Roger Marolt: A Colorado Western Slope College Fair recommendation letter

Roger Marolt
Roger This

You’ve heard the story about the guy who inherited a fancy new refrigerator and so had a perfectly good old one he wanted to give away. He put it on the curb with a sign that read, “Take me for free.” It sat there for a month. Then he wised up and changed the sign — “For Sale — $1,000.” Somebody stole it that night.

It is not wisdom lost on Colorado Western Slope College Fair’s boss, Kathy Klug. The fair, which is happening from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Sunday at the Aspen School District campus, has become the biggest annual event in Aspen between Labor Day and Christmas.

It is workshops and speakers and meetings with college representatives and multimedia presentations for everything you want to know about higher education.

Anyway, Klug came up with the idea of charging colleges and universities $100 to attend this year for an event they used to get invited to for free. Just like that, they registered a colossal 240 colleges and universities to participate. It will be the biggest ever!

In the spirit of the event, I thought I would try writing a letter of recommendation for her. It’s only a draft, so please ignore my parenthetical edit notes:

To whom it may concern:

I cannot recommend with greater enthusiasm Aspen High School options for the future counselor, Kathy Klug, (Dr. Katherine? Nah.) for any educational and career placement consulting position that requires gunnery sergeant-like (accurate, but not quite the right word) management skills and a thorough (obsessive compulsive) knowledge of her field. In pursuit of excellence for herself and to set an example of achievement, she has obtained the highest educational degree possible in her area of expertise (double fact-check this). She is a legitimate butt-kicker (replace with something like “motivator” but not so cliche).

I met Kathy for the first time ____ years ago (need to look this up. Seems like an ice age ago) in a meeting at the historic Little Annie’s restaurant to discuss the nuances of introducing the challenging International Baccalaureate program to the curriculum at Aspen High School (make concerted effort here not to reveal anything about the ugly throw-down battle it turned into). It was eye-opening, to say the least, to hear her thoroughly researched and informed advocacy (don’t mention the prolific and oftentimes improper usage of profanity) for implementing the classes that would create an academic atmosphere at our schools to match the community’s commitment to stimulate our children intellectually, physically and emotionally while creating a keen awareness of the broader world around them.

You have never listened to a public speaker quite like her (soooooo, so true).

Kathy makes students see potential for their futures that they may not have otherwise considered. She gets them involved early (before they know her reputation). The kids respect (fear?) her. They look forward to meeting with her (sleepless nights) and appreciate the wise candor she guides them with (can’t allude to tears here). To her credit, Aspen High School has achieved some of the highest extracurricular activities participation, graduation, college enrollment, and vocational school placement rates in the country.

It is not only for our own children she advocates, either. She is the force behind the Colorado Western Slope College Fair that helps students from all over the western (coolest) part of our state discover the possibilities available to them after high school graduation. She works tirelessly along with others (underpaid, overworked people afraid to say “no”) to make the fair an event our entire community is proud of. She is a great motivator (fear, intimidation). She put me in charge of parking one year and the exercise helped me realize my own value (nearly got run over) and power to do something amazing (will anyone ever forget the Gordian knot of a traffic mess I caused?).

In the end, you want to have Kathy on your side (or else). She is smart (not afraid to embarrass you). Her word is golden (and sometimes feels like a block of lead dropped on your toe). She is reliable (it would be better to form a kidney stone than be late for a meeting with her). She works incredibly hard (which is, frankly, just plain deflating in that way you feel like a slacker around people in perpetual motion).

The bottom line is that she is simply a lovely, generous and compassionate person who has devoted a great portion of her life empowering kids to better their own lives (!? … Hmmm, yes!! … after you see through the tough-girl act)!

Roger Marolt is profoundly grateful for Kathy Klug’s commitment to our community through mentoring and guiding our children. Email at


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