By Jim Nelson, Executive Director, AVID Center
Graduation season is one of my favorite times of the year because I see such hope for the future in our AVID seniors. I recently heard a story about an AVID graduate I want to share with you.
In September 2007, I was a boy walking into 9th grade in high school for the first time. I wanted to hide my fear of being new; I’d heard stories about this school, the good and the bad. I didn’t know if I would fit in, if my friends would change, if I would change. I knew what happened in this place would determine my future. My 8th grade English teacher had all of the students in my class fill out an application for AVID, a class for students “with potential,” she said. She had often told me that I could do better if I would just put my mind to it, so I completed the application, and buried my hope that the selection team would see the same “potential” she saw in me.
They did, and I became an AVID student.
Fast forward – May 2011. Four years have passed, and what seems like a lifetime has gone by. My mom, sisters and grandparents are in the audience; I know they are proud. There is a special cord pinned to my graduation robe that tells everything about the last four years—the Cornell notes, the tutorials, the binders, the philosophical chairs, the field trips, the college applications—all of the components that make up AVID. The announcer recognizes the AVID graduates, and the applause continues as we stand when we hear our name along with the college we are planning to attend. I see my freshman AVID teacher and wave discretely; I remember how pointless I thought the big notebook was that she made each of us carry around. I know I would not be here, feeling this proud, if it wasn’t for her and the rest of my AVID family. AVID took a boy with “potential” and turned him into a young man with promise—promise for a better life than what I had known or ever thought I would have. My goal now is to use all I have learned in AVID to build a better future for myself and for my family by going to college, graduating from college, and becoming a technical sound engineer.
Like the young man in the story, the 2011 AVID graduates have come a long way, and because of AVID, I know they have the ability to pursue whatever dreams they have for the future. Our AVID graduates have the skills and knowledge to face their future confidently because AVID teachers have prepared them for what lies ahead, whether it’s the start of college or a career.
To AVID teachers, I say “Thank you, and a job well done.” I can only imagine how proud you are of your students and all they have accomplished. Your hard work, dedication, and impact on the future are immeasurable.
To AVID site teams, your support and fidelity in implementing AVID strategies across your campus are critical in helping all students as you strive to take AVID schoolwide.
To superintendents and district administrators, this is a great time of year when you see the successes of your students. The AVID graduates are some of your shining stars whose lives you improved by providing AVID for your schools.
To younger AVID students, hang in there! AVID is worth the time and the work, and, as the 2011 AVID graduates will tell you, there’s no better feeling than receiving acceptance letters and scholarships from colleges and universities!
To AVID graduates, CONGRATULATIONS! As AVID’s Executive Director, I can speak for all of us here at AVID Center…you have our utmost respect and admiration for what you have accomplished. We wish you all the best and hope you’ll let us know how you’re doing as you pursue your dreams. (Visit our Facebook page, search AVID and look for our logo.)