top of page


Senior Spotlight
David Moody, Senior
Clarkson Early College
Craftsbury Academy

David Moody from Craftsbury, Vermont was recently nominated for the U.S Presidential Scholar’s program. The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by executive order of the President, to recognize and honor some of our nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors. It has since been extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts, and students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields. Each year, approximately 4,000 students are nominated on a state by state basis primarily based on SAT and ACT scores. Up to 161 students are named as Presidential Scholars each year, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students.

David Moody attended Craftsbury Academy for the majority of his High School career, taking the most difficult classes available to him and challenging himself to go above and beyond traditional academics. When he completed Craftsbury’s math curriculum by sophomore year, David was able to take and successfully complete calculus three online through the University of Vermont. David’s hard work and success at Craftsbury is what ultimately lead to David’s acceptance to Clarkson’s early college program where he is currently enrolled in his second semester. David has also been a part of the Lyndon Upward Bound program hosted out of Northern Vermont University for the past three years. Upward Bound is one of the federally funded TRIO educational opportunity programs, and students come from modest-income backgrounds and are often the first in their families to attend college. David was fully engaged in this program: volunteering over 70 hours at the Fairbanks Museum in Saint Johnsbury, VT, attending a STEM summit in Plattsburg, NY, the annual Green Mountain Scholar’s Bowl held at UVM in 2019, and was one of 8 Lyndon Upward Bound students selected to attend the 2019 JFK Leadership Conference in Boston.

What sets David apart from his peers is his exceptionally inquisitive mind, deep passion for learning and creating, and overall hardworking and driven character. He is naturally curious about how things work, and really enjoys taking apart electronics and putting them back together. David also really enjoys building and reconfiguring model airplanes, often adding modifications to observe how it affects the plane’s speed, aerodynamics, and handling. It is this passion that drives David to pursue a career in engineering. An exceptional young scholar: full of wonder, curiosity, and optimism, David truly has the mind of an Engineer.


In his free time David also really enjoys cross country skiing and was part of Craftsbury’s Cross Country team during his time there. He was also part of Craftsubry’s soccer and ultimate Frisbee teams. He has also been very involved in Nordic Skiing and band, and participated in the Craftsbury’s theater production as a freshman. One of the qualities that makes David such a special student is his drive and ambition to try new things and develop a wide array of skillsets. David is an outstanding and brilliant young scholar, but he is also a very kind, compassionate and well-rounded young professional whose effervescent personality adds to every event he participates in. This is a high honor for David to receive, and he has truly earned it!

Blake Betz.jpg
Blake, Senior
Rivendell Academy

Blake Betz is a hardworking, motivated senior at Rivendell Academy in Orford, New Hampshire and is working diligently to pursue the next step in his education. Going into high school, Blake knew that he wanted to pursue post-secondary education, a path many of his family had never taken. He also knew that he would need help navigating the college application process and exploring colleges and career paths. This is why he applied to the Lyndon Upward Bound program four years ago and he really is the exact student the program was intended for: a very hardworking and capable young scholar who is focused on pursuing a four year degree but needs the extra support and guidance navigating the complex process. Upward Bound is one of the federally funded TRIO educational opportunity programs, and supports students from modest-income backgrounds who are often the first in their families to attend college. Since Blake joined Upward Bound he has not only been able to find a career path that he is passionate about and explore the right colleges for him, he has also taken full advantage of everything the program offers and has shown tremendous growth academically, culturally and socially. Not only does he work incredibly hard, but Blake is also a very kind person who is always looking for ways to help out and make people feel comfortable and included. Blake has really blossomed from a shy, quiet, unsure freshman in high school into a very mature, confident, focused and dedicated young leader.

Blake is pursuing a degree in computer science. He loves tinkering with old computers and gaming systems; taking them apart, modifying them, and putting them back together again. Blake is also very passionate about music and is a self taught music producer. In his spare time, Blake is constantly doing research and learning as much as he can about music production and even creates his own music. He has been able to save up money from his part time job at Hannaford’s to buy his own music equipment which has allowed him to further learn and develop his skills. Blake was also able to work at the NVU-Lyndon Radio Station where he learned the ins and outs of running a college radio station and planned his own shows. Blake’s supervisors raved about how diligent, thoughtful, and passionate Blake was in his work. In school, Blake is an active member of the Rivendell Academy community and works hard while taking the most challenging classes available to him. His hard work paid off in his junior year, when he was inducted into the National Honor Society. Blake’s passion, tenacity, perseverance, and overall kindness are what set him apart from other students and he is an excellent example of the opportunities that can arise from working hard and seizing the right opportunities. There is no doubt that his preparation, perseverance, passion and kind nature has prepared him for success in college and beyond!

Emma, Senior
Saint Johnsbury Academy

Emma is a senior at St. Johnsbury Academy and has been a participant in the Lyndon Upward Bound program for the last four years. Emma sought out Upward Bound to prepare for college academically, socially, and culturally, and has taken advantage of every opportunity that has been presented to her including leadership trips, college tours, cultural activities, and living on the NVU-Lyndon campus for three summers as part of Upward Bound’s residential program. It is not easy to dedicate your summers to a residential academic program but Emma truly understands the power of education and says that she took advantage of the program because it added to her summers and helped her navigate the college application process and helped her define career choices… plus she was able to meet over 100 bright, dedicated and focused students just like her!

Emma is a passionate, intelligent and motivated young scholar who intends to pursue a degree and career in the field of education. Her hard work and diligence has positioned her for success in post-secondary education and that is already paying off in the form of merit-based scholarship money for college! Emma was the first Upward Bound senior to complete all of her college applications and financial aid forms in mid-October and has been patiently awaiting the verdict from her colleges. Emma has now been accepted to Plymouth State University and The University of Southern Maine earning their presidential scholarships of 10,000 and $12,000 respectively. Emma has also been accepted to all 7 of her colleges including Castleton, The University of Maine at Farmington, and Northern Vermont University – Lyndon picking up $4,000, $6,000, and $2,000 in merit aid respectively.

Emma has worked incredibly hard to open up these outstanding opportunities for post-secondary education and she will do outstanding at whichever college she chooses. What you don’t see when you look at her college list is the countless hours she spent researching schools, talking with admissions counselors and the Upward Bound staff, exploring careers and reflecting on herself as a student – all of this on top of overachieving in a college prep course load, retaining honor roll status, serving in her community and taking advantage of leadership opportunities. She also works part time at the local grocery store, has played volleyball at Saint Johnsbury Academy, and is a National Honor Society student. Not only does Emma have an outstanding work ethic she is also a very kind young scholar who is always looking for ways to help out and make her community a better place. Her high social intelligence and ability to build strong relationships with the people around her is really what makes Emma stand out and will come in handy as she works to become a teacher. She really is the entire package: scholarship, service, leadership and character and its students like Emma who continue to focus on their future, work hard, and take advantage of opportunities that graduate from college and go on to be successful in their field of choice. Emma has an incredibly bright future ahead of her and there is no doubt that she will make a huge impact in the world of education someday….but first she has some big decisions to make…..  

Miranda PR.jpg
Miranda, Senior
Saint Johnsbury Academy

Miranda Degreenia is a senior at Saint Johnsbury Academy and has been a participant in the Northern Vermont University - Lyndon Upward Bound program for the last four years. Miranda joined Upward Bound in order to prepare for college academically, socially, and culturally, and has taken advantage of every opportunity that has been presented to her including leadership trips, college tours, cultural activities, and living on the NVU-Lyndon campus for three summers as part of Upward Bound’s residential program. It really takes a student who is fully devoted to their education and career goals to willingly sacrifice their summers to a residential academic program and Miranda has done just that, proving how strong her desire is to pursue post-secondary education and create a bright and successful future for herself. She realizes how much her participation in the program added to her summer and helped her become more prepared for college.

After countless hours of college and career research, college tours, conversations with school, admissions, and Upward Bound counselors, and filling out and submitting all college applications and financial aid forms, Miranda has now been accepted to all ten colleges for which she applied including the University of Vermont, earning over 19,000 in merit money per year, and the University of Nebraska – Lincoln where she was awarded the Presidential scholarship for her academic excellence, an amount totaling $15,000 She was also accepted At Vermont’s own Northern Vermont University-Lyndon and Castleton University earning scholarships of $2,000 and $5,000 in merit aid respectively. Miranda has worked incredibly hard to create these opportunities for herself; juggling a rigorous college preparatory course load, maintaining honor roll status, serving on the student council, being an active member of the National Honor Society, taking advantage of leadership and cultural activities and participating in other extracurricular activities, such as theater. It is very rare to find a student who is as dedicated, caring, and passionate as Miranda and it is great to see all of her hard work pay off!

Not only does Miranda have a strong work ethic and natural academic ability, but she is also very passionate about making a difference in the world and in her community and plans to study Global Studies or Sociology so that she can gain a better understanding of national and global issues and how she can contribute to positive change. She also has a huge desire to travel the world and last year, Miranda was one of six students selected to study abroad in Jeju, South Korea. Miranda absolutely loved her time there and reports that she was able to expand her world view and build vital cultural and social capital. Miranda has also dedicated nearly 300 hours of service to improving and helping her community and truly understands what it means to give back. It is safe to say that Miranda has a bright future ahead of her and is already paving her path to success!

Kai, Senior
Lyndon Institute

Kai attends Lyndon Institute in Lyndonville, Vermont, and has been a participant in the Lyndon Upward Bound program at Northern Vermont University for the past four years. Kai is extraordinarily bright, kind, and determined and their character and hard work has positioned them for success in college and beyond. Kai takes a full college preparatory and honors level course load and has played on the varsity ultimate Frisbee team.  They are extraordinarily passionate about the performing arts and has dedicated an enormous amount of time and energy to the theater and drama clubs at LI. Kai attributes their time with the theater department at Lyndon Institute as a huge part of their success thus far, and acknowledges that theater has really kept them motivated throughout high school, and is a very safe and inclusive community that Kai is proud to be a part of. Kai is also a very important part of their community and has volunteered over 200 hours with the Saint J. History and Heritage Center, Umbrella, the Green Mountain Book Store, Cobleigh Library, and with LI. Kai truly understands what it means to serve their community and really enjoys giving back and helping whenever they can.


Kai is also very passionate about social justice issues and has become a very involved social justice advocate and ally over the past couple of years.

Kai plans to study social work or psychology while in college and they are very prepared to take this next step in their educational journey! Kai has dedicated their entire high school career to future planning, college tours, leadership opportunities, college and career research, getting involved in the community and school and taking a very rigorous college preparatory coursework. This is exactly what a college bound student needs to do to be successful and it will pay off in the form of college acceptances and scholarships for college. Kai is a true emerging leader and rising star and is well positioned for future success!

Kai was also recently selected as a finallist for the Dell Scholars program which is an incredible feat! The Dell scholars program selects 500 highly motivated students from across the United States every year who demonstrate the drive to succeed despite personal obstacles. Candidates are chosen by their demonstration of a unique "GPA" of Grit, Potential, and Ambition in their quest for a college education. As a Dell Scholar, Kai will receive a total of $20,000, awarded in $5,000 increments over the four years of their college program. Additionally, Kai will receive comprehensive academic, financial, and emotional support from the program, access to an extensive Scholars Resource Network, access to a teletherapy service, a laptop, and annual Chegg credits to be used to attain textbooks. Kai is the exact student that the Dell Scholar’s Program seeks to serve. They are determined, intelligent, and kind and have set themselves up for success in college and beyond.

bottom of page