Mill River Union High School
Peggy Burke, was glowing with pride as she walked through the halls of Mill River High School getting high fives from students and staff alike. Burke, nicknamed “Ms. Peggy” is an 18 year veteran with the district and focuses on working with students in the PATHWAYS program. “If not for Ms. Peggy , none of us would complete all the steps we need to take each year, not only to achieve PATHpoints but to be happy and healthier employees,” said her colleague, Elizabeth Davis. “She adopted me right away and is a mother to everyone. She goes out of her way each day to help a coworker who may be having difficulties personally or professionally and is truly one of the kindest persons I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Her family is her life but her work family is too. When I was out last year after a surgery, she came to visit, sent supportive messages and helped to cover my position.”
On the day we visited Burke and her students had already stuffed bags of popcorn that were ready to sell to faculty. “We make and sell the popcorn weekly and use the funds toward field trips, to help stock fish at the local fish hatchery and to purchase foods for Thanksgiving baskets for the community. “It’s an excellent way for the students to learn about preparing food, how to market it, how to change money and how to work with a customer base,” she said.
When not at Mill River, Burke revels in hiking, growing flowers, kayaking and family game nights. “Our family members are trivia buffs,” she said triumphantly. “Perhaps a stint on Jeopardy is in my future.” “During the past year my husband and I hiked up Mt. Philo, around Silver Lake and explored Thompson Island outside of Boston. Lake Bomoseen is our go-to kayak place,” she said.
“I love Vermont and living in the country,” Burke said. “I have had a very lucky life and am told that my love for life and my optimism came from my father. I am caring for my mother now and I try to keep her going, encouraging her to move and walk as much as possible. Thank goodness the PATH program is helping me with that.”