GMTCC’s Haley Michaud is a Vermont Presidential Scholar
by Deb Lambert, Community Journalist
HYDE PARK – Haley Michaud is no stranger to competition. She started showing calves in Vermont 4-H Dairy Shows when she was eight years old, gaining the confidence, coordination, self-discipline, teamwork and, of course, skills in animal handling, first with the calves, then heifers and cows.
Now a senior at Green Mountain Tech, Michaud is in her second and final year in the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) program. In 2022, she took the gold medal at the SKillsUSA Vermont Conference, a contest in career-readiness and professional excellence in Career and Technical Education. She ranked seventh in the country at the national conference in Atlanta.
And on January 23, Michaud’s academic accomplishments will be recognized at the statehouse as a 2023 Vermont Presidential Scholar in Career Technical Education. “Definitely this one is really cool to win,” she says. “I like how people look at it for college applications.”
Michaud attended the pre-tech program at Green Mountain Tech in her sophomore year. After exploring all 12 offerings, she landed with HVAC, believing it was the best fit for her. Her older brother attended the program for two years, as well, and that stirred her interest in learning more about the field.
Even though she had been warned away from attending Green Mountain Tech, she remains proud and confident with her choice, “I’ve achieved more in my last three years here than most high school students ever will.” She says that Green Mountain Tech “gives you a head start in whatever field you want to work in, and academically as well.” Michaud plans to attend Alfred State College in New York next fall.
When asked about entering the male-dominated HVAC field, she observes, “This is my second year in the program, also my second year being the only girl in the program. It gives you an aspect of what working in this career is going to be like. You’re going to get used to working with the guys in the trade. Hopefully it helps them learn that when they do see a female in the trade they’ll know that she can do the work as well as they can.”
And she’s sharp with a gun too. Last summer, her 4-H Vermont hunting/wild life skills team placed fourth overall at the 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships in Grand Island, Neb.
Her years of experience in 4-H competitions also led to being selected for the 2022 National 4-H Dairy Conference this past fall. The 4-Hers were among 200 outstanding 4-H dairy members, ages 15-18, from more than 30 states and Canadian provinces selected to attend last year’s conference in Madison, Wis.
Perhaps, more important than the travel and the awards, she’s building connections between farming and her own future. “I didn’t realize how many places this field could take me when I first started, but now my main goal is to build my own HVAC business, specializing in the dairy industry.” Such a specialty includes servicing heating and refrigeration systems used in production and storage.
In the meantime, she’s working as the shop foreman in her Green Mountain Tech program. “I’m more prepared in the workforce,” she notes with a smile. “I get to make sure no one loses a hand or burns themselves.”
[Deb Lambert is the Community Outreach Coordinator at Green Mountain Technology and Career Center in Hyde Park.]