Montana Tech Increases Support to Butte High School Students


Talent Search Employees at Butte HighMontana Tech has recently made some bold steps to support local students and our local schools. "Now more than ever, our students need support in their academic aspirations," reported Amy Verlanic, Institute for Educational Opportunities Director. "COVID restrictions in the school setting and within extracurricular activities are limiting student opportunities for enrichment, and in partnership with the Butte School District No. 1, we are aggressively addressing this."

The first step was to hire Lindsey Wolstein as the new Educational Talent Search Coach. Any student at Butte High School can have direct access to help with scholarship searches, FAFSA completion, and college entrance exams by contacting Wolstein and joining the Talent Search program. Talent Search is a US Department of Education funded grant awarded to Montana Tech to assist 510 students a year with the academic help and personal motivation to succeed in high school and enter college. "Before Lindsey was hired, we would send a staff member down to Butte High twice a month. Now students will have daily access to someone they know and recognize," added Verlanic. Since her hire, Wolstein has hosted two FAFSA nights at Butte High. At the event, students and their families were given direct and personal assistance in completing the government forms to ensure financial aid was awarded. With live events limited due to COVID restrictions, Talent Search offers virtual college tours, leadership activities, and online tutoring. In-person opportunities will resume when restrictions are lifted. Wolstein is located in room 306 at Butte High.

To excite students about the Talent Search program, Montana Tech also hired Kristy Wiley at East Middle School to create a feeder to the high school program. Wiley is helping 40 students per year with homework help and high school preparation activities. She provides career awareness and student study skill activities in room 111 at East Middle School.

Another new investment in the youth in our community is the addition of a Dual Enrollment Coordinator at Butte High School. Kinsley Rafish has been hired to help junior and senior level students understand all the dual enrollment options available and support them as needed once they are enrolled in the college credit-bearing courses. She is available at Butte High School every Wednesday in room 313.

Lastly, Leigha Acebedo, a recent University of Montana graduate and a Butte High School alumnus, will serve a one-year AmeriCorps volunteer position to support the Talent Search and Dual Enrollment efforts. Acebedo works at Butte High in Room 408 Tuesdays through Fridays, helping Wolstein and Rafish.

"We have always cared about Butte students, and we are proud to be adding these additional resources to support those who want to be prepared for and succeed in college. We are especially grateful to Butte High School Vice Principal Brenda Floreen and Curriculum Director Jim O'Neill for their unending cooperation in these endeavors. We look forward to seeing the positive outcomes that come from these partnerships," noted Verlanic.

To learn more about visit Talent Search at or Dual Enrollment at