AVID prepares students for success


Mariam Jabri

4th hour AVID class

Mariam Jabri, Staff Writer and Section Editor

AVID is a nationwide program that “started because they saw a need for certain groups of students who could use support. They had the potential to be successful and get to college, but maybe didn’t have the resources or the right journey in life to get there,” says Molly Zumwalde, AVID coordinator and 11/12 grade elective teacher. Zumwalde plays an integral part in the AVID program by helping juniors and seniors navigate through the college process. Last semester, Zumwalde helped this year’s seniors do just that. Now, AVID seniors are ending the year with enough preparation to know they’ll at least survive their first year out of high school.

AVID is an elective class that runs the first two terms of the school year. It’s also a cohort program, meaning students take it all four years of high school. The first two years in AVID focus on how to be a successful student, including learning new study skills, reading & writing skills, and organizational skills. Junior and senior year prepares students for college and life outside of high school, plus preparing for the ACT and learning about financial aid. Seniors are now taking advantage of what they learned and the opportunities they heard of through AVID.

Many seniors from the program are doing PSEO, and others are part of an internship program called Genesis Works. “A lot of them are making their final college decision, wrapping up, and getting ready for graduation,” says Zumwalde. And although AVID is over for seniors, they are still welcome to come to her for help. “The door is always open. They’re always visiting, asking questions like, ‘Hey, I got this financial aid offer letter from a college, can we talk about it?’ or ‘I’m making this big decision’ or ‘I’m feeling uncomfortable leaving the state, my parents don’t want me to move out of state for college,’” Zumwalde recalls. Students are also welcome to go see Ms. McNamara at the College Resource Center for any additional help that they need. That goes for all students, not just those in AVID.

There is a common misconception that AVID is only for students that need extra help, but in reality, AVID is for any student striving for success in high school. Take Sophomore Triana Whangpo-Mendoza, whose sister encouraged her to join the program. Mendoza noted how supportive AVID has been with pursuing her goals, aiding in the college process, and taking the right steps in high school. Right now, AVID is helping sophomores investigate different career paths: “We’re working on going into more depth on the field we want to get into. I want to be an immigration lawyer, so I’m getting in contact with immigration lawyers,” says Mendoza. Whatever their goals are, AVID is there to offer students support.

That is only possible because the students in the program commit to their goals: “AVID students are incredibly hard workers, and often these students are the ones who are working part-time helping support their family, financially and emotionally. So these are like amazing students who have worked their butts off,” says Zumwalde. The AVID seniors set to graduate this year are a prime example of the hard-working students Zumwalde describes.