Joe Robinson, Waitsfield Elementary school’s maintenance director, greeted us inside the entryway with a big grin on his face and his blue latex gloves. “You are early,” he said. “I am still in the midst of mopping the floors.” Now in his 21st year at the school, he eagerly volunteered that this is the best job ever. “I get a balance of physical activity, can connect with children to keep me young and have lots of opportunities for using my cognitive problem-solving skills.” Nominated as a rock star, by his principal, Kaiya Korb, Joe was in his mid-40’s when he began participating in the VEHI PATH programs and loved all the free advice about exercise, nutrition and sleep. “Because of my piqued interest in wellness, I am enjoying my 50’s more than any other decade,” he said.
Joe, as well as many of the other Waitsfield Elementary employees, thrives on athletic competition. As a result, over the past several years Joe has encouraged staff members to participate in the Corporate Cup and the VT City Marathon, providing consistent reassurance and occasionally a healthy breakfast he prepares in the kitchen. He does his best to involve students too, participating as a part of the weekly winter ski program and designing and overseeing the Boys on the Run program. For the past year he has been working on landing a new skill, riding a unicycle! While still needing a balance stick or two to stay upright, he got on board after the school held an intensive week’s circus camp last winter. “Everyone says they want to ride a unicycle, right? Well, I have the opportunity to do so.”