VASSALBORO — As a Jobs for Maine’s Graduates specialist at Vassalboro Community School, Victor Esposito wears many hats.

He works with more than 200 middle school students on career readiness and skills such as résumé and cover letter writing, recruits members of the business community to speak to students, and in his spare time oversees the ski and snowboard club, outdoor outing club and student council.

“The reason I still do this is because I work for a great school that supports these programs,” said Esposito, 72, of Oakland. “I also work for a great company that allows me to do the kind of thing I do with students and affords me the opportunities to be successful. It’s a win-win situation all around.”

For his efforts, Esposito is the recipient of the 2018 Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce’s Outstanding Professional award, which recognizes a chamber member who is certified in his or her field and has given back to the community.

“Victor is a tireless advocate for his program and his students,” said Kim Lindlof, president and CEO of the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, in an email. “His passion is contagious and his new ideas keep coming.  He has a passion for what he does and it shines through.”

“It’s very humbling and I feel very blessed,” Esposito said. “There are people I know who have gotten that in the business world, and I look up to those folks. They’ve been my mentors in some ways and have come into my class and talked to my students. To be in the same grouping is an honor for me.”

Originally from South Orange, New Jersey, Esposito served four years in the U.S. Navy, including two tours as an air crewman in Vietnam, before attending the University of New Hampshire and earning a master’s degree in agricultural science education and occupational education.

He then began his teaching career teaching agricultural science in New Hampshire before moving to Maine, where he became the dean of students at Carrabassett Valley Academy.

He is also the former activities director at Unity College and worked for five years as a professional cook.

Around the year 2000, Esposito joined the Jobs for Maine’s Graduates program at Vassalboro Community School.

The statewide program partners with public schools and private business to help students transition from middle school to high school, on to graduation and then to postsecondary education or career opportunities.

“This has really been my passion the last 19 years,” Esposito said. “I’ve found the kids are interested in getting these opportunities, and we start them early thinking about careers — maybe not what specific job they want, but at least what path they want to follow.”

At the school, Esposito works with every sixth- through eighth-grade student. Class activities range from résumé and cover-letter writing to mock interviews, assembling a work portfolio, acquiring a work permit and soliciting recommendations from within the school.

“Victor has been one of the most involved players at VCS,” Principal Megan Allen said in an email. “He has the energy of someone a third of his age — very few can keep up with him. He provides amazing opportunities for our kids to grow as leaders, as learners and as citizens. He really cares about kids and wants what is best for them.”

Esposito also oversees numerous activities at the school, including clubs and the student council, all of which students are encouraged to participate in to build leadership and interpersonal skills.

“The school actually makes my schedule so I can do all that stuff, still get to check on my (former students who have gone to high school) once a month and check in with the business sector,” Esposito said. “That’s why this school is so great.”

 

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected] 

Twitter: @rachel_ohm


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