By Krystal Wang, AVID alumna
As college students travel home during the holiday season, we should take a moment to reflect on the collective work that ultimately led to the students' homecoming from college. It is a time of great pride for the students' families, friends, and of course, the educators who all helped along the long, and sometimes rough, path toward college. Certainly, the college dreams of many students were only made possible due to their entire support network, made up of family, school, and community.
Each student's college story takes shape differently. Getting on the college track can be a result of both dramatic, life-changing occurrences as well as more constant, subtle efforts. My family's college success story began less than 10 years ago. It started as an unprecedented shift, which ushered in a sustaining and unbroken tradition.
In 2002, no member of my extended family had ever attended college. Back then, I was only a high school student, but I was also an AVID student. I, along with two other cousins, also AVID graduates, would be the first from our family to attend and graduate from college. Our AVID experiences helped lead our way to college and in turn we became our family's own team of AVID counselors, advocates, and college mentors. We were also the oldest among our siblings and cousins. So once we set the family precedent of attending college, there was no going back.
This holiday season, in 2012, we celebrate the fact that every single one of our younger family members has pursued the college dream. The measure of AVID's positive impact isn't simply that we attended and graduated from college successfully, but that AVID had a multiplying effect on the rest of our family.
Indeed, college has become one of our family's proudest traditions, and the "AVID effect" continues to be felt every time a new family member embarks on a college education. Undoubtedly, this is also true for many families of thousands of AVID students.
Krystal Wang, an AVID alumna, received her B.A. from the University of California, Irvine and her M.S.W. from the University of Southern California. She is a social worker and healthcare professional at one of the nation's top hospital systems.