TRiO Educational Talent Search
My Name is LaVonne Graves and I grew up here, and graduated from Pagosa Springs High School. I attended Western State College now known at Western State Colorado University. I left college after three years to work at the Pagosa Sun Newspaper for a few years, then moved up to Denver for a few more years, and eventually landed back in Gunnison, Colorado to finish my degree in 2006. I have been with the Talent Search program since then and have been loving every year since then. I get to work with 7th - 12th grade students, sharing my college knowledge and sharing my good and bad life experiences so hopefully students can learn from my mistakes and accomplishments.
I meet with each grade once a month and we talk about college prep information. What kinds of colleges are there, what's the difference between a vocational school versus a four year university, the costs, location, ways to pay. It is up to each student to determine how much they would like my assistance and how much they would like to take advantage of what the program has to offer.
Some students show up to every meeting, if they missed, they try to meet with me one-on-one to catch up on that meeting, then as seniors, we work individually filling out college applications, the FAFSA, scholarships and anything else the student needs help with. There are some fee waivers that we are able to offer our students, so if a student is in in Talent Search, always ask before paying to see if there is a way I can help.
If a student is in Talent Search at the beginning of their fall year of their 7th grade, they are the opportunity to visit Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado, then San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico, and Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. The 10th & 11th graders are invited to the overnight trips that are usually three day and two night trips and we have been going to the Denver area as more students realize the that the in-state costs are beneficial to them.
This is a federally funded grant program. To be eligible for this program the students must be either first generation and/OR income eligible. Please submit the application to find out if you are eligible. Thank you for supporting your students in their academic journey.