Scholarship Success Stories

Chiaki Imamura

Moving to Vermont from Japan four years ago with her mother, Chiaki initially felt jolted by the differences between the American and Japanese educational systems. Her classes here emphasized participation and collaboration, while her peers in Japan continued on an advanced science and math track. Chiaki soon felt both that she wasn?t doing enough to keep up with her friends back home and that she needed to do more to improve her English language skills to be successful in an American high school. Through a grant-in-aid provided by the Corrine Crawford Scholarship Fund, Chiaki decided to take classes with College Connections, including an English grammar but also giving her the confidence to tackle her schoolwork head on and express herself in everyday conversation. As for her future plans, she has her sights set on the International University of Japan, where she?ll build from the experience she gained through College Connections. For now, though, Chiaki strongly encourages her friends to check out some of LLL?s programs, confident that their experience with LLL will give them the knowledge and skills to succeed as much as she has.


Amir Pasic

Recently accepted into the University of Central Arkansas, Amir Pasic came to the College Connections program with a dilemma: According to the NCAA, he needed to complete one more English course in order to be eligible to compete as goalie in his college?s Division I soccer program, but could find no way to cram one into his hectic academic and athletic schedule. Dhyana quickly found a solution that would not only fulfill Amir?s athletic requirements but would also help him develop the skills he would need to succeed at the university level. Together, with financial help from the Crawford Fund, they decided to register him for “Introduction to Poetry” at the University of Vermont, a course that interested Amir even though he had little background in poetry. Reflecting on his experience with a smile, Amir says, ?Even though I took it because I had to, I actually enjoyed the class?Going into the class I knew nothing about poetry and I learned a lot more than I thought I could?ve learned in such a short time.? Armed with a newfound confidence in his writing skills and building on his passion for sports, Amir now enters college with the goal of one day becoming a sports journalist. After his time in College Connections, it?s clear that if Amir harnesses the same type of passion he?s had for his soccer career towards his writing, we?ll all certainly be reading some of his sports articles one day.


Alexis Kirby

Determined to be the first member of her family to go to college, Alexis Kirby has transformed herself into a top student over the past two years with the help of the College Connections program. When she first came to see Dhyana to enroll in ?Introduction to College Studies? at the Community College of Vermont, Alexis was unsure about what she would really get out of the course. She soon found out, however, that she loved the rigor and overall environment of the college experience. ?We wrote a lot of essays trying to get the feel of what a real college class would be,? she says, ?We had to do a lot of time management…and how you could reduce stress.? After her time in ?Introduction to College Studies?, Alexis immediately began sharing her experience with others and has been recommending the College Connections, particularly to her Upward Bound peers and Burlington High School classmates. Using the voucher for a free course that she earned through the program and paid for by the Corrine Crawford Scholarship Fund, Alexis is now making plans to enroll as a Continuing Education student in the fall, a decision she made after weighing her future options with Dhyana. While emphasizing that she?s primarily focused on getting the most out of what she?s doing right now before making any firm future plans, Alexis knows she wants to major in Animal Science in college. While she?s a little wary of the difficulty of the science courses that come along with the major, Alexis is confident that the study skills and academic focus she?s gained through College Connections will enable her to realize her dreams.


Yanbin Zhang

When Yanbin heard that LLL was offering a TOEFL Prep class, she jumped at the opportunity to improve her score on the standardized test of English and increase her chances of being accepted at a top college. Through the six-week program, Yanbin drastically improved her English grammar and vocabulary skills and also connected with other high school students from Somalia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Sudan, learning that she was far from the only student facing the challenges of high school in a new community. According to Yanbin, the course?s teacher?a linguistics professor from Saint Michael?s College?not only was an expert on teaching English grammar but was also very patient and eager to help her students. Today, Yanbin recognizes the difference the course has made in her life. ?When I speak, I think more about grammar,? she says, ?This program helps link us to the community.? Yanbin has taken classes at the University of Vermont, Champlain College, and St. Michael?s College.