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VAL helped me learn that I’m very persistent. When I put my mind to something I can really achieve it. ~Nattyice*

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Posted on Thursday, October 15, 2020, at 12:15 PM


Nattyice grew up in Addison County in a loving home with supportive parents.  She was never one to shy away from work.  While still in elementary school, she’d shovel neighbors’ driveways after big storms for a few dollars here and there.  She started working at a local hardware store when she was seventeen.  

Nattyice decided to go to VAL when she was 15.  She experienced a lot of drama at her high school and felt her teachers weren’t very accommodating.  A large public high school did not serve her learning style and she was distracted easily.  She asked to go to VAL. Her mother agreed to sign the paperwork if Nattyice did the work to get accepted.  

“I jumped right in and, even though  I took a few breaks along the way,  I always came back,” Nattyice said.  “I liked the classes at VAL. I really enjoyed being able to read a book and write about it. One of my favorite books was The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen ChboskyI worked with Mac (Cox), the writing teacher.  He was old school and I liked that.  He thought of ways to teach that worked for us as individual students.  He connected with each of us on our own level.  Math was really hard for me and the teachers were super helpful.”

“I am most proud of my pottery project!  I harvested clay from my husband’s father’s property in the town of Addison and put it in a cooler. I dumped it in a kiddie pool and worked the clay with my feet to mash it together and get rid of the mud,” Nattyice said.  “I shaped the clay into balls and worked them into the shape of clay pots for my mom’s flowers—by hand.  I used my father’s grill as a kiln, set to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit) to dry the pots.  I’m really proud of them. I also earned my last credit–in art–so I could graduate!”

Today, Nattyice works as a caregiver for the elderly.  She enjoys being able to help people. Her ambition is to make enough money to attend college to enter a field allowing her to work with large farm animals. 

“People should know that VAL will stand by them to help them get their school work done,” Nattyice said.  “VAL works with you as an individual to help you do what you need to do. They don’t give up on you.”

Lisa Woronzoff, Advising Coordinator for VAL’s Chittenden County Learning Center, said, “Natalie’s graduation path never got easier.  Rather, she worked hard to build her skills and it was that resilience that successfully brought her to her diploma.”

*Pseudonym

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