on the bar television, to the Keller song “Giving It Up to Love,” which references Springsteen’s 1978 masterpiece in the line “Darkness on the edge of town, where the sky’s black as coal.”

The Springsteen links don’t end there.

Consciously or not, “Julianne,” Keller’s finest composition of his solo career, contains musical echoes of the Springsteen/Steven Van Zandt song “Little Girl So Fine,” from the second Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes album (the most durable of the Jersey Shore bar bands), while ironically, a minor controversy ensued when the opening riff of Springsteen’s 2007 hit “Radio Nowhere” was noted for bearing an uncanny similarity to “Jenny” (“The kids do need braces, so maybe I will (sue),” Tommy Heath joked at the time).

Keller, for his part, suggested that “Jenny” has become part of the public domain.

“‘Jenny’ … I don’t own it anymore. Playing ‘Jenny’ is like playing ‘Louie Louie’ or something,” Keller said. “It’s a great bar band song. I dare anyone to screw that song up; you can’t. Everybody sounds good with that song.”

Following the performance of “Mystery Train,” which momentarily transformed the dimly lit Winooski watering hole into a rollicking Memphis juke joint, Keller stepped down from the stage. He was quickly back.

“I promised I’d do it, so I will,” he said, before launching into the instantly recognizable guitar riff that took “Jenny” to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May 1982.

But far from treating the song as a faded relic or an obligatory chore, Keller and his bandmates stretched it out past its tight pop single format into an extended jam which suggested that like all great songs, its appeal is timeless and its permutations endless.

After the show, the 58-year-old Keller, dressed in jeans and a sports coat with horn-rimmed glasses and a fedora, went to the bar for a drink and mingled with patrons with the casual ease of a day laborer stopping by the local saloon for a quick belt after work.

Then he and several band members packed into a mid-size sedan parked outside the bar and headed off into the Winooski night.

‘Spare Parts’ and pumping hearts

Donate Life team runs marathon to spread organ donation awareness

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

‘Spare Parts’ relay team members (left to right): Trish Thompson, Dawn Bissonette, Chris Chiarello, Dr. Antonio Di Carlo and Bella Carter. Not shown is Williston resident Michelle Pierce, who filled in for the injured Chiarello and ran anchor for the team at the 24th annual KeyBank Vermont City Marathon & Relay on May 27. (Courtesy photo)

It wasn’t just the neon green Donate Life Vermont T-shirts that made “Spare Parts” unique among the 1,443 relay teams that participated in the 24th annual KeyBank Vermont City Marathon & Relay on Sunday.

It was also what the shirts represented.

The five members of the Spare Parts relay team and their injured captain have all had their lives shaped by organ donation.

Michelle Pierce is a living kidney donor.

Trish Thompson is a liver recipient.

Bella Carter, a cross-country runner at Enosburg Falls High School, is the niece of a woman whose heart, liver, kidneys and corneas were donated after she died in a car accident.

Dr. Antonio Di Carlo is the medical director of transplant services at Fletcher Allen Health Care.

Dawn Bissonette received a lifesaving kidney transplant 38 years ago.

And team captain Chris Chiarello, who was forced to sit out the race due to plantar fasciitis, is celebrating 20 years as a liver and pancreas recipient.

Chiarello said he was happy to step aside for Pierce, a Williston resident who donated a kidney to fellow Willistonian Stephanie Fraser four years ago.

“When I had a chance to put someone who is a living kidney donor on the team, that made a lot more sense than having three recipients out there,” said Chiarello.

Pierce said she and her teammates were pleased with their results on the warm and sunny day in downtown Burlington.

“We did a lot better than we thought we were going to do,” said Pierce of the team’s time of 4 hours, 17 minutes, 48 seconds. “I think we all had anticipated that we were going to be closer to the five-hour mark. I think we were all amped up by the adrenaline and the crowd.”

Chiarello said the team’s performance had nothing to do with his pre-race pep talk.

“I said, ‘Take as long as you want. The longer we’re out there, the longer we’re spreading the word,’” he joked.

As their T-shirts announced, the Spare Parts team ran on behalf of Donate Life Vermont, a social initiative sponsored by the Center for Donation & Transplant, whose mission is to “bring awareness and education to the Vermont communities about the importance and need for organ donors while providing the tools to take action.”

Di Carlo, affectionately known as “Kidney Tony” among his teammates for the many kidney transplant operations he has performed, noted in a press release that the goal of the weekend was to spread awareness of organ and tissue donation and to hopefully save lives.

“We want to help create awareness and promote an important issue at this community event, one in which Vermont has made great progress recently,” Di Carlo said in the release. “Hopefully, we can inspire some of the attendees and runners to make a decision that could positively impact someone’s life in the future, or provide more information about organ and tissue donation that some may not be aware of.”

For more information about Donate Life Vermont, visit www.DonateLifeVT.org.


Teresa Maria Bair, (left) born on Feb. 17, 2012. (Courtesy photo)


Ed and LuAnn Koch of Williston are pleased to announce the arrival of their granddaughter, Teresa Maria Bair, born on Feb. 17, 2012. Teresa is the daughter of Alecia and Justin Bair and the sister of Jonathan, who reside in Manchester, Conn.

Greg and Sara Campbell of Williston are pleased to announce the arrival of their son, Sullivan Flinn Duncan Campbell, on May 4. He was born at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.

Benjamin and Leanne McElvany are proud to announce the birth of their son, David Benjamin, born on April 28 in Newton, Mass. Excited grandparents are Norm and Linda McElvany and David and Meri Ann Saddlemire of Williston.

Send your Milestones, including photos, to editor@willistonobserver.com

Life in Williston: Take a moment

By Karen Wyman

How often do you pass by a quintessential Vermont barn or a building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places? If you live or work in Williston, chances are you do so frequently. The real question is: have you ever taken a moment to truly appreciate this rich history that surrounds us?

I admit I am guilty of taking such things for granted. Every day, I drive by a beautiful, albeit decrepit, barn without giving it a second thought. It was simply a landmark I used when giving directions, “turn right at the old red barn.” This all changed after talking to my very passionate friend, Kristen, who inspired me to explore, respect and seek to preserve our town’s treasures. She has spent hours researching the various grants and programs available to help fund the restoration of this very barn that I just thought of as my own personal mile marker.

Her enthusiasm was contagious as she explained the barn’s history to me. Apparently, it had been built in two sections; the western section was constructed in 1860 and the milk house was then added to the northeast corner around 1940. She found that it would be eligible for grant money and that its current owner, the Town of Williston, has until August to submit for the funding. She has taken it upon herself to encourage the town to start this application process. The idea of restoring this piece of our town’s history to its original grandeur excited me. What a great way to bring the community together—an old-fashioned barn raising! My mind flooded with visions of a renovated barn where our town could hold community dances, theatrical performances, art shows, craft fairs… the possibilities seemed endless.

While daydreaming of living in a Warren Kimble scene, I realized I wanted to learn more about Williston’s past. The obvious place to start my inquiry was The Williston Historical Society. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this dedicated group, they maintain the Vermont Room at the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library. However, they are probably better known as the annual sponsors of the July 3 ice cream social! As you can imagine, they maintain a plethora of information, including the answer to a question my girls always ask me. “What is that little building next to the library?” Now I can answer correctly instead of telling them a story about how Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs used to live there (hey, I never claimed to be a perfect parent!). I now know that it is Williston’s only remaining one-room schoolhouse. The WHS renovated it, and it now belongs to the school district. Who knew? (Probably a lot of you, but it was news to me!)

There are many other preserved artifacts related to our beloved town, and on Thursday, May 31, from 6:30 to 8:30pm, you can spend an evening learning all about them. The Voyager House of Williston Central School, together with the Williston Historical Society, will be presenting “The Williston History Roadshow.” Here’s your chance to learn some fascinating facts to impress your neighbors about the Williston of yesteryear. I know my family was astounded to learn that at one time our house might have been oceanfront property. If only we could use that description if we ever try to sell our house! Maybe that actually explains why our lawn soil is like sand?

Hopefully this summer as you drive, walk or bike around Williston, you will take some time to appreciate the historical architecture that adorns our landscape. As a community, we need to make sure these structures are well cared for and maintained, so that we may uphold the beautiful blend of rural and urban development we are known for. This is especially important now that we don’t have “original home of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” going for us!

Karen Wyman has been a Williston resident for seven years, and lives with her husband and twin 5-year-old daughters.

Places I’ve Played: The hazards of baseball

By Bill Skiff

Baseball uniforms in the 1940s and 50s were 100 percent wool. Itch? Man, I guess they itched. On a hot summer day, you felt like you were wearing a bagful of fleas. But the pride we felt wearing them was priceless, and more than made up for any flea-filled sensations.

One summer, the town of Cambridge decided to buy its team new uniforms. They were made of cotton. Goodbye, fleas! The uniforms were white with red trimming. Each player received a matching red cap and long red stockings. To top it off, on the back of each shirt was printed the name of the business that sponsored it. Mine said: “Nobel and Pearl,” and I was proud to wear it. The girls loved them, which added their appeal to our team.

One Sunday afternoon, we were scheduled to play Underhill. It was the first time we planned to wear our new uniforms. When we arrived, their team was dressed in a mismatched set of dungarees, shirts and assorted caps. They looked like a rag-tag bunch of old hackers. We, on the other hand, looked like a million dollars.  During the course of the afternoon, they provided us with the biggest thrashing we received all season!

Moral of the story: It’s not the uniforms that make the team, it’s the team that makes the uniforms.

The Jericho High School baseball diamond was down in a little ravine in the middle of a cow pasture. It had the usual particulars of fields in those years: dips and dives, stones, and, sometimes, long grass, which slowed the ball.

Sliding into a base on that field was always hazardous. My friend Ken played for Jericho High and shared a hairy slide he experienced on their field. During a game, he hit a line drive into center field and, while trying to stretch it into a double, slid into second base. He landed poorly and dislocated his shoulder. As he recovered, the only comfortable position for Ken was to hold his arm straight up. However, the shoulder didn’t have enough strength to hold it there. To keep his arm up, he bent his elbow over his head, grabbed a hunk of his hair and hung on. The only problem was that the day before the game, his barber had given him a crew cut. His hair was only a half-inch long!

The infield on our homefield was covered with many small stones. During a game, as I bent down to field a ground ball, it hit a stone, bounced up and smacked me in the mouth. While the runner rounded first and headed for second, I stood there spitting out blood…and teeth. The ball had broken my three front teeth in half.

After the game, Dad hit me ground balls until I could field them without flinching and turning my heard away as they approached my glove. I made many trips to a dentist in Burlington, and kept my mouth closed at school. How can you ask a girl for a date while missing all your front teeth? I finally returned to normal.

Years later, I would take my partial plate out and chase our daughters and their friends around the house while showing the large gap where my teeth had been. They would giggle, scream and try to hide. At a later age, they asked me if they could have the gold in my bridge when I died. I said yes.

One Christmas, after I had received a permanent bridge, I had the gold in the old partial melted down and made into two nuggets. I bought gold chains for both nuggets and gave them to my girls with a note: “I decided not to make you wait until I died for the gold in my teeth. Merry Christmas. P.S. Make sure when you wear them out to dinner, you don’t get to close to a hamburger.”

Bill Skiff grew up on a farm between Cambridge and Jeffersonville. After a career in education, he now lives in Williston, where he is a justice of the peace and Fourth of July frog-jumping official. In “Places I’ve Played,” he shares his experiences of growing up in Vermont. Comments are welcome at vtcowcal@yahoo.com.

Around Town


The Town of Williston water and sewer bills have been mailed and are due by June 20. Payments— checks or cash—may be dropped off at the Town Clerk’s office. Checks may also be mailed or left in the drop box with your payment slip in back of the clerk’s office at 7900 Williston Road, Williston VT 05495. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Do you know a Vermont teacher who has inspired you and who deserves statewide recognition? For 10 years, the Vermont Humanities Council has honored such teachers with the Victor R. Swenson Humanities Educator Award, which recognizes a Vermont educator in grades 6 through 12 who exemplifies excellence in the teaching of the humanities. VHC seeks nominations for the 2012 award. Nominating letters are due June 15. The recipient receives a $1,000 check and public recognition at VHC’s fall conference.

Nominations may be made online at www.vermonthumanities.org or mailed to Vermont Humanities Council, Victor R. Swenson Humanities Educator Award, 11 Loomis Street, Montpelier, Vermont 05602 or e-mailed to info@vermonthumanities.org. To learn more, visit vermonthumanities.org.


Williston Central School’s Voyager House and the Williston Historical Society will host “The Williston History Roadshow” at the Old Brick Church on May 31 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The event will follow a format similar to the PBS program “Antiques Roadshow,” in which attendees are asked to bring a maximum of three antiques from their home for appraisal, with a suggested donation of $5 per object appraised.

Appraisers include Kyle Scanlon of Vermont Estate Services and Ethan Merrill of Merrill’s Auction Gallery on James Brown Drive. Merrill, the brother of Voyager House social studies teacher Aron Merrill, is also a judge on the upcoming History channel program “Picked Off.”

The event at the Old Brick Church will also feature a display of the Historical Society’s collection of local artifacts, with information about each item provided by WCS students.

Proceeds from the event will help support future collaborations between WCS and the Historical Society.

Guest Column: CVU summer camp connects youth to community leaders

By Duncan Wardwell

The Champlain Valley Union High School Summer Camp continues to provide a learning community for all incoming high school students. The camp encourages new CVU citizens to create social and learning networks. The Camp (which began in 2002) promotes students meeting new people, making friends, exploring possibilities and challenging themselves. Extra incentives exist this year as CVU staff, Connecting Youth (CY) members and camp counselors implement activities to inspire leaders.

A healthy transition to high school relies on a good partnership with Access CVU and CY. Access CVU invites all incoming ninth graders to enroll in one or two sessions. All campers choose three interest area activities from a menu of twelve different academic, artistic, athletic and technical offerings. Current and former CVU students serve as counselors to create activities for campers. Families are able to enroll at any time and may request scholarship support.

“We remove obstacles to join our learning community. We organize transportation and tuition options when needed,” said Eddie Krasnow, Access CVU director. CY annually supports scholarship initiatives and a counselor to mentor camp activities.

Campers participate in an environment that mentors new ninth graders with experienced students and staff. Christine Lloyd-Newberry, CY program director, said that, “every CY counselor contributes skills that endorse our culture of healthy decision-making.”

The CY counselors are able to utilize experiences from CY Improv and CY Lead to help students develop good problem-solving skills. Camp counselors establish effective relationships between new CVU students and current leaders. Allison Giroux and Shannon Ryan are experienced counselors, graduating with accolades in entrepreneurial and stewardship service.

“We help campers bond together and raise awareness about CVU,” Allison said. Shannon added that, “CVU presents a ton of opportunities, so take them! Join some clubs, teams, make connections and help yourself direct your own education.”

The social interactions between counselors, campers and staff integrate a strong learning community. André LaChance, a CVU English teacher for 23 years, challenges campers to know their teachers.

“We often see relationships that begin at the camp continue through at least the freshman year. I often help advisors and teachers plan for success,” he said. “I mentor counselors as they become educational leaders, and the counselors mentor campers as they mature as learners.”

Lloyd-Newbury elaborated that, “the relationships grow out of a first impression. The peer-to-peer education propagates between staff, parents and students.”

Incoming ninth graders are able to taste success before the first day of school officially begins.

“There are many ways to contribute to our learning community,” said Krasnow. “We expect students to challenge themselves and prepare ways to interact with the current CVU culture.”

It is important to provide good social interactions. Allison and Shannon both agree that encouraging students to contribute is important.

Shannon suggested that, “by becoming involved in a CVU group you can learn from students with recent experience.” Allison helps students participate when she says “listen to your counselors, advisors, teachers, parents and then identify a way to give back to CVU.”

These partnerships help nurture an environment where all students are encouraged to make a positive first impression.

New students discover success in various ways at CVU during the summer. A camper may choose to participate in interest areas like outdoor recreation, graphic design and engineering solutions. Another camper may be involved with theater, hip-hop fitness and poetry slams. All campers will be able to develop a new social network and establish learning accountability and healthy decisions. Check out the CVU Summer Camp website at www.cvuhs.org, or call Access CVU at 482-7194. Session A begins July 9 and Session B on July 23. Spaces are always available for incoming ninth graders in both sessions and all interest areas!

Duncan Wardwell is the Access CVU co-director, Summer Camp director and CY executive board member and lead staff adviser.

Two of Williston’s veteran teachers announce retirements

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Williston School District teachers Beth Dusablon (left) and Margaret Munt (right) are retiring at the end of the school year. Colleagues for the past 28 years, Munt and Dusablon have over 70 years of combined teaching experience. (Observer photo by Luke Baynes)

When Beth Dusablon and Margaret Munt retire at the end of the school year, they will leave behind more than 70 years of combined teaching experience.

Dusablon, 63, departs after a 42-year career as the longest tenured member of the Williston School District.

“I’ve been here long enough that I’ve taught students whose parents I’ve also taught,” Dusablon laughed.

But Dusablon, who has taught grades 1-4 at both Williston Central and Allen Brook schools, said her loyalty to the school district isn’t uncommon.

“There are quite a few folks in our district who have been here a long, long time, so that says something about the job and the quality of the schools,” said Dusablon.

Munt, 57, is a case in point, having spent the past 28 years teaching first and second grade in Williston. She said she stuck with early childhood education because of students’ openness to learning at that age.

“I love teaching literacy and early math skills. The children are just so inquisitive and eager to learn,” Munt said. “It’s just wonderful to develop relationships with the children and with their families.”

Dusablon, who taught third grade at WCS this year, agreed with her friend and colleague about the pleasures of the early elementary grades.

“I love seeing the change and the growth in the students, and I find that the younger the student, the more easily you see that within a year’s time,” Dusablon said. “When I worked with first and second graders, I would see some incredible changes over a year.”

Munt and Dusablon also give credit to the Williston community for consistently passing school budgets that have enabled the district to increase staffing and ensure small class sizes, despite a student population that has grown dramatically over their lengthy teaching careers.

“The community has always been supportive, and we’ve always had the resources that we’ve asked for, and we really appreciate that,” said Dusablon.

When asked separately what they will miss most about teaching, both Munt and Dusablon immediately responded: “The children.”

For that reason, Munt and Dusablon—who are both Vermont natives and graduates of the University of Vermont—cited “travel” and “visiting grandchildren” as top priorities in retirement.

For Dusablon, after 42 years of working around the school district’s schedule, she’s looking forward to the freedom and great unknown of retirement.

“It will just be nice not to have a schedule, and not to have a to-do list, to kind of take things as they come and not plan for everything,” she said.