Super Senior: Debbie Boyce

Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 4:28 PM EST
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - Thirty-one-year-old Jai Arbuiso is ready for some screen time. He’s with his friend and mentor, Debbie Boyce, at Rutland community access station PEG-TV, to record a segment on safety.

“The whole purpose is to teach people to be prepared and not rely on other people,” Boyce said.

Arbuiso, a resident of Randolph, has a mild form of cerebral palsy.

Reporter Joe Carroll: You enjoy coming on the show?

Jai Arbuiso: I love it, I look forward to it every time.

And with a cue from the director, the taping begins. “My name is Debbie Boyce, I’m your host of “Be Aware to be Prepared,” Boyce says to the camera.

Arbuiso and Boyce go way back to when she was his teacher in high school. There’s a list of helpful suggestions on the 30-minute show, ranging from wearing spikes to avoid slipping to staying hydrated.

Debbie Boyce: What do you need to do Jai?

Jai Arbuiso: I need to walk very carefully, too. You can put these on your shoes and they have spikes on them.

Boyce has a simple goal. “I just want people to do more, work to their potential,” she said.

Debbie Boyce: I would push him to his limits.

Jai Arbuiso: Yeah, she’d push me to my limits, which is good... We could match our attitudes together.

Not only does the 70-year-old host this show, but she was also a long-time EMT and president of the Vermont foster care program. “I believe there’s a purpose for me to be here,” Boyce said. That purpose was amplified after a near-death experience when she contracted spinal bacterial meningitis after back surgery.

Reporter Joe Carroll: That changed your life, huh?

Debbie Boyce: That changed my life, it changed my outlook. I tell people, ‘Get high on life.’

A colorful personality with a bit of hair flair. “I said, well, I’m finally mature, so now I’m going to do it,” Boyce said.

Arbuiso and Boyce have remained close since he graduated from high school.

“She is very good for looking out for everyone except for one person -- which sometimes is herself,” Arbuiso said.

“It’s a little correct, but it’s my way of feeling fulfilled,” added Boyce

With the show out of time, the team signs off for another episode. Boyce is all about time. “We’re here 24/7. Right? It’s what you make it, life is what you make it,” she said.