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Super Senior: Connie Knodt

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It's a brand new day at the University Health Center in Burlington.

"Another day, another dollar, back to fun again," said Connie.

For Connie Knodt, work isn't work at all.

"It's like a second home here, it is, it's like a family here," said Connie.

Her job at University Pediatrics is special projects, from charts to schedules. She makes sure the kids are neither too late nor too soon for their next appointment.

"I have a regular list of things I do," said Connie.

At 79 she is stable; her first few years were not.

"I was a foster child who lived in 15 different homes up to the age of 5," said Connie.

She wrote me a biography of her life.

"My mother didn't straighten her life out so I would be put in another foster home," said Connie.

She never knew her dad. You quickly find out that Connie has always been a fighter.

"At 13, I had a job in the movies and at a dairy where I learned to milk cows," said Connie.

Once she turned 5, she lived with one foster family until she was 18. She never knew her biological parents.

Connie always worked. She went to college in her native New York on her savings and a partial scholarship. But the money ran out and she had to leave college. Her life might sound like a verse of a sad country song.

"My foster parents told me I had to move out as they were moving to Florida and there wasn't any room for me in the trailer they bought," said Connie.

But Connie's tune shows a woman with incredible strength and a desire to learn.

"I always set my mind to do the best I could do in whatever I did," said Connie.

In the 1960s, the married mom went back to college to finish her degree in biology and chemistry. She then went to graduate school and got a degree in marine biology. With no jobs, she took a job at a semiconductor company where she worked up to become an engineer.

"Anything that I've done, I take joy out of doing what I do," said Connie.

Connie came to University Pediatrics in 1998 after a long career at IBM. She was one of the few female engineers at the Essex Junction plant.

"There weren't too many woman engineers back in 1972," said Connie.

Her analytical skills keep this place humming. Today, the vast majority of parents and kids in the office are new Americans.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Do you enjoy seeing the kids here? 

Connie Knodt: Oh I do, I do very much.

She and her husband raised four children of their own. The couple eventually divorced. Most of her co-workers know Connie for being a genuine and caring woman. She is kind of mother to the staff, but many don't know her past.

"She keeps us on the ball," said Becky Roy, a co-worker.

As a kid she didn't know her heritage, or in a sense who she was, but one thing is clear, Connie became a trailblazer for woman. 

"People tell me it's amazing the way I turned out the way I was," said Connie.

Connie was also a champion bowler and had horses.  A very active woman indeed.

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