Taking a Stand – Part 2


I wanted to publish a quick follow up to my last post, “Taking a Stand” and share the good news. The LEAP students and parents of Leominster won, LEAP will be continued in all grades (a program for gifted and talented students, grades 3 to 8). We addressed the school committee, wrote letters, our students wrote letters, we researched, and presented the facts.

Now, how does this relate to career search and my blog. Taking a Stand is also about relationship building. In just two weeks, I developed strong relationships with many passionate people. I talked to school committee members, city counselors and even the former superintendent. In your career, relationship building is vital. We always hear about the power of networking in a job search. What is really the most important in a job search and in your career is relationship building, which is much more than networking.

It is amazing how much can be accomplished by organizing. A group of about 24 families came together, through the power of Facebook. We addressed the school committee, wrote letters, called the department of education, visited local state representatives, the mayor. Our children wrote letters, here is a copy my son sent to the superintendent:

20150604_191023Vincent playing a solo on his Saxophone during a Jazz concert at Skyview Middle School – the LEAP school for grades 6th, 7th and 8th.

Dear Superintendent Jolicoeur,


I am writing to you to ask for you to reconsider your decision to discontinue the Leap program.


When I was in kindergarten, and visited Southeast on science night, I decided that I wanted to go to this school.


As a sixth grader in the leap program, I believe that leap should be kept running in the Leominster public schools system. I my experience, the leap program has been very beneficial to me. Before third grade and leap, I was bored in school and had many behavioral problems. Some of the reasons of these behavioral problems were I was bored in class so I bugged other kids instead or other people not having the same interests as me.


In Leap, all students are surrounded with other students that are interested and involved in their education. I urge you to very carefully reconsider removing the leap program.


My sister will be going to kindergarten next year, and she has been looking forward to going to Southeast to the leap program and is very interested in astronomy and is reading chapter books. I want her to be able to go to Southeast and not feel like she hates school.


Thank you,


Vincent Soubbotin

Sixth grade, Skyview Middle School

This all came to a culmination on June 1st, when Beth Pratt, former principal of Southeast School – the lead school for LEAP – made an official announcement that the program would be continued.

Now future children will be able to enter this wonderful program. This is wonderful news for families in Leominster. My son has benefited from this wonderful program, now my daughter, shown below, will benefit.

20150611_161049 (1) Katerina playing on the playground at Southeast School



About Rachelle Lappinen

​Rachelle Lappinen is a Career and Academic Consultant and a Green Energy Ambassador. Currently, Rachelle serves as an education advocate for MassEdco working with high school students on college and career navigation. Rachelle also consults working with MIT on a research program, researching the effects of long-term unemployment on the middle class and developing best practices to help this population. Rachelle has worked at Mount Wachusett Community College, the YWCA and Becker College as a Career Development Counselor. Before becoming entering the field of workforce development, Rachelle spent over 10 years working as an insurance underwriter. Throughout her coaching and volunteer experiences, Rachelle has been noted for her determination and persistence to help those in need of career guidance. As a volunteer, Rachelle is actively involved with the non-profit organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of Leominster and Fitchburg and the Center for Women and Enterprises. Prior to entering the coaching world, Rachelle was a senior group insurance underwriter for Unum, and sales representative for Prudential Financial. She actively involved with the Career Counselors Consortium and is a member of the Career Resource Rachelle M. Lappinen, MBA, GCDF, CPRW
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