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Success Stories

The Lombard Family | Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC)

Meet Michelle Lombard and her five children — all following their dreams and making it happen with the help of TRIO Talent Search, grit and determination, and some dedicated Talent Search counselors. VSAC has participated in Talent Search since 1969.

“The Lombard Family: A TRIO Talent Search Success Story,” features five sisters who have participated in the Talent Search education program with outreach counselors from Vermont Student Assistance Corporation. The video was filmed and edited by Putney twins Aja and Kaelan Selbach-Broad, Talent Search students at Bellows Falls Union High School in Westminster, Vermont.

Talent Search is one of two statewide VSAC outreach programs that offer career and college planning services to eligible middle school and high school students and their parents. Talent Search, a federal grant program from the U.S. Department Education, encourages students to set high academic expectations, complete high school and prepare to enter education or training programs after high school. VSAC Talent Search provides services to 37 targeted middle schools and high schools and serves over 1,000 students each year.


Issac Brito | Reach Higher Montana

Age: 18

Bozeman, Montana | Montana State University

1. Tell us how you worked with Reach Higher Montana?

I attended the A Step Ahead Summit in 2014 then came back as a Team Leader for the 2015 session. I was also able to represent Montana as a Foster Care All Star for the 2015 summer training. This means I use my new skills from the All Star training to be an advocate for Montana foster care youths.

2. How did you learn about the services available from Reach Higher Montana?

My Foster Care Independent Living Provider in Butte told me about the Summit and the Education and Training Vouchers (ETVs).

3. How has working with Reach Higher Montana impacted the choices you have made?

Reach Higher Montana has helped me with my leadership skills. They helped me along the path to being a leader. The Summit has improved my confidence in college. The All Stars program improved my public speaking skills and I am now more inclined to volunteer, do presentations, panels, etc.

4. How has Reach Higher Montana helped you succeed in college or as you start your career?

The Education and Training Vouchers (ETVs) disbursed by Reach Higher Montana has helped me financially with college expenses. The Summit helps me succeed in my presentations in my classes for my mechanical engineering degree.

5. Talk about a person you have worked with at Reach Higher Montana who has made a difference for you.

Schylar Canfield-Baber has been a great mentor for me in many ways. He got me involved in the Montana Youth Advisory Board and the All Stars program. The All Stars provided me with an amazing opportunity to intern for Foster Club. I learned so much! I have been able to assist in empowering the youth that are currently growing up in foster care. I am a $7000 Horatio Alger scholarship recipient and I attended scholarship training at the Summit.

Chase Baker | Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA)

Age: 18

Newport, Rhode Island | Rogers High School

1. Tell us how you worked with RISLA's College Planning Center of Rhode Island (CPCRI)?

My family and I have gone to see Courtney on numerous occasions to discuss both financial questions and college issues. Courtney is very easy to both communicate with and contact.

2. How did you learn about the services available from CPCRI?

My family discovered the service through a college open house at Rogers High School in Newport, RI.

3. How has working with RISLA's CPCRI impacted the choices you have made?

The Planning Center has impacted the choices I have made immensely. Courtney was great with answering any questions and walking us through different situations and with her help we could make clearer and more concise decisions while maintaining our piece of mind.

4. How has RISLA's CPCRI helped you succeed in college or as you start your career?

The College Planning Center has helped me succeed by getting me to places I want to be, with the least amount of stress possible.

5. Talk about a person you have worked with at RISLA's CPCRI who has made a difference for you.

As previously mentioned, my family worked with Courtney McEntee. She helped us with any issue we had and genuinely wants the best for her clients. Not only did she get all of our questions answered but she added a light hearted comedic touch that really helped relieve a lot of stress.