HELENA – Around 150 middle school and high school students filled the halls of the Capitol to celebrate the achievements of TRiO on Friday.
TRiO is a federally funded program that provides equal opportunity for higher education to all Americans. Montana programs through TRiO include Talent Search, Upward Bound and Student Support Services.
Students heard from guest speakers including Mayor Wilmot Collins and Miss Montana Laura Haller before participating in mentoring projects and touring colleges.
Haller was a member of Talent Search herself beginning in sixth grade and said the program had a big impact on her later education.
“Talent Search is actually one of the reasons I ended up going to college and pursuing my education,” said Haller. “Just having exposure and seeing what opportunities are available is one of the most important things in pursuing education.”
Carly Copenhaver of East Valley Middle School said TRiO has been a big help in preparing her and her fellow students for college.
“The most important thing that I’ve learned from TRIO was probably all the lessons that we learned about what college could help you and deciding on what college you want to go to,” said Copenhaver.
Montana TRiO Talent Search Director Michelle Christianson hopes TRiO programs can help build confidence in the youth so that they can pursue and accomplish the educational goals they set out for themselves.
“Non-cognitive skills are something that we focus on a lot when we’re mentoring these children,” said Christianson. “Really with education the possibilities are endless.”
More information about TRiO programs in the state can be found here.