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Laura Vitale holds a mug given as a gift by one of her students. / Laura Austin Photo

Mother’s heart includes her children and classroom students

By Cheryl McDonald News Review Staff Writer–

Sunday is Mother’s Day, and I had an opportunity to sit and talk with Laura Vitale, who is not only a mother, she has been a daycare operator, a foster mom, a foreign exchange mom, and now she teaches Kindergarten/First grade at Inyokern Elementary School. Many of you probably know Vitale because of her community involvement as a sports mom, a board member, or a Legal Documents Assistant (LDA) in Family Law.

Vitale is a local girl, arriving in Ridgecrest in 1983 when she was two. She grew up in the Ridgecrest community and was raised by a traditional Italian family. Laura graduated from Burroughs high school and got her first degree from Cerro Coso College, where she is now teaching as an adjunct professor in the Paralegal Studies AS program.

One of Vitale’s core beliefs is “It takes a village to raise a child,” and she lives that to the fullest. Although she is the first to say life hasn’t always been perfect, there have been hiccups.  Everyone makes mistakes, but everyone deserves another chance.

Vitale truly lives her belief that children need to be loved and that all children are lovable and deserve to be treated equally. She told me about starting her daycare business, Miss Laura’s Daycare, because, as a young mother, she wanted to stay home and raise her children. So she took in other people’s children and gave them a safe and healthy environment to play and learn. Hers was not just a babysitting service. She included preschool education for her charges. She built relationships with these children and their parents, which many still flourish after the kids are grown. Vitale even has daycare grandbabies, which makes her very proud.

During the Covid shutdown, she closed for a few months, but when the schools went to online learning, she reopened her daycare to accommodate the teachers who had to go into class to do the online teaching and needed a safe place for their children. Two years ago, she closed her business and planned to substitute teach for Sierra Sands until she was offered a kindergarten class, which became a Kinder/First-grade combo. She loves being in the classroom but also sees new opportunities on the horizon for her.

Vitale’s own children are mostly grown now. Her Youngest son Matthew is in high school. He is involved in youth sports and especially enjoys baseball. Savnah, her daughter, decided to be a cheerleader at a very young age. Her oldest son Jacob was also involved in youth sports. He played football from the age of seven through high school. Vitale was a team mom and traveled with the teams to various locations for games or competitions. Her next big adventure will be arriving soon. Vitale will be a grandmother and is very excited for her daughter. Vitale will be there to support her in whatever capacity she can.

It was fun talking with Vitale. She is truly a modern mom, creating a job to support her family while raising her children and giving her time to help build the strong Ridgecrest community she loves being part of. Energetic and giving, she is a great role model, lives her values, and has lived the life she wanted. Even though she doesn’t think she has done anything exciting, I beg to differ.

Happy Mother’s Day, Laura and all the other mothers in this valley. You are all an essential part of this community. Take pride in being a mom whether you are lucky enough to stay home or work outside as well. Motherhood is one of the most important jobs there are. Enjoy your special day.

When asked, “What principles do you believe our children should be taught as a foundation for their future?” Vitale responded, “The biggest thing I think we can teach the future generation is compassion, kindness, and empathy.”