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Local student scores internship in D.C.


Posted: July 27, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 27, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Canyon Country resident Valente Montes, center, sits for an interview. Courtesy photo

I am a first-generation Mexican American and was raised in a difficult environment.

The older I got, the more frustrated I became. I knew where I wanted to go with my life, but I couldn’t figure out how to get on the path to get there.

I heard about the Academy of Finance program at Burbank High School, applied and was accepted. The program changed my life.

Our teachers, Alyson Edge and Patricia Garfield, poured their hearts into making sure we had every opportunity to be successful – but it was up to us to seize the opportunities.

During my junior year, attorney Shelley Rizzotti, a guest speaker through Junior Achievement, shared personal life experiences with us, including her father being put in prison.

I felt like she was speaking directly to me when she told us that there was nothing we couldn’t achieve, that you can’t be ashamed of where you come from. We could do anything we set our minds to as long as we stayed focused.

Between my junior and senior years, I was accepted into a Summer Business program at UCLA and placed second out of more than 200 students in a competitive part of the program.

Today, I am a political science major at College of the Canyons and maintain a 3.5 GPA while working in a restaurant to pay my way. I also intern in the district office of my local congressman in Santa Clarita.

Recently, I was offered an internship in Washington, D.C. – for me, it represents the opportunity of a lifetime.

The internship is unpaid, so I am working every second I can to make money on my own to pay for my living expenses, but I realize I can’t get there on my own.

To contact Montes, visit


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