VUHS SENIOR REBECCA Kachmar, an Addison resident, has published her first novel, a work of fantasy called “A Queen’s Vow,” that is available through Kachmar credits the VUHS Project Workshop course with helping her finish the book and get through the publishing process.
VERGENNES — High school seniors are just now earning their diplomas, most of them having completed required course loads. Others chose different paths to earn some of their academic credits.  Vergennes Union High School senior Rebecca Kachmar published her debut fantasy novel, “A Queen’s Vow,” on Her classmate Matt DeMatties built an electric lap guitar. They were among the growing numbers of students who have demonstrated proficiency and thus met state educational standards through personalized learning plans or innovative courses. Kachmar and DeMatties were among the half-dozen...

ONE OF THE VUHS morning meeting groups of seniors sends their mortarboards flying on Friday evening, June 12, after VUHS Principal Stephanie Taylor announced they have earned their degrees. Independent photo/Andy Kirkaldy
VERGENNES — It wasn’t a typical graduation evening for the Vergennes Union High School Class of 2020.  But then what has been typical over the past four months for the class’ 68 seniors, months filled with distance learning and isolation and uncertainty? Friday evening’s festivities saw a parade through Vergennes organized by parents and community members that followed a socially distanced ceremony held in front of the school.  The ceremony saw seniors grouped by the dozen — they were sorted by their morning meeting home rooms. The stars of the show were driven up to a stage at the back of...
VERGENNES — The Vergennes Union High School’s Racial and Social Justice Alliance has organized an anti-racism event on the Vergennes green for this coming Saturday, June 20, that will consist of a series of discussion groups. From 4 to 5 p.m. attendees can choose to join any of the discussions, each of which organizers said would focus “on a different dimension of race either in our community or the broader United States.” Those who attend are asked to wear masks. Everyone is invited. According to an email from organizers, discussion topics could include “color blindness and white fragility,...
VERGENNES — Lost traditions and milestones. Challenges and struggles. And ultimately resiliency, hope in the face of uncertain futures, and a greater appreciation for the people in their lives.  Seniors in the Vergennes Union High School Class of 2020 sounded those themes when talking about their final semesters and careers at VUHS and Addison Northwest School District elementary schools. Ferrisburgh residents Sophie Hatch and Emily Rooney, and Vergennes residents Addie Brooks and Alder Donovan-Cook talked to the Independent about their experiences and those of the 68 members of their class....

VUHS MUSIC TEACHER Sue O’Daniel directs the VUHS Symphonic Band. O’Daniel is retiring after 42 years leading the school’s music program. She is credited with creating a love of music in generations of students there and bringing music to the wider community. Photo courtesy of Phil Gramling
VERGENNES — A twist of fate in the summer of ’78 led to Sue O’Daniel’s 42-year career as the Vergennes Union High School music teacher. Without that happenstance, a conversation at a University of Vermont summer music camp, generations of VUHS students would not have been inspired in the same manner. The Vergennes City Band would not have become a Monday night summer fixture on the city green. The VUHS auditorium would not have sold out multiple times every fall for the school’s annual musical. How great has O’Daniel’s impact been in the Vergennes area? VUHS math teacher Nancy Ambrose, her...

MOTHER AND DAUGHTER Tara (right) and VUHS senior Addie Brooks were among the organizers of a parade to honor the school’s Class of 2020. It is planned for the evening of June 12, immediately after the abbreviated VUHS graduation ceremony. Photo courtesy of Tara Brooks
VERGENNES — Organizers are working on a parade that will carry the Vergennes Union High School Class of 2020 through many Vergennes neighborhoods after their abbreviated graduation ceremony on Friday, June 12.  The seniors’ graduation committee and school and local officials intend to put seniors in about 30 cars and one float, with an escort of Addison, Ferrisburgh and Vergennes fire vehicles and Vergennes and possibly Vermont State police. The parade will follow what VUHS Principal Stephanie Taylor called “a graduation ceremony of sorts” on June 12 at 6 p.m.   Taylor said graduates will...

VERGENNES — Vergennes Union High School Social Studies teacher Rebecca Coffey has been chosen as Vermont’s senior division nominee for Hannah E. (Liz) MacGregor Teacher of the Year award, which comes with a $10,000 prize and is sponsored by the National History Day organization. According to the organization, each of the 58 National History Day affiliates may nominate one high school teacher for this award, with the nomination alone coming with a $500 bequest. The teacher nominated, according to a National History Day press release, “demonstrates a commitment to engaging students in...
VERGENNES — Vergennes Union High School has announced its honor roll for the 2nd quarter of the 2019-2020 academic year. Students named to the roll include: 12TH GRADE High Honors: Marlie Hunt, Emily Rooney and Kai Williams. Honors: Michael Alexopoulos, Colby Beinhaur, Luke Bergmans, William Bergmans, Brianna Billings, Kyle Booska, Emily Brinkman, Adelaide Brooks, Benjamin Curtis, Leah Croke, Matthew DeMatties, Alder Donovan-Cook, Siobhan Eagan, Aidan Gardner, Sophie Hatch, Karyn Kenfield, Robert Kenfield, Gage Lalumiere, Justin McEntee, Rory Patch, Mckenna Phillips, Maya Praamsma, Julio...

JEFF PIDGEON, FAR left, holds his 25th anniversary award with a couple of his colleagues, Mark VanDewettering and Mark Adams, at Pixar Animation Studios in California._ Courtesy of Jeff Pidgeon
For as long as Jeff Pidgeon can remember he drew. Constantly. “My goal was to be able to make a living doing it,” said the 1983 Vergennes Union High School graduate in a recent interview. Um, check. This animation artist now lives in California’s San Francisco Bay area, close to the Pixar studio in Emeryville — where he’s worked since the early ’90s. His work has been recognized in Academy Award-winning films such as “WALL-E,” “Up,” “Toy Story 3,” and, at the Oscars just last month, for “Toy Story 4.” “It’s always a huge thrill to have your work recognized in such a prominent way,” Pidgeon...

VUHS JUNIOR BARRET Barrows looks for the pin signal from the referee during one of his 182-pound matches at this past weekend’s state wrestling tournament at Mount Anthony. Barrows finished third in the weight class to help the Commodores take fifth place. Photo courtesy of Lisa Brace
BENNINGTON — The Vergennes Union High School wrestling team took fifth place and placed three wrestlers in the top three in their weight classes to submit the best performance among local teams at this past weekend’s state championship meet at Mount Anthony. Host MAU (278 points) topped Essex (254) and Spaulding (201) for the Patriots’ 32nd straight Vermont title. VUHS was fifth with 116 points, Mount Abraham took eighth with 82, and Otter Valley was ninth among 21 scoring teams with 80. Middlebury did not place a wrestler on the podium and scored seven points, good for 18th. Commodore Aiden...


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Addison County Independent

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