When Genevieve “Genny” Michael heard that her husband had taken a job at the Forestry Service in Leadville her reaction was downright biblical.
“I thought I had died and gone to hell truthfully,” jokes Genny, who worked at the Colorado Mountain College Leadville campus from 1967-1980.
“But it ended up being a place we really loved.”
Upon her arrival in 1966, Genny was quickly overcome by the charms of small town mountain living. She was even recruited by the local high school superintendent to get involved in the early days of the new CMC campus in Leadville.
Her roles there through the years ranged from physical education teacher, counselor, vocational guidance, and job development specialist. While overseeing occupational education, she took every class herself from auto mechanics to welding, so she knew what the students were experiencing.
Many of their students came from the Climax mine, and it wasn’t uncommon for her to register students all day and into the night – well past 9:00 p.m.
“Climax was just an incredible partner in every way to make sure the college was successful,” she says. “Anything we needed we called Climax, and they came through offering up their staff, bulldozers, you name it.”
Faculty came up with some inventive ways to promote the college as well, she recalls. During Leadville’s Boom Days, Genny proudly led the Boom Days band with a plunger in hand, while other CMC faculty played pots and pans.
“I have had the chance to do lots of neat things in my life,” says 85-year-old Genny, who went skydiving during her last birthday. “My time at CMC was part of that and so good…I really did love my time there.”