May 28, 2018

Teens learn saving over spending

Colin Ryan talks to teens at a financial literacy seminar at New England Federal Credit Union. (Observer photo by Rachel Gill)

Colin Ryan talks to teens at a financial literacy seminar at New England Federal Credit Union. (Observer photo by Rachel Gill)

By Rachel Gill

Observer correspondent

Saving money is all about marshmallows.

“To talk about money you have to talk about marshmallows,” said Colin Ryan, addressing about a dozen teens and their parents during “Economy of Me,” a finance workshop for Vermont teens. Ryan, a financial literacy speaker for the Association of Vermont Credit Unions and a standup comedian, spoke at an April 10 workshop at The New England Federal Credit Union in Williston.

“What I am really talking about here is saving your money,” Ryan said. The marshmallow theory came from a psychological study of 4 year olds, Ryan said, known as the Marshmallow Test. Organizers took a group of 4 year olds and gave them each one marshmallow. The organizers left the children alone in a room and said they could either eat the marshmallow now or wait until the organizers returned, when they would get two marshmallows.

“It’s not easy to not indulge in what’s right in front of you, this is all about spending or saving,” Ryan said. “It’s just about saving your money to pursue the dream of what you want to do with your life.”

To do this, the first step is to indentify your marshmallow.

“Figure out what you spend your money on but probably should not be,” Ryan said. “This is about controlling impulse so you can manage the money in your pocket.”

Ryan instructed the students to begin by making a list of all expenses—everything from food costs to cell phone plans—and estimates on how much is spent on each. The result is the cost of each item per month and per year.

Avery Caterer, a senior at Champlain Valley Union High School and workshop attendee, said his marshmallow is clothing.

“It was frightening to learn how much money I spend on clothing, it adds up really quick,” Caterer said. “This helped show me how to save money instead.”

Over the last three years, Ryan has talked to 30,000 teens all over Vermont about money. He’s found that expenses add up: gas averages $1,648 a year, cell phone plans $799 a year and clothes about $1,300 a year.

“This can change,” Ryan said. “There are ways to reduce spending.”

One way to slash spending is to track it.

“Write everything down,” Ryan said. “One tool is, using, you enter all your expenses and it alerts you via email when you have gone over your budget.”

Aside from accountability, Ryan said to drive like the rich.

“Less than 25 percent of millionaires drive new cars,” Ryan said. “Most drive used cars. Repairs are cheaper and it gives them the freedom to do what they want with their money.”

Jill Lang of Williston agreed. It’s college over a car for her son.

“I think we should wait until after college to buy my son a car,” she said. “He may be the only senior riding the bus, but it will let him use that money for more important things. That’s easier said than done though.”

Buying used also goes for clothes.

“Used clothes shops can make for a huge savings,” Ryan said. “Buying new things is not a real solution for making us feel better, but our culture tells us it is.”

Another money saver is cooking at home.

“Go out to eat less, you will save money every month for the rest of your life,” Ryan said. “For 10 bucks you can cook 12 spaghetti dinners and (make) 22 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.”

Ryan said that doesn’t mean resigning yourself to a lifetime of sandwiches and spaghetti.

“Just bringing your lunch to work or school will be a big money saver,” Ryan said.

No matter how you spend your money, getting advice on saving is a good idea.

“I liked the charts, it let me see how things add up,” said Sydney Langdeau of Milton, one of the workshops’ teen attendees.

Landgeau’s dad, Gary, said he appreciates Ryan’s message.

“It’s nice to hear someone else say the things a parent would say to their kids. That reinforcement really helps,” he said.

Ryan hopes his message gives teens the ability to pursue anything and everything.

“There’s so much pressure to be a consumer and that can take a major toll,” Ryan said. “I hope these teens come away with a sense of hope that they have the ability to manage their money and to do what they want to do in life.”

Bringing Bangkok to Vermont

Chalinee ‘Nina’ Samutphong leads Allen Brook School students in a Thai song and dance April 11. Samutphong’s fellow visiting teacher told students Thailand is so hot that when the teachers arrived in Vermont in August they thought it was winter. (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate)

Chalinee ‘Nina’ Samutphong leads Allen Brook School students in a Thai song and dance April 11. Samutphong’s fellow visiting teacher told students Thailand is so hot that when the teachers arrived in Vermont in August they thought it was winter. (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate)

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

The raw edge of winter is stubbornly clinging to Vermont, but it’s the hottest time of the year in Chalinee Samutphong’s native Bangkok.

Wearing a t-shirt depicting Thailand’s famed Muay Thai boxing, Samutphong described Thailand’s Songkran Festival—where the nation’s sweltering inhabitants douse each other with water to celebrate the Thai New Year—to a group of Williston Central School students earlier this month.

“It’s very hot,” she told the third- and fourth-grade students, seated cross-legged on the floor. “We need to do something to make you feel cold and refreshed.”

Samutphong—the head of the English Department at Wattana Wittays Academy, a prestigious all-girls school in Bangkok—is wrapping up a school year spent in Vermont, organized through the University of Vermont Asian Studies Outreach Program. After spending the earlier part of the school year at Hinesburg and Shelburne schools, she has been at WCS since February.

Known to students as Nina, Samutphong teaches about Thai culture, ceremonies, traditional games, arts, crafts and cooking—as well as taking in a bit of American culture.

“I had never been to the U.S. before,” she said. “It is my opportunity to learn about new cultures and new things and live in cold weather.”

WCS teacher Marybeth Morrissey, who is acting as Samutphong’s mentor, said students love having Samutphong in the classroom.

“They learn a lot of information about other places but it’s very different when you can connect with an actual person,” Morrissey said. “It’s interesting to hear all the things that are different and also I think in many ways more powerful to start to learn all the ways in which we’re similar.”

Last year, students got to engage with a scholar from China, Tao Ye, who also visited Vermont through the UVM Asian Studies Outreach Program.

“Asia is just so important in our world and the kids in Vermont don’t have as much exposure to other cultures as they do in some other parts of our country,” Morrissey said.

Last week, Samutphong and the three other Thai teachers placed throughout the state visited Allen Brook School, performing traditional Thai dances and songs. The teachers also led students in a simple Muay Thai demonstration, much to the delight of a few exuberant students in the back who were especially enthusiastic about the high kicks.

Samutphong said she has spent time in Canada, but this is her first visit to the U.S.

She got her first glimpse of snow this winter, and said the pictures and descriptions she sent to her friends back home did not do it justice.

“I cannot explain how beautiful it is. You have to see it with your own eyes…the way it sparkles,” she said.

One of her host families also took her skiing at Bolton Valley Resort—an activity she said was fun and “very cold.”

During her stay, Samutphong also visited New York City, Washington, D.C., Boston, Maine and Florida.

“The ocean here, the color is different from Thailand,” she said. “It’s like a very dark blue.”

Samutphong said a big difference from her home is Vermont’s vast tracts of empty land, something the city-dweller is not used to seeing.

“I like the country,” she said. “Everything here is bigger than in my country.”

Although she thought the weather was going to be the most difficult thing to get used to, she said the trickiest part was trying to get around. Used to taking public transportation at home, in Vermont she had to ask her host family for a ride if she wanted to go anywhere.

Her visit also highlighted some of the differences between Thai schools and American ones. In Thailand, her school day runs from 8 a.m. to just after 4 p.m., and the school year goes from May to February. Samutphong’s class in Thailand is about 50 students, who all wear uniforms and are typically more reserved in the classroom.

“Thai students are taught to be respectful to their elders,” she said. “When a student walks past teachers, (they) have to bow to them… they have to be lower than the teacher.”

She said the students in Williston are always excited to see her in the classroom, and ask her a lot of questions.

Samutphong will get to take a look at another Vermont specialty—mud season—before she heads back to hotter climates on May 10.

“I have enjoyed it and it’s fun, but now that it’s almost time to go home, I miss home,” she said.

Hashing out medical marijuana dispensary restrictions

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

While still torn about the wisdom of allowing medical marijuana dispensaries in town, the Williston Planning Commission worked to hammer out parameters for potential dispensaries on Tuesday.

A new subchapter in the town’s bylaws would limit dispensaries to a small slice of town—the industrial zoning district west, which is located on the northwestern edge of town and accommodates industrial and some commercial uses.

Additional requirements would include: a discretionary permit through the DRB; a security plan; hours of operation limited to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and severely limited signage that would allow text only, no pictures or graphics.

In February, the Selectboard voted 4-1 to instruct the Planning Commission to develop regulations for potential dispensaries in town.

After an equally split Planning Commission worked in March to develop restrictions, Town Planner Matt Boulanger drafted the zoning changes discussed at the board’s April 16 meeting.

“I’m just struggling with this issue of ‘where’s the public good for including a medical marijuana dispensary in the town of Williston?’” said commission member Paul Laska on Tuesday.

Boulanger suggested that, regardless of the question of public good, the town should either allow or prohibit dispensaries, but not leave the question in its current state, where dispensaries are not addressed at all.

“The state has allowed a use of land that is not currently addressed by our zoning bylaw,” he said. “It doesn’t give us tenable position if someone came in today and says ‘I’m going to stick one of these in Williston.’”

Specifically addressing medical marijuana dispensaries in the zoning bylaws also moves the process into the public process, allowing for extensive resident input at public meetings.

The Planning Commission members present—just four—opted to move forward with defining the regulations, then have another “up or down” vote when more members are present.

Medical marijuana dispensaries must follow the restrictive state guidelines, and state law allows towns to further restrict the dispensaries—essentially, anything up to complete prohibition is fair game.

Under current state law, up to four dispensaries can operate in Vermont at any one time. The dispensaries must be not for profit, must have a limit of 1,000 patients and cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a daycare or school, among other regulations. So far, plans for a dispensary in Burlington are underway; another proposed dispensary in Waterbury has reportedly fallen through.

State guidelines already require that dispensaries be inspected at least once a year by authorities, and that authorities have the right to spontaneously inspect the premises at any time.

Planning Commission members suggested adding that any inspections, infractions, incidents and/or police calls be reported to the town.

“That would be a way of making approval conditional on continued orderly operation,” Boulanger said.

The proposed regulations also state that dispensaries must follow state laws as passed in 2012—meaning that if Vermont loosened it’s regulations in the future, they would not get looser in Williston, though Boulanger noted that section might have to go through the town’s lawyers.

Several Planning Commission and Selectboard members expressed a desire to take a stance on medical marijuana dispensaries, since laws could change in the future.

On Tuesday, the Vermont House approved a bill that would decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. The bill is now headed to the Vermont Senate.

New school calendar could mean longer year, more breaks

By Sophie Petit

Observer correspondent

Local students might have a shorter summer vacation but more frequent and longer breaks throughout the school year if a proposal by the region’s superintendent’s association passes.

The new calendar, dubbed “Calendar 2.0,” starts a week earlier in August and ends a week later in June, but doesn’t add any days to the current 175-day school year or take away any free days. Instead, it divides the school year into seven-week cycles, with breaks lasting more than a week in between.

The school year would no longer be “a never-ending treadmill,” said Elaine Pinckney, superintendent at Chittenden South Supervisory Union and a leading force behind the proposal, which has been in the works for two years.

The calendar would break the school year into manageable chunks of time for students and teachers, giving time to “breathe and reflect” at the end of each cycle, she said.

If passed, the new calendar would begin the school year after next and affect school districts in Chittenden, Grand Isle and Franklin counties—about 36 percent of Vermont’s student population.

It would be the first major change in decades to any of Vermont’s regional school calendars, which Pinckney said have been the same since “anyone who’s alive can remember.”

Pinckney was inspired to change the calendar when she visited schools in Arizona that had success with the so-called “Vision Calendar”—a slightly extended school year with more intermittent breaks and a shorter summer break.

At the same time, members of the association were looking at ways to foster student and teacher achievement but kept running into the same obstacle: the calendar.

They wanted to provide better student intervention, but there was never any time, not until after the school year was over.

If students need extra help, they have to wait until summer school, when they’re not only burned out but have gone for months not understanding key concepts, Pinckney said.

“We really do go 180 mph for 175 days, then we crash,” she said. “We were looking for a more reasonable rhythm.”

Under the proposed calendar, students in October, for example, get a 10-day break instead of working straight through to the holidays.

Julie Longchamp, who’s taught at Williston Central School for 25 years, said she thinks the new calendar is a good idea for students and teachers.

Longchamp said she spends most of her free time doing work for her classes, sometimes 12 hours a weekend.

The new calendar would give her more time to assess student work and plan lessons throughout the year.

It would also help student regression during the summer, which, she said, is apparent at the beginning of each year.

Educators in the United States have long been aware of the negative effects of a long summer break on student performance. According to some studies, research on the issue dates back to the early 1900s, around the time long summer breaks were becoming the norm.

Longchamp said while the calendar change would be beneficial, it needs to add in teacher professional development days and address challenges like additional childcare support.

The proposal is still in its early phases and is just now being opened for discussion among school boards and the community. The association shared the new calendar with the CSSU School Board for the first time on April 10.

The association is working on integrating teacher professional development days and making sure schools can provide programs for all students—not just those needing interventions—during the breaks.

The programs would still cost parents, but since the new calendar doesn’t add any days off from school, parents would end up paying the same amount they normally would for one long summer break program.

“We’re learning as we go along,” Pinckney said.

The next step is to speak with more members of the community and gather feedback.

“What are your questions? Can you help us figure this all out?” Pinckney wants to know.

Overall, she thinks there’s “a lot of positive energy” behind the proposal.

The only drawback she sees is that change is hard, even though the new calendar isn’t that different.

“People are used to imagining things in a certain way,” Pinckney said. “It’s hard to step back from that and imagine a different way of doing it.”


The trees are budding and maple season is almost over. I collected some sap from the maple tree’s bucket in our backyard and put it in the freezer for a reminder of this season during the hot summer. I will cook hot dogs or boiled and/or poached eggs in the sap. There are also a couple bags of snow for a cool treat. I most likely will not make this recipe then, but it sure tastes good on damp cold days of spring. It is easier than the Dog Team Tavern’s sticky buns.


Maple Nut Sticky Buns

1 1/4 cups milk

4 tablespoons butter

3 1/4 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar (I use 3 tablespoons)

pinch of salt

2 packages of dry yeast

1 egg, beaten

Heat milk and butter until very warm. In large bowl combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, yeast. Pour warm milk over this and add egg. Beat with mixer for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the 1 1/4 cup flour by hand. Cover with wax paper and foil and place in refrigerator overnight. You can let rise at room temperature and complete recipe in one day.

Next morning heat in saucepan:

3/4 cup butter (I use 1/2 cup butter)

1 cup maple syrup (your choice of grade)

3 tablespoons light corn syrup (I use 2 tablespoons sugar and 3 tablespoons water)

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Remove dough and stir down and drop by tablespoon on top of hot syrup mix. Let rise in warm place for 20-30 minutes. Bake 350-degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Turn out onto a serving dish soon as you remove from oven. You can add cinnamon to the syrup if you so desire.


Maple Broiled Scallops

1 pound lean bacon (I use low-sodium)

2 pounds scallops

1/4 cup maple syrup

Cut bacon into 3- to 4-inch lengths. Wrap bacon strips around each scallop and secure with a toothpick. Place on a wire rack in broiler pan. Brush each with maple syrup. Broil in pre-heated oven for 3-5 minutes about 4 inches from the heat. Turn and brush with maple syrup again and broil for 2-3 minutes. Bacon should be crisp.

Ginger Isham lives with her husband on a fifth generation family farm on Oak Hill Road. 


Sports Roundup

CVU tennis teams capture their openers 

After winning their season-opening matches against Burlington High Monday, the Champlain Valley Union High boys and girls tennis teams were taking on Stowe High Wednesday, after the Observer’s press deadline.

On Friday, the girls will meet Essex High at 3:30 p.m. in Shelburne, while the boys travel to Essex for a session with the Hornets and defending individual state champion David Ro of Williston.

The defending state Division 1 champion CVU girls whipped Burlington 6-1 at Shelburne Monday. Redhawks scoring individual match victories were Kathy Joseph, Andrea Joseph, Emily Polhemus and Sydney Hardy.

Winning CVU doubles teams were: Leah Epstein/MacKenzie Buckman and Natalie Puma/MacKenzie Kingston.

The boys won 5-2 at Burlington High, paced by individual match victors Skyler Golann, Conor McQuiston and Ryan Schneiderman.

Doubles pairs with wins were Tristan Arthaud/Josh Huber and Stephan Asch/Nathan Comai.


Home opener for boys lacrosse team Saturday 

The Champlain Valley Union High boys lacrosse team will perform before the home folks Saturday (2 p.m.) against Mount Mansfield Union High, and could be looking for a first win, depending on the outcome of Wednesday’s game in Barre against Spaulding High. Wednesday’s game was after the Observer press deadline.

The season opener Monday in the Granite State went south in overtime after CVU’s Chandler Jacobson scored to tie the contest with Hanover High at 4-4 with just 17 seconds remaining in the final regulation quarter.

But the Redhawks went into the extra reel a player down and it took the Marauders just 15 seconds to pot the game winner.

CVU netminder Owen Hudson had 12 saves, while scoring came from Jack Gingras, Elliot Mitchell and Matt Palmer.


New coaches for CVU softball

The Champlain Valley Union High softball teams are getting ready for next week’s season openers with new coaches at the varsity and junior varsity helms.

Taking over the varsity slot is Paul Potter of Shelburne, who has years of experience in Babe Ruth and elementary school programs, plus little league baseball.

He is owner and manager of the Shelburne Flight School.

Peter Monty is the new junior varsity skipper.


CVU’s Dunphy helps Vermont gain national title 

Molly Dunphy, scoring leader for the Champlain Valley Union High girls hockey team, now knows the way to San Jose.

Playing for the Vermont Shamrocks in a Tier 2 Girls 16-and-under national tournament championship game in the northern California city, Dunphy fired in a goal to give the Shamrocks a 2-1 advantage over Potsdam. The Shamrocks went on to a 4-1 triumph and the title.


Bulla, Talbert earn boys hockey mentions 

Junior defenseman and team captain Alex Bulla and sophomore goalie Greg Talbert were the lone Division 1 runner-up Champlain Valley Union High boys hockey honorees for All-Metro, All-State honors.

Bulla was named all-Metro third team and Burlington Free Press third team while Talbert earned an All-State honorable mention.

The Redhawks, with just four seniors, made it to the Division 1 championship game before losing a 4-2 decision to South Burlington High.


CVU Nordic skiers get all-star nods 

Skiers from Champlain Valley Union High’s championship Nordic ski teams were numerous in gaining bids to the sport’s all-star teams.

Five members of the boys team made the 10-skier all-star unit, while three of the girls were named to their 10-member group.

Boys named were Forrest Hamilton, Emmett Peterson, Sean Delaney, Parker Francis and Marvin Muller.

The CVU all-star girls are Taylor Spillane, Autumn Eastman and Cally Braun.

Emma Hamilton, Kayla Servin and Rachel Slimovitch drew honorable mentions for the girls while Cooper Willsey was a boys honorable mention.

—Mal Boright,
Observer correspondent


High hoop honors for CVU’s Emily Kinneston, others

Emily Kinneston

Emily Kinneston

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

So what does a student-athlete do the day after being named Vermont’s Miss Basketball for 2013, along with Metro Division Player of the Year?

Once the Champlain Valley Union High’s final class bell sounded at 3 p.m. Monday, junior Emily Kinneston, along with sidekick and teammate Kaelyn Kohlasch, were headed for the weights.

“Coach (Ute Otley) has asked us to work in the weight room,” said Kinneston, who was named Miss Vermont Basketball by the Burlington Free Press over the weekend.

It is never too early to prepare.

That was the latest honor for the sparkplug guard-forward for the undefeated (23-0) Division 1 champions. Along with being chosen Metro Division player of the year by coaches, Kinneston was earlier named Vermont’s female Gatorade Player of the Year.

Kohlasch was named to second team All-Metro and third team All-State. Freshman luminaries Sadie Otley and Laurel Jaunich were All-State honorable mentions.

Otley, who completed her second season at the CVU varsity helm, was named Metro Coach of the Year by her peers.

Kinneston averaged 12.9 points per game to go with 4.6 rebounds, 4.1 steals and 2.5 assists. While the scoring average was not mind-blowing, the ability to excel in all aspects of the game and do so at crucial moments gave opposing coaches nightmares, as one freely admitted during the season.

An example was CVU’s title game 47-42 win over Rice Memorial High on March 18. Kinneston was zip-for-11 from the floor before she nailed a critical three-point try to snap a 32-32 tie with just over three minutes remaining in the nerve-wracking contest. After that, she nailed six-of-six free throws and hauled in three crucial rebounds down the stretch. Among her game totals were 12 points and 13 rebounds for the 5-foot-6-inch (maybe) athlete.

Kohlasch had a key steal at mid-court and subsequent layup just 13 seconds after Kinneston’s bomb.

While being blanked from the floor for three quarters might get under the skin—not to mention into the head—of many players to the detriment of their performance, Kinneston just keeps on working.

Defense is a big part of Otley’s teachings, and Kinneston noted Monday that it requires serious concentration. The results? Steals and disruption of opposing offenses plus a focus on the total game.

Kinneston is the first CVU player to be accorded the Miss Vermont Basketball title.

REDHAWKS ROUNDUP: A view from the bench

Champlain Valley Union High School coaches provide a glimpse of their teams for the spring 2013 season



Coach: Tim Albertson

Key returning veterans: catcher and tri-captain Kirk Fontana (senior); pitcher, first-baseman, tri-captain Davis Mikell (senior); pitcher, first baseman, tri-captainDylan Ireland (senior); outfielder Erik Bergkvist (junior) and utilityman Kyle Stanley (junior)

Leading newcomers: pitcher Rayne Supple (sophomore) and utilityman Hayden Smith (junior)

Season prospects: Despite losing 12 players from the 2012 Division 1 champion team, there is strong pitching plus a good core group. A good mix of young and old talent. Should be competitive.



Coaches: Jeff Evans and Seth Emerson

Key returning veterans: Peter Scrimgeour; Carter Knox

Leading newcomers: Too soon to tell—no practices yet due to weather.

Season prospects: After state championships the past two seasons, we lost some key golfers, with Jack Tomashot being the most significant player to graduate. We need to find some guys to fill the last three spots. If we find those, and they’re consistently competitive, we’ll be in the hunt.


Boys Lacrosse

Coach: Dave Trevithick

Key returning veterans: Nevin DiParlo; Steele Dubrul; Ryan Beaudry; Alex Bulla; Chandler Jacobson

Leading newcomers: Elliot Mitchell; Dylan Schaefer; Matt Palmer; Kaleb Godbout

Season prospects: Very young team with a lot of talent. Focus will be on building the lacrosse IQ, getting everybody to play as a unit.


Girls Lacrosse

Coach: Erin Malone

Key returning veterans: Kate Raszka (M); Brenna Gorman (M); Thea Weiss (M); Sarah Caffry (G); Kyla Williamson (D); Anne Spector (D); Cassie Manning (D); Emily Spencer (D); Lucia Llona (A); Jane Baker (A)

Leading newcomers: Sarah Bergkvist (A); Molly Dunphy (M); Emma Griesser (A)

Season prospects: We are building off of a solid season last year. We’ve got a nice blend of experienced varsity players and younger players including three freshmen. At this point in the season, we are focusing on fundamentals, fitness and bringing together our group as a team.


Boys Tennis

Coach: Frank Babbott

Key returning veterans: Joey O’Brien; Conor McQuiston; Tristan Arthaud; Josh Huber; Ryan Schneiderman; Zach Holman; Evan Cohen

Leading newcomers: Skylar Golann; Stephen Asch; Bayard Baker

Season prospects: Likely to be in the middle of a competitive group. There is parity among most of the schools’ tennis programs. Which school graduated how many can be a real factor. Also, how quickly can teams and lineups be established influences wins against the tougher schools. CVU can expect a competitive effort from the tennis program. I think the students’ commitment speaks for itself, as we play a short and demanding season. Hopefully, CVU will have a strong showing to compete in states in June.


Girls Tennis

Coach: Amy deGroot

Key returning veterans: seniors Andrea Joseph; Emily Polhemus; Claire Stoner; Evie Mitchell; junior Leah Epstein

Leading newcomers: Freshman Kathy Joseph and Senior Paige Watson

Season prospects: With seven of nine key players from last year’s championship team and the addition of new talent, prospects look good for us as long as we are healthy. We are also very excited to develop the games of new players with an eye on the future.



Coaches: Paul Potter, Mary Sackett

Key returning veterans: Michelle Christman; Elaina Curtis; Tanika Gabaree; Bronwen Hopwood; Harley Marshall; Alannah Roy; Makenzie Roberts; Laurel Hubbert-Severance; Katlin Songer; Grace Usher

Leading newcomers: Elizabeth Boutin; Whittaney Fisher; Megan Folsom; Elizabeth Rensch; Claire Potter; Shea Savage

Season Prospects: A great season is underway! We are working hard for a successful 2013 season.


Track & Field

Coaches: Eli and Kasie Enman

Key returning veterans: Girls—Haliana Burhans and Abby Eddy in the sprints; Taylor Spillane, Autumn Eastman and Julienne Devita in distance; Emily Geske (broke school record and won state championship during this year’s indoor season) in pole vault; Brianna Hake and Kyla Leary in throws. As always, look for all three of our relay teams to be in contention.

Boys—returning 2012 State Champ Brian Boisjoli, as well as Oren Klempner, in pole vault; David Daly and Boisjoli in sprints; Roshi Brooklyn and Evan Harry in hurdles. Lots of depth in distance with almost the entire squad from last year’s state championships returning. Hoping to see Tom Keller back in good form after injuries (400m, jumps, throws).

Leading newcomers: Scott Edwards made good improvements this winter in shot put; Zach Marshall and Abby Keim in distance. Will know more after the first meet.

Season prospects: Improve on last year’s team results at the state championship (girls fourth, boys seventh). We have the talent to contend for top three.

REDHAWKS ROUNDUP: On the diamond—Kirk Fontana

Catcher Kirk Fontana will provide veteran direction from the plate. (Observer courtesy photo)

Catcher Kirk Fontana will provide veteran direction from the plate. (Observer courtesy photo)

New season for old field leader

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

Some 12 players are gone from the 2012 Vermont Division 1 baseball champions, but the 2013 edition of Champlain Valley Union High’s unit will be getting veteran direction from behind the plate.

Senior catcher and tri-captain Kirk Fontana will once more be calling the pitches and handling all the other brainy duties for which catchers, the only one of nine defensive players who can see the entire field, are uniquely suited.

“He will control the field,” said head coach Tim Albertson of his senior receiver. “Kirk will continue to run the infield, call pitches and the defense. He should be a good leader.”

After a series of scrimmages, the Redhawks open the season next Thursday (April 18), with Route 116 neighbor Mount Abraham Union of Bristol coming to Hinesburg.

Monday afternoon, Fontana and no doubt all teammates were hoping to get into the sunshine and swing some bats.

“We have been outside a couple of times but we have not hit yet,” he said.

Now in his third varsity year, Fontana said he has taken a shine to catching since being shown the ropes by admired uncle Mario Fontana, who was a catcher.

“He taught me about catching. I always looked up to him,” the Redhawk backstop recalled. “Blocking was a big thing.”

In this case, it is blocking pitches in the dirt, where these days, as Fontana acknowledged, many curve balls bounce given the pitching culture of keeping everything low, low, low.

Working with pitchers means effectively communicating with various personalities, often in stressful moments.

“All pitchers are different,” Fontana said. “I have to know how their pitches break and what pitches they are comfortable throwing in different situations.”

Last year, Fontana teamed with hurler Curt Echo, who was masterful in pitching CVU through the playoffs and into the championship game, where he blanked Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans. Echo is flinging strikes this spring for St. Michael’s College.

Though Echo is gone, Fontana feels good about the pitching staff for the new season.

Big, hard-throwing Davis Mikell, a senior tri-captain, is back and can start or close. Dylan Ireland, the third tri-captain, is another veteran chucker, along with Rayne Supple. And there are others.

“Our pitchers have gotten stronger over the winter and are throwing very well,” Fontana observed.

Looking ahead, he added that this is a team that can throw the ball.

“This can be a good year,” he said.

For Fontana, it was a quick turnaround from hockey, where his Redhawks went to the Division 1 championship game, and the start of baseball. But no problem. Having baseball start right away, he agreed, was better than climbing the walls when one season ends and there is a time lapse before the next one gets underway.

Count Fontana among those players and coaches who believe there are not enough games in the Vermont high school schedule. But starting Thursday next, they will take them one at a time.

REDHAWKS ROUNDUP: On the court—Andrea Joseph

Andrea Joseph is set to begin her fourth year on the CVU tennis team. (Observer courtesy photo)

Andrea Joseph is set to begin her fourth year on the CVU tennis team. (Observer courtesy photo)

A sporting spirit

By Rachel Gill

Observer correspondent

Andrea Joseph first swung a tennis racket at age 6. Now a senior on the Champlain Valley Union High School girls tennis team, she helped score two state championships in the last three years and placed third in last year’s Vermont individual tennis tournament, all of which Joseph considers to be the result of teamwork.

“My teammates at CVU are definitely my favorite part of playing tennis. They are a really nice group of supportive girls and I like being a part of that,” Joseph said.

At last year’s state individual tournament, which draws 44 of the best high school tennis players in Vermont, Joseph scored a 6-0 set from each of her opponents in the five matches she played. Fancy footwork and killer serves both contribute to Joseph’s game, but those moves are no match for the drive she gets from her teammates.

“I really like tennis. It’s a sport that requires a good combination of mental and physical skills,” Joseph said. “You could be a really good athlete but to really play you need strategy.”

Joseph’s strategy is teamwork.

“We cheer each other on,” Joseph said. “My favorite part of the season is at the end when we all get to see how much we have all improved as tennis players and how we’ve grown together as a team.”

Joseph said team spirit is a CVU girls tennis team tradition.

“We do a lot of team spirit events,” Joseph said. “From when I first joined the team as a freshman, I felt included and it was so nice to recognize familiar faces when walking around CVU as a freshman.”

Joseph remembers the moment she learned she’d made the CVU tennis team.

“It was really exciting to hear early. Usually you are called after two days, but I was called after the first day and was told I made the team,” Joseph said. “That I made it felt really cool.”

Prior to CVU, Joseph played tennis mostly for fun. It wasn’t until her middle school years when her game turned competitive.

“After playing tennis at the clinics when I was younger, I became good enough to play in adult tournaments and the adults just took it more seriously,” Joseph said.

Joseph’s mom, Shaly, first introduced her to tennis.

“My mom really got my whole family playing tennis. She made it the family sport,” Joseph said. “I really got to know a lot of people and made a lot of friends.”

Even as a high school tennis player, Joseph still turns teammates into friends.

Claire Stoner of Shelburne, Joseph’s teammate for the last four years, said having Joseph by her side has been a real game changer.

“A lot of times Andrea and I play individual matches on courts right next to each other and that’s very stress-relieving,” Stoner said. “Andrea is happy all the time. It’s extremely contagious. Even when she’s watching teammates’ matches, she is cheering us on loudly to distract us from getting down on ourselves.”

Joseph is no different off the court.

“I’m in a lot of her classes, too, and it’s just the same, nothing changes,” Stoner said.

Amy deGroot, CVU girls tennis coach also sees Joseph’s consistency on and off the court.

“Andrea is a highly sensitive individual who loves to take care of people and she has a level of grace beyond her years. She is impossible not to like,” deGroot said. “She has an uncanny ability to make sure her opponents are feeling good inside while she is thrashing them about on the court.”

With seven of the nine key players from last year’s championship team, deGroot said this season looks promising.

“Prospects look good for us as long as we are healthy,” deGroot said. “We are also very excited to develop the games of new players with an eye on the future.”

One of the new team additions is Joseph’s sister, freshman Kathy Joseph.

“It’s fun to have a sister on the team,” Kathy said. “I am really looking forward to getting to know the team and playing for CVU.”

DeGroot could not be prouder of the team’s welcoming spirit.

“It’s the best feeling in the world to know these messages have sunk in,” deGroot said. “We have a mission statement to train the best competitors in state and also have the greatest team spirit and the fact that we do that as a team and pull those things off together is just awesome.”

Keeping the team focused will help serve up a successful season.

“We talk to the girls about ideas of how to be in a good frame of mind to play point play because what goes on between the ears determines the outcome of the match.”

The tactic seems to be paying off. CVU won it’s first mtach against Burlington High School 6-1 on Monday.

After high school, Joseph plans to attend college, racket in hand.

“In college, I definitely plan on playing club tennis for the fun of it and I want to meet more new friends,” Joseph said. “But I will be done with the competitive aspect so I can focus on my academics.”

Joseph was accepted to Cornell University, University of Vermont, Johns Hopkins and Carnegie Mellon.