By Stephanie Choate
Champlain Valley Union High’s Class of 2014 is set to start a new chapter in their lives at the end of this school year, and several of the school’s teachers and support staff will join them.
Four faculty and staff members are retiring this year, many of them after decades with the school. English teacher Stephen Carey, Nichols House administrative assistant Vicki Roberts, guidance counselor Jane Krasnow and program assistant Edye Nye are all wrapping up their final year at CVU.
Carey began worked at CVU in 1975 as a reading and math assistant, becoming a full-time English teacher in 1977.
“It was a tremendously difficult decision for me to retire from teaching at CVU,” he said. “My work with students over the years has enriched my life in ways that cannot be described.”
He estimates that he has crossed paths with approximately 4,000 students during his time at CVU.
“I have learned that each and every one of them is a genius in some particular way, and that it has been my job to find that spark of genius and nurture it as best I could in order to help that student on his or her way forward,” he said. “CVU has kept me warm over the years by providing the salary to pay the gas, oil and electric bills, but more importantly by granting me the honor and privilege to work for so long with the wonderful young people of our community. The memories I have of classes and of individual students will keep me warm well into what I hope will be a long and productive retirement.”
Carey was among the group of teachers that began the new approach to freshman year at CVU—Freshman Core—which he said were some of the most challenging and rewarding times of his career. Carey has also chaperoned five trips to France and five to Greece, working to help students become more cognizant and appreciative of art, history, foreign language and travel.
Decades of working with young people have left him optimistic.
“I remain an eternal optimist because I have had the opportunity to see the future of our society through the eyes of its youth,” he said. “And from my perspective, the future looks good…not easy, not clear, not without struggle, but I believe we are all in good hands as we venture forward in our lives.”
In her 17 years at CVU, Krasnow has been the house counselor for the Fairbanks House, a counselor specializing in future planning and a general student counselor. In 1999, Krasnow helped start Vermont’s first high school diversity education group, training peer facilitators in anti-bullying curriculum.
“I’ve loved my time at CVU and have felt honored to work along with talented teachers, engaged students and active parents,” she said. “Next year I am looking forward to new adventures which will include more time for grandparenting, traveling and continuous learning.”
Krasnow said getting to know students in her small advisory groups has been one of her favorite activities over the years. She also praised the school’s atmosphere of commitment to students, their continuous improvement and the community—which, she said, takes the help of support staff, the administration and the community.
“I’ve loved the energy and excitement that comes from working with young adults,” she said. “I’ll miss my connection with some of the most amazing students with whom I have ever worked! I’ll miss the friendships I’ve made with all the adults in the building and our desire to work together for a common cause. That shared sense of purpose is unique in the workplace. I’ll miss the laughter, the incredible cafe food, the athletic events, the club activities (WORD!) and my Advisory.”
Krasnow also thanked the community for supporting the school, enabling it to prepare better, more informed citizens, and parents for “sending us your most precious asset and for trusting us in this important job.”
Nye taught English for a year in 1991, then returned to the school as a paraeducator eight years ago, after a career in sales and marketing. After his retirement, he plans to travel—particularly to spend time with his son in California, as well as a trip to Italy.
“I am planning on doing a lot of painting, particularly in watercolor and pastel, extensive gardening, a lot of hiking and walking and exploring all over Vermont with my dog and getting him certified as a Therapy Dog, caring for my cats, creating new recipes in the kitchen and possibly eventually buying a second home in L.A.,” he said. “I will continue to read voraciously and to take courses in whatever interests me.”
Nye said his favorite part of working at CVU has been helping students with their writing for graduation challenges.
“I will greatly miss the people I have worked with at CVU,” he wrote in an email to the Observer. “And I’ll miss all the kids!”
Roberts is wrapping up 29 years at CVU, beginning as the guidance secretary, then moving to the Nichols House office.
“I am very thankful to have been able to work with so many wonderful people and get to know so many students and families,” she said. “I have loved working in a very busy office and getting to know all the wonderful families and students. I really have loved my job and feel blessed to have been here so long.”
Roberts said she intends to spend time with her family and do things a full time job prevented her from doing.
“I think it is time to try something different while I am still healthy and able to,” she said.
She and her husband also purchased a camper that fits a motorcycle, and they plan to bike and camp this summer.
“I can’t remember the last time that I had a summer off and I am really looking forward to spending time with my family at many state parks and lakes this summer,” she said.
Roberts invited students and their families to keep in touch with her at Vicki@gmavt.net.
“I would also like to thank them for their friendship and kindness,” she said. “I will miss them all very much!”