Dear Editor, Nitka’s notes from the State House

 

The 15-foot or taller double doors on the front of the State House were opened last week for the first time since the winter. This allows visitors to enter from the front rather than the sides of the building, which one must do all winter. Their opening also signals that the end of the session is approaching. The target date is early May for finishing up the first half of the biennium.

This week elementary through high school students from around Vermont were present on the front lawn and in the building as part of a Climate Change gathering for students. The plan called for Legislators to join them outside at noon to hear their concerns for their futures and the planet. Many were very well versed in expressing their opinions once you could find your district students in the crowd. Almost every student had a poster and many were placed on the ground for a drone to capture on video along with the more than 500 to 1,000 students in attendance.

On the same day, the UVM Men’s Basketball Team was honored inside with a Resolution acknowledging their very successful season. These tall young men’s faces were beaming as much as their younger counterparts outside were.

Another student event was the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the founding of Vermont Technical College. I was surprised to learn that the Legislature in 1886 passed, “An Act to Establish a State Normal School” constituting and establishing the Orange County Grammar School at Randolph Center as the Normal School for the State of VT. In 1910, the Legislature established the School of Agriculture at the Randolph location to educate students specializing in agricultural studies. In 1957, the addition of technical subjects to the curriculum resulted in the name change to the VT Agricultural and Technical Institute. In 1961 the school joined the new state college system and became a technical college.

The school today has a very diverse curriculum from computer science fields, to nursing, to aviation, to dental hygiene to agriculture and more. They have an excellent job placement rate and in 2014, 96 percent of the graduating class were employed in their field or pursuing advanced education. It’s hard to get better than that but for the 2016 class, 100 percent were having the same success as mentioned for the 2014 group. These students upon graduation have lower student debt and are earning higher salaries than most of their counterparts. Patricia Moulton Powden is the new head of the college and comes with many years of experience in Economic Development and as the head of several agencies.

Visit the State House, have lunch in the cafeteria and listen to testimony in the committees on many of the bills. Contact me at home at 802-228-8432 or anitka@leg.state.vt.us.

 

Senator Alice Nitka

Montpelier, Vt.

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