Jean Cota was a stay-at-home mom beginning at the age of 19, and went on to spend 16 years as a registered in-home childcare provider. “I knew times were changing, and that eventually a degree would be required,” she said.
Small classes, supportive faculty and staff, and a sense of community at CCV helped Thato Ratsebe develop her skill set and prepare for her future. “The amount of attention that I got was incredible.”
Jeff Patterson took a CPR class in school when he was just thirteen years old. At seventeen, a friend’s father encouraged him to join the local rescue squad, so he went out for a ride-along. After that, “I was hooked.”
Kris Matheson is obsessed with socks. He brags about the drawers full of them he has at home, and the fancy materials they’re made of, like merino wool and something called Coolmax; he ogles the rows of sewing machines that knit them inside the Cabot Hosiery Mills in Northfield, where Darn Tough socks are made.
Cathy Solsaa is a talented, busy person. She’s a longarm quilter, a wife, and a mother of four. She has a degree in economics. She’s a massage therapist, and she helps run her husband’s contracting business. “I’m sort of a seeker, a learner,” she says.
“I don’t think there’s been a day that’s passed by that I haven’t thought about working at Hazelett.” Tyler Schmoll is young, bearded, and stoic. Sitting next to Tyler in a matching easy chair (and in matching company-issued duds) is his twin brother, Cody.
When Hal Porter was 42 years old, he found himself standing at the end of a long dirt driveway, pulling a small wheeled suitcase. Surrounding the driveway were a cluster of tired buildings and a few solitary trees. Beyond that were woods. A sign on one of the buildings in front of him read, “You are no longer alone.”
CCV alumna Tereka Hand is working on the front lines of the child care challenge. Studying at the College’s Rutland campus, she earned degrees in human services and early childhood education before opening her business, Rekaroo’s Childcare, in 2016.
“I didn’t work well with school, but I was smart. I would skip school and go read books,” says Richard Witting. He dropped out of high school at 17, tried a few classes at CCV, and then moved to the West Coast for more than a decade. In Portland and San Francisco, he returned to familiar work: food.
Gary Taylor served in the military and worked as a police officer after graduating from Burlington High School in 1973. He didn’t think a college degree was all that important. Taylor grew up in a blue collar family with a father who believed that if you didn’t work with your hands, it didn’t count as work.