Sept. 22, 2017

Gratitude is what Vickie Chalifoux Wolcott has for the education and support she received while a student at Arsenal Technical High School.

Vickie Wolcott

The Tech alumna, Class of 1975, recently talked about her educational experience and the influence it had on her life’s success.

The president and owner of M.J. Schuetz Insurance Services, Inc., Wolcott has spent her entire professional career with the local insurance company, where she started as a receptionist. Although an accomplished businesswoman, Wolcott remains humble and committed to giving back to the community.

She serves on many boards and with organizations throughout Indianapolis, including the Independent Insurance Agents of Indiana (as the current state president), Rotary Club of Indianapolis, National Association of Women in Construction, Indiana Subcontractors Association, and as a member of the Indiana Construction Roundtable Foundation.

Early life in Indianapolis …

My father was in the service so my family moved around a lot during my early years. I moved to Indianapolis while in the third grade; my mother is from here and once we returned to Indianapolis, we stayed. The first couple of years here were trying, but I had a very good and loving mother. When I was about 8 years old, my younger sister had open heart surgery, so I helped with the family a lot. Growing up, I really enjoyed interacting with others and living my early years in Japan.

Your experience at Arsenal Tech …

Tech was great! I had a wonderful experience. My English teacher, Mrs. Sullivan, took myself and brother under her wing. I joined the ROTC program. My senior year I made it up to brigadier general, so I was the highest-ranking male or female cadet in the ROTC program in the entire United States. Additionally, I was always on the honor roll and continued to excel academically. My IPS experience overall was always good. I believe IPS set a good foundation, which led me to where I am today.

Fondest IPS memory as a student …

Mrs. Sullivan and my science teacher were very influential in my life. They were aware of my situation and looked out for both my brother and I by seeking additional resources for us. It was through Mrs. Sullivan and my guidance counselor that I was working for an insurance agency. I was given the opportunity to intern at an insurance company, which was supposed to be for 30-90 days; I ended up interning for four years.

Tech High School was really big. There was so much to do! I always felt I was in a prominent place.

My IPS education prepared me for ….

Real life. When I was at Tech, they started the integration busing. I became aware that there was some tension, but also realized we all had to get along. Real-world experiences – the good and the bad — that has prepared me for life.

Higher Education …

I graduated from the University of Indianapolis with a bachelor in science degree in business administration and economics. I’ve spent my career in insurance and worked in this field my entire life.

My life since graduating …

I interned at an insurance agency, which resulted in me working there for four years. After graduating from college, I started as a receptionist at M.J. Schuetz, located on Monument Circle. I have worked for them for 37 years and was promoted over the years. In 2008, I became president and then in 2012, Dave Linthicum and I purchased the agency; since then I’ve served as president and owner.

Proudest accomplishments …

Having a family; I enjoy time with my husband and children. I am proud to have a career that allows me to give back to the community in so many ways. I am also proud that my son is in the industry, and will eventually become my successor.

Family…

I am one of four siblings; all of us have stayed in Indianapolis. Myself and twin brother are the oldest and we have 2 younger siblings. I enjoy and appreciate time spent with my mother who also still lives here in Indianapolis.

I met my husband, Dale, at church. We have been married for 33 years. We have two children: son Dale and daughter April; both live here in Indianapolis.

Interests/ Hobbies …

I like to collect spoons. I have about 250 and started my collection when I was out of college. I also enjoy volunteering in my free time.

Vision/Dreams …

To leave my business in appropriate shape and in good hands, so the next generation has a good livelihood. When I retire, I hope to have more time to volunteer and give back to the community.

Final Quote …

“(Arsenal) Tech was not the end of my education, but the beginning of my life.” — Vickie Wolcott